Electoral reform committee recommends referendum

Government has sent out 15 million postcards to engage the public 

Skeena Bulkley-Valley MP Nathan Cullen was one of a handful of all-party MPs to present a final report about the electoral reform to the federal government earlier this month.

The report recommends a referendum to determine whether Canada should change its first-past-the-post voting system.

The federal Liberals have committed to have a new voting system put in place before the next federal election.

“The prime minister made a black-and-white promise to Canadians to make 2015 the last election under first-past-the-post, and to make every vote count,” said Cullen. “The government has a mandate, the tools, a viable path, and a clear obligation to replace our outdated, unfair voting system with a proportional voting system.”

In a proportional representation electoral system, the share of votes a party receives in an election is reflected in the number of seats they receive in the House of Commons.

“They want who people vote for to mirror who gets to Ottawa to represent folks back home,” said Cullen.

The all-party committee held close to 50 meetings, in every province and territory, and heard from nearly 200 expert witnesses. Tens of thousands of Canadians participated in the consultation process.

The committee found that 88 per cent of expert witnesses and 87 per cent of the public testimony before the committee called for the government to adopt a proportional voting system.

Cullen said that over the past four months, the majority of people who attended the six town halls in his riding also said they want to see a proportional voting system.

In addition, the all-party committee recommends that the government should implement financial incentives for political parties to nominate more women.

The federal government continues to consult with the public about the electoral reform. Earlier this month, government unveiled MyDemocracy.ca – an interactive digital platform where Canadians can take part in the national conversation. This online engagement application is intended to complement the work of the all-party committee.

Opposition MPs and critics have said the government’s online survey is a wasteful exercise. According to The Globe and Mail, government officials acknowledged there are no limits on the number of times that users can respond to the survey.

A postcard inviting the public to join the conversation through MyDemocracy.ca has been sent to almost 15 million Canadian households.

About $330,000 was spent to create the website and government has yet to reveal the cost of sending out the 15 million postcards.

 

 

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