The Liberals’ electoral reform plan biases the party, at the expense of democracy

“We deserve broad, representative politics, a stable government and an opportunity to shape our democracy,” said Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef this week, when she announced the government’s all-party committee on electoral reform. The committee is charged with finding an alternative to the first-past-the-post electoral system, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to scrap during the last federal election campaign.

One wee problem: the committee fails to live up to its own illustrious standards. It is neither broad, nor representative, nor do its members have much opportunity to shape democracy, unless they happen to be one of the six Liberals who form its majority. Of the four remaining committee seats, the Conservatives have been allocated three, the New Democrats one. The Green Party and the Bloc Québécois can each send one representative, but curiously for a committee dedicated to expanding voter representation, they will have no voting rights.

This prompted Green Party Leader Elizabeth May to opine, “Obviously I am pleased to be a member, but I am disappointed not to have voting rights. I will be mulling over what rights I can have in my role.” Answer: none, beyond the right to talk without anyone having to listen. On top of this, the committee chair will be a Liberal, which means that the procedure and tenor of the committee’s hearings will be firmly in the government’s control.

Read the full article in the National Post.

Leave a Reply