Petition asks for electoral reform

A petition asking government to move ahead with its proposed electoral reform had gathered over 100,000 signatures from across the country

A petition asking government to move ahead with its proposed electoral reform had gathered over 100,000 signatures from across the country by last Friday.

Sponsored by Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, the petition calls upon the federal government to “immediately declare its ongoing commitment to ensuring the 2015 election be the last federal Canadian election under the first-past-the-post system.”

It also asks for government to outline a proposed timeline for the introduction of an electoral reform bill before the House of Commons, detailing the proposed timeline until passage into law.

Although the petition was initiated by Jonathan Cassels from Kitchener, Ontario, on Nov. 2, 2016, it gained momentum after prime minister Justin Trudeau recently indicated that the proposed electoral reform was no longer on the government’s agenda.

Cassels told CBC News that what prompted him to launch the petition months before the recent announcement were early signs of a flip-flop from Trudeau, including an interview in Le Devoir on Oct. 19, 2016.

Cullen, who sat on the special committee tasked with studying alternative electoral systems and consulting with the public, said Trudeau lied to Canadians when he decided to abandon the pledge to reform Canada’s electoral system.

“Justin Trudeau was elected on a promise to alleviate cynicism in democracy but he has made the problem so much worse with his incredibly cynical move to do the exact opposite of what he’s been telling Canadians for almost two years,” he said.

NDP democratic reform critics last week introduced a motion demanding that Liberals “apologize for outright betraying Canadians by shattering promises to reform the federal voting system.”

The petition will be open for signatures until March 2, 2017. Government is required to respond within 45 days to every petition presented in the House of Commons that receive a minimum of 500 signatures.

The petition can be accessed online at https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-616