Letter: Cutting through the spin on electoral reform

A yes vote by Mr. Fuhr would have done nothing to support electoral reform by the next election

Letter to the editor.

To the editor:

Terry Robinson, Kelowna Team Leader of Fair Vote Canada recently published a letter to the editor rebuking Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr’s No vote on an NDP concurrence motion that calls for among other things a national referendum on electoral reform.

Outlining the specifics would require us to dive into the details of what a concurrence motion is (see, House of Commons Procedure and Practice), what the timelines are of a national referendum and subsequent legislative process (significantly greater than 2 years), what the cost would be (300M+), crafting of the question (see The Clarity Act for a proxy), what the threshold required is (clear majority, likely 2/3), and finally why the conservatives would support the motion (yet not support electoral reform).

A yes vote by Mr. Fuhr would have done nothing to support electoral reform by the next election as suggested by Mr. Robinson. And given that the Liberal government has taken electoral reform off the table a yes vote would naturally impede his ability to advocate for other important causes on behalf of his constituents.

Why did the Liberal Government decide to not pursue electoral reform? The parliamentary committee (ERRE), web engagement (mydemocracy.ca) and an exhaustive series of town hall meetings clearly showed that most Canadians were satisfied with their current system. The fact is that 99 per cent of Canadians chose to not engage the process, and of the one per cent who did take the time to answer the online survey, two-thirds indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with our current first past the post system. It is natural to think with that profound lack of engagement and overall satisfaction that more pressing issues such as the economy, Canada-US relationship, housing crisis and the opioid crisis would now dominate the governments agenda.

Ultimately Mr. Fuhr did what he said he would do, which is advocate for electoral reform on behalf of his constituents.

Remember a campaign promise gives a government a mandate to pursue, but not enact a particular electoral system. This type of legislation is unique with inherent bias and far too important to rush.

Jason Broome, Kelowna