Barring something totally unexpected, we will be blissfully election free in this part of Canada and the world for at least two years. While Americans scratch their heads wondering how The Donald got elected when Hillary Clinton received at least two million votes more than him, it now seems very doubtful that anything will change when it comes to elections in the great white north.
18 months ago, Justin Trudeau promised that the election that gave his Liberals a majority in parliament would be the last under the much-maligned First Past the Post system. An all-party committee of MP’s was appointed to find out what Canadians wanted. They worked hard, and this past week they handed in their ‘book report’.
It concluded that a national referendum should be held with a clear choice. Do we want to maintain the status quo, or go to some form of proportional representation? Justin’s minister responsible for this issue is Maryam Monsef, who was once a refugee from either Iran or Afghanistan, depending on which day she’s telling the story.
In the Commons, she held up the committee’s report on electoral reform, a hefty document she had not actually had time to read, and gave it a big fat ‘F’ for failure. The sniping that followed between Liberal and opposition benches marked a bit of a new low in the history of our democracy.
What it all appears to boil down to is that the committee did not come up with the answer that the Prime Minister and the Liberals wanted.
They want to have Canadians mark a ‘ranked ballot’ in the voting booth. If the Conservative candidate is your first choice, who is your next favourite and so on.
It’s a system that’s used in many parts of Europe. The more cynical among us say it would give the Liberals their best chance of running this country virtually … forever.
With that in mind, what do you say we close the file on electoral reform?
I’m Roger Currie