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14 chapters respond to the Liberal government voting down electoral reform

Photo from Anita Nickerson. Complete voting record can be seen here.

Council of Canadians chapters across the country are responding to the Liberal government voting down electoral reform in the House of Commons yesterday. In a 159 to 146 vote, the Liberals defeated a motion to concur with the recommendations in the report tabled by the Special Committee on Electoral Reform.

“A sad day for democracy! Unfair elections and wasted votes will continue. Shame!”

– Lois Little, Northwest Territories chapter

“There should be a way of holding government to account when they refuse to implement their own platform. There can be no better example of why we need electoral reform than seeing the Federal Liberals, who campaigned on electoral reform, using their majority government to defeat a motion on electoral reform! At the ballot box in 2019 we must ask ourselves: why should we take the Liberals at their word?”

– Melissa McGlashan, South Niagara chapter

“We are particularly incensed at the Liberal Government’s broken promise to change the electoral system for the next federal election. Our chapter lobbied our MP Maryam Monsef for over a year and a half to deliver the promise since she had the exclusive Cabinet

post to complete such a process, instead acting to discount the parliamentary committee which she headed. A horrible example of a government ignoring people’s wishes to reform the electoral system and effectively demolishing its own responsible parliamentary

committee report. How can Canadians trust any further government pledges, as this one was really important for Canada’s future?”

– Roy Brady, Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter

“I am terribly disappointed with the outcome of the vote and with the Liberals for breaking such a clear election promise, but proud of our MP Sean Casey’s courageous stand.”

– Mary Cowper-Smith, PEI chapter

“This inaction is knuckling under the inertia of doing as little as possible, while ultimately cutting the very legs of our democratic right to have a government that we voted for in an election.”

– Jim Elliott, Regina chapter

“A very sad day! Liberal MP Kim Rudd shifts the issue by discussing a national referendum and focusing only on Mixed Member Proportional Representation, not electoral reform. Seems be be a pattern emerging where public statements are an act of sidestepping the real issues and creating illusions. A very sad day.”

– Joyce Matthys, Northumberland chapter

“The Liberals blatant display of disdain for democracy is truly appalling. We cannot let this act of arrogance be forgotten.”

– Suzy Coulter, Chilliwack chapter

“If I were Prime Minister, I would want my legacy to be proportional representation.  It is the key to making progress on environmental stewardship through social justice.”

– Nancy Carswell, Prince Albert chapter

“This shows exactly why we need proportional representation! If we had the fair electoral system that the Liberals promised over 1000 times, in which every vote counted, the Liberals would not have the false majority where 34% of the vote gives them 100% of the power. All those Liberal MP’s were elected by people who believed they would keep the promise of electoral reform. They and their constituents have been betrayed by their party. They should cross the floor and join one of the parties that actually would keep that fundamental promise.”

– Norah F., London chapter

“Public education continues to be the key to meaningful electoral reform. Far more people are talking about Proportional Representation across Canada now than ever have before, and we have to keep these conversations going until we get some form of real proportionality in our voting system.”

– David Heap, London chapter

“When the Liberals used the Red Book as an example for reelection years ago, they said we kept 3 out 4 promises. To me it means you lied 1 out of 4 times. Here we are AGAIN on electoral reform. YOU LIED. Your party hasn’t changed. There is no confidence in the Liberals because we can’t tell when you’re really promising or lying. Shame on you.”

– Randy Emerson, Windsor-Essex chapter

“I really wonder when MPs are going to act in the interests of their constituents. Two liberal MPs did, and they are to be commended for it. The rest were obviously whipped. When the rest of the developed world is embracing proportional representation, we are backing away from it. That says something about who’s influencing Canadian politicians, and it clearly isn’t the people. Corporations have a lot to lose when the system becomes more transparent and democratic.”

– Margo Sheppard, Fredericton chapter

“The Liberals campaigned on making 2015 the last election under First Past The Post. 88% of those testifying before the ERRE advocated for proportional representation. Polls by Fair Vote Canada conducted in 21 Liberal ridings across the country found a strong majority of constituents wanted their Liberal MP to keep their promise and advocate for PR in the House of Commons. The ERRE recommendations amounted to agreement in principle with PR but did not require the government to reform our electoral system. Yet, despite all that, 159 Liberal MPs stood up during a free vote in the House of Commons and voted against their own campaign promise, against the results of the ERRE, against the wishes of their constituents all across the country and against a motion that required very little of the government. Kudos to Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Sean Casey for standing up for their constituents and their principles, shame on everyone else; including the 3 Liberal MPs in Hamilton/Burlington who refused to represent the wishes of their constituents on this issue. Let’s not forget this, and let’s make sure the Liberals pay for this in 2019!”

– Don Giberson, Hamilton Chapter

“This is a sad day for Canada. How are we (the citizens) supposed to make things better if we can’t be more involved in electing who runs our society.”

– Timothy Shain, Hinton chapter

“Ms. Monsef has repeatedly demonstrated her willingness to stoop shockingly low to further her own ambition at the expense of what she must know would be good policy for the public. The results of yesterday’s vote suggest that all but two of her Liberal colleagues are as unprincipled as she is, a sad lot of ‘mere trained seals’, as Trudeau Sr. called Canada’s MP’s after he made it mandatory that party leaders give authorization for candidates to run under a party’s banner. Prior to 1970, it was local riding associations who decided who could run, so Trudeau Sr.’s action transferred power from the people to party leaders and Parliament has become a less effective and democratic institution ever since. In my opinion, Canadian democracy suffers as much from Trudeau Sr.’s unilateral changes to electoral practices in 1970 as it does from first-past-the-post.”

– Alanna Morgan, Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter

“What was really saddening close to home was to see Maryam Monsef betray what she said she stood for. No new kind of politician there.”

– Mark Finnan, Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter

“This is heartbreaking and infuriating and incredible and wrong.”

– Anne Levesque, Inverness County chapter

“We will not let them forget this.”

– Julie Picken-Cooper, London chapter

Council of Canadians chapters will continue to advocate for electoral reform and are committed to making this a ballot box issue when voters next go to the polls in the October 21, 2019 federal election.