PM Trudeau abandoned the electoral reform to select a new voting systm, breaking his long held, signature campaign promise. A biased, misleading online survey has failed to collect voters’ consensus on any single proposals, writes Bob Mok. For earlier articles on the topic, click http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/655625
自联邦自由党在大选中所承诺的选举改革始, 选举改革特别委员会的构成及其成员任命议程就引发了争议。之后，主管选举改革特别委员会的联邦民主建制部长(Maryam Monsef)被指违反移民法。最后，部长公开批评该委员会的报告，导致委员会成员此前所有的工作及公听会成果遭到质疑。
The electoral reform promised in the last election started with controversies involved in the formation of the Committee and the appointments of its members. Then the Federal Minister of the Democratic Institutions in charge of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (Maryam Monsef) was alleged to have broken immigration laws. Finally, the Minister's public disagreement with the committee's reports discredited all the work done by its members and the public hearings.
On Dec1, 2016 the committee majority report suggested that a referendum be held on some form of Proportional Representation without specifying any particular model. There were also joint supplementary reports from NDP and Green party members, as well as one from the Liberal Party members of the committee. The Committee did not produce the Liberal government's preferred “Ranked Balloting” system.
The Federal Government also did not want to hold a referendum. Instead, it created a $330,000 web site in December, 2016 for a survey and send out about 15 million invitations in the mail (costing $1.83 million) to every household in Canada which ultimately solicited a roughly 3 percent or 400,000 responses. The survey was criticized by many as biased and misleading. It also lacked the proper securities and verification to ensure that these were responses from adult Canadians only, and could not preclude multiple entries from the same person(s). The biggest flaw identified by many is that the survey fails to ask direct questions about specific voting systems.
The Federal Cabinet was shuffled in January, 2017 and the Federal Minister of the Democratic Institutions in charge of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (Monsef) was replaced by Karina Gould. She was given the formidable and unenviable task to provide the results of the survey to the Canadians.
The survey results are ambiguous. About two-thirds of Canadians are generally satisfied with the country’s democracy. They also think parties should make decisions collaboratively. Just how that can be accomplished under the current election system is not immediately clear to everyone. A majority government will always exercise its mandate and leave very little room for other parties to work together and interfere with their agenda. We can only surmise that people are wishing for a “minority” government because only then will the parties work together under the threat of another quick election.
May be the respondents were favouring the “Proportional Representation” system but they cannot convey that definitively through the survey. That system will almost certainly produce minority governments given the distribution of core supporters for each major and fringe parties within the voting population. Until such system is in place, the existing First-past-the-post voting system seems to be adequate.
The survey also reported that “Canadians are receptive to options to express their preferences with greater specificity, but not if the result is a ballot that is more difficult to interpret.” It would seem that the government wants us to agree that the “Rank Balloting” system is not an easy system for the average voter to understand and use. Surprisingly, this is Prime Minister Trudeau's preferred system at an earlier date.
The Liberals were surprised by their new-found majority in the last election and do not want to have a new electoral system after all. They are just trying to find the excuses and now blame it on the backs of a lack of public consensus.
On Feb 1, the Prime Minister issued a directive to Minister Gould indicating to her that “Changing the Electoral System will not be in your Mandate”. This effectively spelled the end to the electoral reform project to select a new voting system. Trudeau has reneged on his election promise!
The NDP, PQ, and Green Parties are the big losers. In the last election, many of their followers switched and voted for the Liberals and defeated the Conservative candidates in ridings where their own parties did not have a chance. They were hoping that the new voting system will put more of their members to Parliament through “Proportional Representation”. Trusting the Liberals, these fringe parties now reap the seeds they sowed. As for the Liberals, this further adds to their long lists of broken promises to the voters.
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