Voter Reform In Canada – Why?
Canada uses the “first past the post” (FPTP) system of determining the winner of a Federal election. In otherwords, the largest popluar vote does not carry the election.
“In every riding, the candidate that wins the highest number of votes wins the right to represent that particular seat in the House of Commons.”
“The winner does not need an absolute majority — i.e., more than 50 per cent of the votes cast in the riding”
“It means many candidates win their seats with less than 50 per cent of the votes.”
“It also means two people running in different ridings can each earn the same percentage of the vote but one may win while the other does not” — CBC (12)
In the last Canadian Federal Election, the Liberal Party of Canada stated flatly that:
“We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system”. (13)
Very recently, the Liberal Party of Canada did a sudden about-face on this issue and indicated that electoral reform was off the table. Three reasons were given, but we will focus on “Reason Three” here.
“That moving to a system of proportional representation could have made it easier for “extremist” parties to win seats in the House of Commons.” — CBC 14
Say what you wish about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but he is neither stupid nor short-sighted. As evidenced by some of his pre-candidacy publicity actions (15), he routinely plays the long-game, boistered by the almost automatic dismissal most of his political rivals have about his upbringing and appearance.
He is smart, calculating and has grown up walking the Canadian halls of power. The pallbearers for his father included Cuban President Fidel Castro, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the Aga Khan, as well as Leonard Cohen. Think about that list and what it means for PM J.Trudeau’s political and social upbringing, as well as understanding.
Backing away from electoral reform has cost PM J.Trudeau a tremendous amount of political capital and has resulted in all three Opposition parties in the House of Commons crying foul. Several groups have made accusations of betrayal of the public trust. He had to know this was coming. He had to understand what kind of hay the national media would make of this.
So why do it?
In short, current affairs in the United States.