on electoral reform, it’s trudeau’s way or the highway

[transcript below]

Wow, his previous job experience as a drama teacher is really paying off right now. I actually believe that he actually believes that Canada is better served with a smaller number of larger political parties instead of a larger number of smaller political parties. He comes from a political dynasty, with a father having served as prime minister. He comes from a party that has governed the country for at least half of all its history, and he believes it’s done quite well, thankyouverymuch.

But it’s simply not true that a small number of large parties encourage diversity more than a large number of small parties. The statistics speak for themselves: with proportional representation, which tends to allow for more, smaller parties, women and minorities are more represented in parliament. Coming together in our diversity to work together is precisely the spirit of more a proprotional representation that leads to coalitions. It’s so weird that coaltion and proportional representation have such negative connotations in Canada. I would warmly welcome either and both. And absolutely no one is proposing 100% proportional representation; we’re only talking about more proportional. This would include Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), for example.

Furthermore, it’s inaccurate and a bit offensive that he would claim there was no openness to compromise in other parties. The Conservatives, the NDP and the Greens all signed their names to the same final report and list of recommendations. Do you know how painful it was for all of them? The Cons had to agree to a more proprotional system. The NDP and Greens had to agree to a referendum, which they were both against. They all compromised. The only ones who didn’t were the Liberals, who drafted a “supplementary” (read: competing) final report. It was the Liberals who didn’t yield an inch.

Finally, Trudeau keeps talking about how it was his decision to make and it’s his burden to bear. Uh, last I checked, this was a representative democracy. He’s not the dictator. His mandate comes from his constituents; their interest is his interest. I find it so disingenuous that he would create an all-party committee to investigate the issue when from the get-go he was unwilling to be open to their recommendations, which come from the gazillion town halls they’d had across the country with hundreds of experts and witness testimonies. What was the point of all those hundreds of hours and millions of dollars? It’s a good example of how Trudeau so often pays lip service to listening to Canadians but just going ahead with his own preferences regardless of their opinions.

Just count the number of times he says “I”, “my” and “me”:

There were ways to improve our electoral system in this country and that’s why I made the promise to change our electoral system. I was hopeful that in discussion with all people, all parties in the house, we were going to be able to move forward on a way to do that – to improve our democracy – that would improve the outcomes of future elections for everyone, mostly for Canadians.

Unfortunately it became very clear that we had a preference to give people a ranked ballot so that they could reduce the aspect of strategic voting so that they could put their second choice, third choice down on the ballot and therefore have every MP be at least 50% of their riding. We thought that was the right way forward.

Nobody else agreed. The NDP was anchored in their belief that proportional representation was the only way forward. And I have been consistent and crystal clear from the beginning of my political career – you can look at the speeches I made here in Ottawa at the convention in 2012 or the debates I had on stage, particularly in Halifax during the liberal leadership – where I think proportional representation would be bad for our country. I think it would weaken one of the great things about Canada, which is that we can come together in our diversity to work together on big things. And I think that creating fragmentation amongst political parties as opposed to having larger political parties that include Canada’s diversity within them would weaken them. The Conservatives wanted the status quo no matter what. And the only way to break that logjam was to do a referendum, which I definitely don’t think was in the best interest of Canadians.

So it was a very difficult decision for me to make the determination that even given my own hopes that we would be able to move forward on reforming the electoral system, that there was no path to do that. There was no openness to compromise in the other parties, and I wasn’t going to use my majority to bring in a system just to tick off a box on an election platform. The interest of Canada, the interest of Canadians, the focus we have on what matters deeply to all Canadians – to grow the economy, to create opportunities for the middle class – was at the centre of what we are doing and what we’re focused on, and the lack of a path forward for this country made it a difficult but necessary choice I made.

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