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Saint John chapter tells Trudeau its disappointed about broken promise on electoral reform

Saint John chapter activist Lynaya Astephen, Liberal MP Wayne Long

Council of Canadians Saint John chapter activist Lynaya Astephen has written Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to express her disappointment with his broken promise on electoral reform.

Astephen writes, “I am writing today to tell you that I am deeply disappointed in your government’s decision to break your promise on electoral reform. Over the last year you heard from tens of thousands of Canadians as well as many experts who told you that proportional representation is the best way forward.”

She highlights, “Your failure to keep this commitment is a betrayal to the many voters who were counting on you to fix our broken voting system. But I believe there is still time – and that’s why I am calling on you to work with the opposition parties and civil society to find a way to make electoral reform happen.”

Saint John Liberal MP Wayne Long responds, “Our view has always been clear: Major reforms to the electoral system, changes of this magnitude, should only be made if they have the broad support of Canadians. I respect you and all those who have come forward to participate in these discussions. It has informed our decisions. While we heard a wide range of opinions from Canadians, there is no clear consensus on an alternative voting system for Canada and feel that a referendum without a clear question on the alternatives is not in the best interest of the country.”

During the last federal election, the Liberals promised that the 2015 election would be the last held until the first-past-the-post voting system and set a deadline of May 2017 to introduce legislation on electoral reform. Undoubtedly many people voted for Trudeau because of this pledge to make our voting system more democratic. Now, just 15 months after the election, Trudeau has abandoned that promise.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has tweeted, “Trudeau government abandons promise on electoral reform. Cynicism among the young over politics already so deep. We didn’t need this.”

We strongly condemn Trudeau’s decision to not make every vote count.

We believe it is wrong that the current electoral system means that the Liberals with only 39.47 per cent of the popular vote hold 54.48 per cent of the seats (basically meaning 100 per cent of the power) in the House of Commons.