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Clear consensus on voting reform – now government must act

Written by Think Forward Staff
Friday, 02 December 2016

Following nationwide consultations on how and whether we should change our voting system, and after studying the issue of electoral reform for several months, the House of Commons’ Special Committee on Electoral Reform has delivered a report recommending a system of proportional representation (PR) for Canada.

In their report, the all-party committee says the government should develop a proportional voting system and hold a referendum asking Canadians whether we would like to adopt such a system, or keep our existing first-past-the-post system (FPTP) for federal elections. The report also suggests that, as part of a national referendum on electoral reform, Elections Canada should launch a public awareness campaign aimed at educating Canadians on PR and FPTP (for a summary of both systems, click here).

The recommendations come after the committee held extensive public consultations asking Canadians whether we should change our voting system. During these consultations, 88 percent of citizens and experts who testified supported some form of PR. The New Democrats and Conservatives also conducted hearings on this issue, and a majority of those who participated expressed a desire for a more proportional electoral system. Evidently, there is a clear consensus among Canadians that we should adopt a fairer and more proportional voting system.  

However, the federal government is now claiming that further engagement is needed on this issue, and that the suggestions put forward by the all-party committee are “rushed and are too radical to impose at this time.” This despite the fact that the Liberals came to power on a promise to make the 2015 Federal Election the last election ever held under our current FPTP system.

In our opinion, the Trudeau Liberals should follow through on their election promise by acting on the findings of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform and the conclusions of the opposition parties. It is obvious that voters want a fair, inclusive, and collaborative democracy through proportional representation, and now that the committee has delivered its recommendations, there is no valid reason for the government to drag its feet.

The Liberals say they will be launching a website – dubbed – seeking further public input on electoral reform. The website will be online by early December, and Canadians will have until December 31 to provide their feedback. So let’s use this as an opportunity to hammer home the message that became abundantly clear in the committee’s consultations: that Canadians want a fair, effective, and proportional voting system that makes every vote count. Will you make your voice heard?



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