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26 chapters engage in electoral reform consultations

The Peterborough chapter was at Maryam Monsef’s consultation on electoral reform on September 6. Photo by Jessica Nyznik/ Peterborough Examiner.

Twenty-six chapters have engaged in various forms of consultation on electoral reform over the last year.

In the October 2015 federal election, the Liberal platform promised, “We will make every vote count. We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system. We will convene an all-party Parliamentary committee to review a wide variety of reforms, such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting. This committee will deliver its recommendations to Parliament. Within 18 months of forming government, we will introduce legislation to enact electoral reform.”

Following the election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau highlighted in his “mandate letter” to the new Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef that she would, “Bring forward a proposal to establish a special parliamentary committee to consult on electoral reform, including preferential ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting and online voting.”

Council of Canadians chapters have engaged by:

Presenting to/ attending a meeting of the Special Committee on electoral reform

Fredericton, Prince Albert, Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island

Attending a consultation with Maryam Monsef

Quinte, Northwest Territories, Peterborough, Quill Plains (Wynyard), Regina, Thunder Bay, Montreal

Attending MP town halls on electoral reform

Northumberland County, London, Quinte, North Shore, Saskatoon, Campbell River, Calgary, Guelph, Ottawa, Kelowna, Mid-Island

Meeting with their MPs

Hamilton, Guelph, Nelson, Penticton, London, Peel, Peterborough, Quinte, Kelowna

Organizing their own public event

North Shore, Hamilton, Quinte, Brandon-Westman, Comox Valley, Guelph

Chapters have also handed out leaflets, published articles in local newspapers, held workshops, and worked closely with our ally Fair Vote Canada.

Yesterday, on the first anniversary of his election, Trudeau commented, “Under Mr. Harper, there were so many people who were unhappy with the government and his approach that people said, ‘We need electoral reform in order to stop having governments we don’t like’. However, under the current system, they now have a government with which they are more satisfied. And the thirst to change the electoral system is less striking.”

Today, following the public backlash against these comments, Trudeau stated, “I think it’s important that a country as forward thinking and constantly improving and evolving as Canada is alert to opportunities to improve our systems of governance and the way we pick our governments. And that’s a commitment we made in our election that I continue to be deeply committed to.”

The Special Committee on Electoral Reform has now concluded its public consultations and will present a report with its recommendations on December 1. The Liberals have set a deadline of May 2017 to introduce legislation on electoral reform. The next federal election is scheduled to take place on October 21, 2019.