Thursday June 2, 2016
‘We can do better’: Liberals kick off push to change Canada’s voting system
Having promised that the last federal campaign will be the last one conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system, the Liberal government is proposing that a special committee study the alternatives and report back to the House of Commons by Dec. 1.
A motion to create the committee was unveiled on Tuesday night. Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef and Government House leader Dominic LeBlanc explained their government’s plans on Wednesday morning.
The committee would consist of 10 voting members: six Liberals, three Conservatives and one New Democrat. One Bloc Québécois MP and Green MP Elizabeth May would be members of the committee, but not allowed to vote.
“In a multi-party democracy like Canada, first past the post distorts the will of the electorate. It’s part of why so many Canadians don’t engage in or care about politics,” Monsef told reporters. “While there’s no such thing as a perfect electoral system, we can do better.”
The committee would be asked to “identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems, such as preferential ballots and proportional representation, to replace the first-past-the-post system, as well as to examine mandatory voting and online voting.”
Options would be judged on the basis of five principles:
- Effectiveness and legitimacy.
- Accessibility and inclusiveness.
- Local representation.
The committee would invite every MP to conduct a forum on electoral reform in his or her riding and file a report on the discussion by Oct. 1. And the committee itself would conduct a “national engagement process,” including written and online submissions. (Source: CBC News)