Toronto – December 1, 2016 – The House of Commons’ Special Committee on Electoral Reform will issue its report today, and despite recent comments from the government, there appears to be widespread support for changing our electoral system to one based on proportional representation.
Data collected by Fair Vote Canada from town hall meetings conducted by the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Maryam Monsef, show that a large majority of speakers advocated for some form of proportional representation (PR). For example, the Special Committee on Electoral Reform heard from hundreds of expert witnesses, and 84 percent of those testifying expressed a preference for PR.
Conservative MPs, meanwhile, reported there was a clear appetite for a more proportional system at the various town halls that the party held across the country, and almost everyone who advocated for change at these meetings wanted to see a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system.
NDP MP Nathan Cullen reached over 37,000 Canadians via town hall meetings and online consultations that revealed Canadians largely agree on three key principles for electoral reform: that votes be equal, effective, and empowered by adding proportionality to our electoral system; that a strong connection to local representation be maintained; and that women and visible minorities need to be better represented under a reformed system. These principles also reflect the key changes that UFCW Canada would like to see implemented in order to make our electoral system fairer and more representative of voters’ wishes.
Indeed, it seems that support for PR is growing across Canada. For instance, in a recent plebiscite on electoral reform in Prince Edward Island, 52 percent of voters chose MMP as their preferred electoral system.
With the Special Committee on Electoral Reform set to report to the House of Commons, the government has announced that they will be seeking further input on electoral reform via a new website – mydemocracy.ca – that will go online in early December. The government will be sending out post cards to raise awareness of the website, and Canadians will have until December 31 to provide their feedback through the site.
In our opinion, the Liberal government needs to be held to its election promise that 2015 would be the last election held under our current first-past-the-post electoral system. And the momentum for change to a more proportional system must be maintained. UFCW Canada is therefore encouraging all members and allies to provide their feedback on electoral reform at mydemocracy.ca, once the website is online. Let’s keep the momentum for electoral reform going by telling the government why we would like to see a fairer and more proportional electoral system that benefits all Canadians.
Stay tuned to ufcw.ca for more updates on this issue in the coming days and weeks.