Published Jan 19, 2017A number of Canadian artists and activists are calling on Justin Trudeau's government to make good on the Liberals' promise to implement electoral reform before the country heads to the ballot box in 2019.
Karina Gould was appointed as the minister of democratic institutions at the beginning of this year, and now prominent Canadians have signed off on a statement [via Every Voter Counts], urging the federal government to put an end to First Past the Post.
Musicians like Neil Young, Sarah Harmer, Raffi Cavoukian and Chilliwack's Bill Henderson added their signatures to the letter, as did other members of the arts and media communities like painter Robert Bateman, humourist Arthur Black, former NHLer Georges Laraque, Quebecois entertainer Jici Lauzon, actor R.H. Thomson, and famous environmental activist and broadcaster David Suzuki.
Read the letter in its entirety below, and head here to see the full list of Canadians that have attached their signatures.
In the 2015 Canadian election, the Liberal Party platform called for 2015 to be the last election held under First Past the Post. True to their word, the December 2015 Speech from the Throne committed that in this session of Parliament, in order to ensure that every vote counts, 2015 would be the last election held under the outdated majoritarian voting system, known as First Past the Post.
Following the commitment in the platform, the former minister for Democratic Institutions, the Hon. Maryam Monsef, put forward a proposal to the House of Commons to strike a Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform. Her innovative proposal brought all Parliamentary parties into an intensive process to review the research and political science literature, hear from experts from Canada and around the world, as well as engaged citizens in every province and territory of Canada. The report on the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform was tabled on December 1, 2016.
The committee report represents a substantive and substantial contribution to the many studies conducted in Canada since the first occasion when a parliamentary committee considered electoral reform in 1921. Since that time, studies in many provinces, as well as reviews federally, have all concluded that Canadian democracy would be enhanced by a move to a voting system that ensured the way Canadians vote is reflected in the composition of our parliament.
The parliamentary committee recommendation is for a voting system that maintains the link between Canadian citizens and a locally representative MP while eliminating the risks posed by majoritarian systems (such as First past the Post and Ranked Ballots under FPTP) of severe electoral distortions of the will of the voters.
We congratulate the newly appointed minister, the Hon Karina Gould, and urge her to move to implement the key recommendation of the parliamentary committee and move to a system of proportional representation for the next federal election.
In December, Parliament received a recommendation to hold a referendum on the matter, though the subsequent online consultation was hardly a resounding success. Gould has yet to outline the government's plans to implement changes in the election process.