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Fredericton chapter & allies challenge Liberal MP Matt DeCourcey on electoral reform

The Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter protested outside a Fredericton Federal Liberal Riding Associations meeting today to demand that Liberal MP Matt DeCourcey fulfill his promise to implement electoral reform.

Chapter activist Mark D’Arcy tells us, “We had a successful rally this evening with between 45-50 people present. Along with our chapter, CUPE, Fair Vote Canada, Leadnow, the Green Party, the NDP, and PANB (People’s Alliance of New Brunswick) were there as well as individuals from the riding.”

The chapter has highlighted, “DeCourcey was one of the members on the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform. He knows first-hand that over five months of hearings, an overwhelming majority of Canadians told the Committee that they want an end to the first-past-the-post voting system and for it to be replaced with one that is fair, representative, and proportional. 88 per cent of the experts the Committee heard and 87 per cent of the public who testified called for a proportional voting system.”

During the October 2015 federal election campaign, the Liberals explicitly 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.”

But by February 1, 2017, despite this very clear election promise, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ruled out electoral reform.

DeCourcey spoke to those at the rally today. He said, “Look If there is one thing we know, is that we can’t just simply unilaterally change the electoral system. We have rather different views on process and the final outcome.” He then claimed he didn’t get elected for promising electoral reform, but the crowd strongly disagreed with him on that and said it was one of the major reasons he was elected.

D’Arcy then asked the MP, “But in terms of breaking promises, could you address that? Wanting to trust our Member of Parliament to follow through on their promises that got them elected.” DeCourcey replied, “We are working hard to fulfill our commitments. I stand by the process that we undertook to try and do this.  We wanted to examine all options and we weren’t able to even start by examining all options.” Again the crowd rejected that answer and people there said, “That wasn’t the promise. That’s not true.”

A vote on electoral reform is scheduled to take place in the House of Commons on May 31. Council of Canadians chapters and allies across the country are demanding that their Liberal MP vote for electoral reform.

Please contact your MP today.


More photos by Mark D’Arcy: