It looks as if First Past the Post is here to stay for a while longer - another election promise being broken.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 31, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Here is how a government gets out of an election promise>

Just say that you’ve come to the conclusion that what you promised isn’t something the people want – so let’s move on to the next promise.

On Thursday night, Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef made some alarming statements to a packed house of Proportional Representation (PR) supporters at one of her final tour stops in Victoria:

Minister of Democratic Institutions and Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef addresses the crowd during a town hall meeting on electoral reform at the Mount Community Centre on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. Monsef is on a seven-week, cross-country tour gathering input on democratic reform. Jessica Nyznik/Peterborough Examiner/Postmedia Network

Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef at a public meeting on election reform.

“So I can’t promise you that I’ll be advocating for PR because I haven’t heard that from an overwhelming majority across the country.”  The Minister added that: “People aren’t clamouring for change the way they were under the former government.”

“So I’m looking for that consensus – I haven’t seen it across the country and now I’m waiting on the committee. I can’t make you a promise. I’m very very sorry.”

Fair Vote Canada, an organization that is advocating for xxx said they have received reports from people who attended almost every single one of Minister Monsef’s tour stops from coast to coast. At most of the hundreds of town halls and events across Canada, Canadians calling for PR were the majority.

The vast majority of those who attended the Minister’s consultations this week in Victoria supported PR.

At the last electoral reform committee (ERRE) public mic in Ottawa this week, 84% of those with an opinion on voting systems spoke for PR. Of the minority who spoke in opposition, some were paid Conservative staffers.
Minister Monsef’s own report to ERRE on the 8 town halls she held in Peterborough-Kawartha stated:

“It is clear that there is an appetite for thoughtful change to the electoral system. While opinions on the various electoral systems did vary, most participants indicated their support for a more proportional electoral process that still respected the need for local representation and simplicity of the ballot.”

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Democratic Institutions have personally created a sense of hope in Canadians, building on their 2015 campaign promise of “Real Change”. Canadians believed them and believed that the government really did intend to keep its promises. They thought the political cynicism of the Harper years was behind us. Thousands of us participated in the government’s consultations in good faith.

But this week, the Minister is saying – while the ERRE MPs are in the process of negotiating a new electoral system – that we should not expect the government to keep it’s promise to make every vote count. This is serious. We must make ourselves heard now! This is our last chance to influence the 12 MPs whose report will guide the government.

electoral_reform-graphic

The fear is that an election promise might have just taken a walk off the platform stage.

The Fair Vote organization is asking people to thank the members of ERRE for their work, ask them to deliver a recommendation for proportional representation and tell Justin Trudeau to keep his campaign promise!

They have set up a web site – more information there. Let’s see where this election promise goes.

trudeau-voting

The hope in the minds of many Canadians was that there would be a change in the way members of Parliament were elected – a shift from the First Past the Post approach to something that reflected a little more fairly the wishes of the electorate as shown by the ballots cast.

Back in June of 2015 when he was running for election as the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wanted that “fall’s national vote to be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post electoral system.

And, if the Liberal leader becomes prime minister, it may also be the last election in which Canadians can choose not to vote, as well as the last in which the only way to vote is by marking an X on a paper ballot.

Changing the way Canadians vote is just one element of a sweeping, 32-point plan to “restore democracy in Canada.

There will apparently be a number of changes on how people get to cast their ballot – Elections Canada, the organization that runs federal elections is working on a collection of ideas – but they may not be in place for the next federal election.

At this point who cares – all eyes are on what is happening south of us. What a mess they’ve gotten themselves into – makes us appreciate what we do have.

 

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