A group of local protesters braved the cold temperatures Tuesday to hold Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “feet to the fire” in his commitment to bring electoral reform to Canada.
The protesters were joining a country-wide National Day of Action initiative organized by Leadnow Canada, labeled as “Make Every Vote Count.”
The protest was sparked by an electoral reform survey (Canada.ca) released by the Liberals which has drawn scorn and ridicule from opposition party MPs and their constituents.
Wayne Broughton called the survey not well designed and leaving the impression at least for him that the Liberals want to maintain the election status quo.
“We are not too happy with what was designed and released to the public,” Broughton said.
“We expected more, for the Liberals to listen to the recommendations of the electoral reform committee (which recommended proportional representation as a new electoral model to be voted on through a national referendum) and to move forward with it rather than what appears to be trying to resist it.”
The all-party parliamentary electoral reform committee spent a period of eight months studying the issue extensively, which included consultations and town hall hosted by MPs from all the parties.
The town hall forum hosted by local Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr was attended by about 150 people.
Broughton acknowledges that educating the public to the intricacies of the various options, from the current first past the post to either rank ballots or proportional representation, offer complicated comparisons.
“I think the government can do more to help educate the public about the different options but governments also make their own decisions, and to change the electoral system is one that should be made by Parliament in a vote,” Broughton said.
Fuhr, the Liberal MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, said the Liberals remain committed to electoral reform, and are doing some “hard trudging” forward on what is a very divisive issue among Canadians.
Fuhr said the expectation is a recommendation for electoral reform will come before the federal cabinet by the spring of next year and be voted on in Parliament, as the Liberals are not supportive of a referendum.
Fuhr feels criticism of the electoral reform survey is largely politically motivated, as it remains one of many information gathering tools being used to come up with a final recommendation.
“We campaigned on this issue and we’re doing the best we can to move forward on it. I’ve gained a new appreciation for what a complex issue electoral reform is since I became MP,” said Fuhr, noting his position he campaigned on an still advocates for is a solution with some element of proportional representation.