Parliament: Question on Electoral Reform

On Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 in Parliament, Question Period

Elizabeth May:

Mr. Speaker, “Within 18 months of forming government, we will introduce legislation to enact electoral reform”. That is from the Liberal platform. It is very clear, and it was repeated with clarity in the Speech from the Throne, and the mandate to us as members of the special committee said we were replacing first past the post.

If it was an essential precondition to follow on this promise that there be some sort of nationally proven majority, that there be some consensus discerned through vague surveys, why was that never mentioned in any promise or any mandate?

Justin Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, anything a prime minister or a government must do must be in the interests of Canada and of all Canadians, particularly when it comes to transforming our electoral system. I understand the passion and intensity with which the member opposite believes in this, and many Canadians mirror that passion and intensity, but there is no consensus. There is no sense of how best to do this and, quite frankly, a divisive referendum at this time, an augmentation of extremist voices in the House, is not what is in the best interests of Canada.

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  • Richard

    The response from the PM is disgusting. And on the other side of the isle comes the voice of truth reason and logic, the voice of honour, concern and compassion, the voice of Ms. May. Bravo Elizabeth!

    • Michael

      The Dictator has spoken! Why not do away with voting altogether?

      • waledro

        FPTP practically accomplishes that already. There’s a quote that I find useful at times like these: “If voting brought changes, it would be illegal.” I’m guessing proportional representation was a threat to the powers-that-be as they wouldn’t be able to manipulate the voter outcome as easily. Or, they’d have more difficulty controlling the government if it wasn’t a one-party majority. Either way, they win. Us, regular folk, lose.

    • shane Nestruck


  • Alex Apostoli

    Trudeau is calling Canadians that demand electoral reform extremists!?!?

    • Shane Nestruck

      Anyone who disagrees with Justin is “an extremist:
      e.g. when i attended there Liberal Leadership Convention in Wpg. I supported Joyce Murray ( N.B. she has disappeared from the liberal party !)
      WELL- When I approached Justin with a question about his ability to lead at such a young age he said directly to me IN A MOST INTENSE (ANGRY ) VOICE ” I’m not a traitor to the party like you guys” while pointing aggressively to my Joyce murray T-shirt.

      CONCLuSION: Justin Trudeau is not only a liar, he is also a DANGEROUSLY anti-democracy jerk!

  • Diana Ralph

    Dear Elizabeth,
    Thank you for your inspiring leadership on this crucial issue. It is shameful that the Liberals have betrayed their campaign promise, betrayed you and others on the committee which produced such powerful fact-gathering and conclusions, and most of all betrayed all Canadians’ hopes for real democracy.

  • Chris Shirley

    Justin Trudeau, your excuse just does not hold water!! There is no consensus on any issue – we are a very diverse nation. Does that mean that our leader does nothing??? You are waffling your way out of this in a very cowardly way. Now, you show your true colors – demonstrating exactly the reason why fewer and fewer people are willing to participate in elections. You, like so many before you, make bold faced promises to the people to get elected: lies, lies and more lies. How can anyone vote with confidence when the integrity of those that they are voting for is well below “0″. What is in the best interests of Canada and it’s people is an electoral system that the people can have some faith in. The present system is antiquated and not at all democratic. You do not need to be very bright to recognize this. In fact, politicians recognize it and campaign strategically to exploit the present system. Simultaneously, voters are forced to vote strategically for the least objectionable option, or, to keep out the most objectionable option – instead of for what they truly believe is best. Most other countries have much better systems of voting and it would not take much intelligence to improve on ours. This current system is a sham and first and foremost Canadians deserve better system. Given some clear choices Canadians could easily select an alternative – it would not at all be divisive – it would be Canadians pulling together to improve their inherent right – a much more democratic system.

  • John Addison

    That survey that was sent out was vague and useless. One could derive any outcome they wanted from the results. It could have been as simple as “Do you support changing our electoral system to one of proportional representation” and if so which of these three possible methods would you prefer – then list 3 types and ask them to be ranked. They could also say that the government could choose a fourth option, or some amalgam of the 3 described. If it had been a simple survey, there would have been a place to start working on a proportional representation system.
    I’m very disappointed in Trudeau for a) going back on his word and b) the spin he’s putting on it in his answer to Elizabeth May. What does “an augmentation of extremist voices in the house” mean?

  • tdwebste

    I agree in the past FPTP did serve the Liberals well and helped suppress the NDP. But things have changed. The public is much more divided and NOT looking for centralist leadership.

    The Harper’s Conservatives was a turning point in Canadian Politics. And the current Liberal Government under Trudeau just reinforces the fact that so many Canadians know.

