The Trudeau government’s broken electoral reform promise raises concerns about whether the government will undo the worst elements of the so-called “Fair” Elections Act, says the Council of Canadians.
“The Trudeau government abandonment of electoral reform is adding to the political cynicism of young people, which was already quite deep,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “As bad as this broken promise is in its own right, it also raises another concern. Will the government also break its promise to repeal the undemocratic elements of the Fair Elections Act?”
The government introduced Bill C-33 in November 2016 to repeal the elements of the Fair Elections Act, which were already the subject of a legal challenge from the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students and individual electors. But it remains to be seen whether the bill will be made a political priority or whether the legislation will be left to languish.
The Council of Canadians is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to keep his promises by repealing the undemocratic elements of the Fair Elections Act and recommitting to electoral reform.
“It’s not too late for this government to keep its electoral reform promises, and it’s not too late for all of us to speak up loudly to make sure it does,” says Barlow.
If proportional representation had been in place for the October 2015 federal election, the Liberals would have won a minority government with 134 seats, 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 Québécois 16 seats (rather than 10). Under the current first-past-the-post system, Canadians’ voting preferences were distorted, resulting in the Liberals winning 54.48 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons with only 39.47 per cent of the popular vote.