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No Food for Thought

Electoral reform coming to Canada?

admin Tuesday January 5, 2016

After the last election, I wrote about the federal electoral reform promised. Nothing has really changed since then, which is why I am writing a new post.

Since the election, I have seen electoral reform discussed several times on the CBC's At Issue panel, by several commentators. Just yesterday, Tasha Kheiriddin mentioned reform on another CBC panel. Since the election, I am not sure any minister received more media attention than Maryam Monsef.

10 weeks after the election, the media still hasn't forgotten the Liberal Party's promise of electoral reform. It really seems like the government will propose electoral reform. What will happen - what system will be proposed, whether a referendum will be held, and the result of such a referendum - is still unknown, although the Liberal Party ruled out a referendum just last week. But clearly, the next months of Canadian politics will be exciting to watch. The system proposed will certainly be extremely suboptimal. But any change will probably be the greatest advancement in governance at the federal level since women's suffrage, a century ago. Canadian citizens could realize in 2019 that they have (slightly) more political power than checking a box every 4 years. The next generation may realize that democracy is not merely FPTP, except if we want it to be kept in its infancy.

On the other hand, if loyalist Canadians fear taking the lead on the UK for once and reject reform by referendum, governance reform could become a topic as taboo as constitutional changes and could be set back by decades.

Finally, while achieving proportional representation is just one governance improvement for me, I would like to congratulate Fair Vote Canada for all they have done during the campaign and after. FVC probably did not influence the results of the last election in the end, but your continual activity may still prove useful in the upcoming debate. Thank you, Anita Nickerson, Kelly Carmichael and all others for all the energy you invest in our goal. Keep up the good work.

2017 update: No

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