    WE need to change Government Powers to be accountable to the public. Not just change the Political Party in Power. It is this belief that helped remove Harper from power and elect the Liberals.

    Mass Media is what really changed!! Mass Media is very centralized and mostly owned by Private interested in promoting the interest of their Corporate owners. Advertising has changed and as result attracting the public through honest reporting simply does not pay the bills. As result everyone seems have turned to even less reliable news sources. Just look south of the boarder to see the political results of the changed News Media.

    We need to follow the money in order to determine who are Political Parties are truly accountable to.

    But I don’t believe the Liberals have the nerve to demand the Mass Media ownership and revenue accountability required to follow the Political money flowing into politics.

  • satinka

    “In the interests of Canada and Canadians,” is Justin Trudeau’s pat answer to any question. I guess he figures that anything he does is in the best interests of Canada. He is a mind-controlled puppet to not see how he looks to Canadians. Just how simple-minded and myopic is the Canadian PM? Let’s see…

  • Melvin Townley

    Dear Ms. May: As I stated in an earlier response on electoral reform, party politics has to be eliminated before Canadians can ever hope to realize what a real democracy can look like. A parliament voted for by the people, of the people, and foremost, for the people.
    Melvin Townley

  • JanetHudgins

    I wonder if any legal steps were ever taken to change the electoral system? Since there have been movements around for at least 10 years and other activists and politicians for many years it’s a possibility that it was challenged in court. But, I don’t know where to look.

  • Betty Gilgoff

    Ms May, Thank you for raising the question. This continues to be a very important issue. I believe that we should not easily let the Liberals off the hook. Dropping electoral reform because they have not yet found a consensus is just not acceptable. No one expected consensus. We just need a better, more fair, more engaging electoral system. We need the opportunity to vote for the best candidate, not the candidate we feel we have to support just to keep the “bad guys” out. We need a House of Commons full of best possible MP’s, not least worst. Many of us worked hard during the last election to get the Conservatives out. We believed that the Liberals were serious in their intention to have the next election not be ‘first past the post’. Thank you Ms May for your continued effort.

  • David Bentley

    Extremist views!This is laughable considering the response and subsequent support for electoral reform from opposition members and the general public at large….I and others when polled did give specific recommendations in support of electoral reform…The old motto “deeds speak louder than words” applies

  • LK

    Why should voters be proportionally represented in parliament?
    Because it’s 2017.

  • Lois Yelland

    What kind of democracy is it, that the new minister holds in such high regard, that gives a political party a majority government, with such a low percentage of the popular vote, as we’ve seen in the last 3 Federal elections?! It’s the flawed kind of democracy that gave us a decade of the Harper government, which did not represent the views of the majority of Canadians. It was this experience that made electoral reform such an important issue for so many of us in the last election – and a popular enough issue for the Liberals to lift it from the NDP and Green election platforms, to gain votes, with no intention of following through on this promise once First Past the Post had given them a majority government. For a party that supposedly celebrates diversity, this decision to reject the recommendations of the appointed parliamentary committee for a system of Proportional Representation that would be more representative of the views of all Canadians, shows just how hypocritical the Liberals are when it comes to walking the talk. As we enter these dangerous times, a system of Proportional Representation could have protected us from the possibility of an outcome like the one we are witnessing south of the border. This decision may serve the Liberals well for the present, but it serves the democracy of Canada poorly and may go down as one of the most important lost opportunities of Trudeau’s legacy.

  • D Jackson

    Oh my goodness…the PM is sounding more like politico every time something new comes out of his mouth. I wonder who preps him for disaster management control questions.

    Hang in there Elizabeth, if you feel like throwing in the towel over this “new” same old same old government you feel just like every other concerned Canadian,
    BETRAYED and ABUSED. I’m to old to have voted liberal, I voted for you because of your integrity and all the hard work you do in parliament…which is worth its weight in 24k solid gold. Without you, the house has nothing to offer those Canadians that need to see an MP that represents honesty and a moral code that doesn’t change based upon the current flavour of the day.

    “an augmentation of extremist voices in the House” ??? what the heck does that mean?

    Is Trudeau saying your an extremist for questioning him on his promises? Deflecting his own lack of character onto your shoulders? Lame.

    And where is this divisive referendum coming from? Lame…I haven’t heard a single person in my circles defending first past the post. I would very much like to
    see the results of that slyly designed “survey” made public…I think it prove who is not operating in the best interests of Canada.

    Thank you Elizabeth, your questions to the PM removes all doubt and provides proof positive as to the character and nature of the Prime Minister of Canada.

    Canada is still a great country because of its individual citizens, regardless of
    the presence of some untrustworthy politicians. Sooner than later we need to change the way power is distributed in parliament and this isn’t over until the last concerned voter says so.

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