A Referendum on Electoral Reform
July 19, 2016
Instead of doing the right thing by giving Canadians a chance to vote in a referendum, the federal Liberals released a 38-page booklet for Canadians to organize their own electoral reform discussions. Even if Canadians do wish to organize events like this, the Liberal Government has no obligation to legislate what is laid out in the responses.
A recent poll by Forum Research says 65% of Canadians agree that a national referendum must occur before any changes are made to the way we elect our MPs. Just 18% said that giving Canadians a vote on the matter is not necessary and the remaining 17% had no opinion. Yet Prime Minister Trudeau and his Liberal Government continue to come up with new ways to avoid letting Canadians vote on this important question.
If the Liberals truly believe that Canadians will support their plan, why are they dragging their heels on calling a referendum? To be fair, the Democratic Institutions Minister, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, hasn’t ruled out a referendum, but she has expressed that she doesn’t feel a national vote is needed.
However, precedence shows that referendums are expected by Canadians when it comes to electoral reform. Prince Edward Island (2005), Ontario (2007), and British Columbia (2005 and 2009) all held provincial referendums on whether to get rid of the first-past-the-post system. Our best examples of voting system consultations in Canada all concluded with a referendum. That’s the standard of behaviour that Canadians now expect. These provincial governments knew that this was not their decision, but the decision of voters.
Maybe it’s time the Liberals let the majority of Canadians decide what they want – a referendum.