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Barlow calls on Trudeau government to move on proportional representation

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has called on the Trudeau government to move forward with proportional representation.

The Every Voter Counts Alliance open letter states, “The report on the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform was tabled on December 1, 2016. The parliamentary committee recommendation is for a voting system that maintains the link between Canadian citizens and a locally representative MP while eliminating the risks posed by majoritarian systems (such as First past the Post and Ranked Ballots under FPTP) of severe electoral distortions of the will of the voters. We congratulate the newly appointed minister, the Hon Karina Gould, and urge her to move to implement the key recommendation of the parliamentary committee and move to a system of proportional representation for the next federal election.”

The Ottawa Citizen reports, “Earlier this week, the indefatigable proportional representation proponents who make up the Every Voter Counts Alliance released an open letter signed by a pantheon of ‘prominent Canadians’ — including, among others, Neil Young, Ed Broadbent, David Suzuki and Maude Barlow.”

The Globe and Mail adds, “It’s time for the federal government to hit the gas pedal on electoral reform, now that there’s a road map for replacing the current first-past-the-post voting system, say former elections chief Jean-Pierre Kingsley and a group of prominent Canadians.”

That article highlights, “Trudeau promised during the last election campaign that the 2015 vote would be the last held under first-past-the-post, although he has since shown signs of backing away from that commitment. During a town-hall meeting in Kingston, Ont., last week, Trudeau described electoral reform as “a complicated issue” that brings out a wide spectrum of opinions. Asked by a woman in the audience whether he believes a proportional voting system would be best for Canada, Trudeau said while he prefers a ranked voting system, he’s open to a broad range of perspectives. Gould has also so far refused to say definitively whether she’s committed to ensuring the federal Liberals honour their campaign promise.”

The Liberals had promised to introduce electoral reform legislation by this May.

If proportional representation had been in place for the October 2015 federal election, the Liberals likely would have won a minority government with 134 seats (rather than 184 seats, 54 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons with just 40 per cent of the popular vote), the Conservatives 109 seats (rather than 99), the NDP 67 seats (rather than 44), the Green Party 12 seats (rather than 1), and the Bloc Quebecois 16 seats (rather than 10).

The next federal election will take place on October 21, 2019.