Davenport Friends and Neighbours –
A number of residents in Davenport have asked me to support the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) Report that came to a vote in the House this afternoon. I want to offer important context that informed my decision to vote with the government.
Minister Karina Gould`s mandate letter did not include changing our electoral system during our current mandate (i.e. between now and fall 2019). Consequently, the government does not support the recommendations of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform which would have the government move forward with steps to change our electoral system.
I decided to vote with the government for the following reasons:
1. Changing our electoral system requires time; four years would not provide enough time to do this right.
• We need time to build a national understanding of the electoral changes being proposed and further, a clear plan to create a consensus around a new system.
• International examples of successful electoral reform processes show us that time is required. For example, electoral reform in New Zealand took approximately 8 years from beginning to end.
2. The ERRE report included a recommendation for a referendum.
• Referendums on electoral reform (provincial) have not been successful in Canada.
• I believe that we do not have the conditions for a successful outcome if we were to hold a referendum now.
• A failed referendum would effectively shut down the conversation around electoral reform for some time.
3. The federal government is moving forward on important changes to improve our electoral system and our democracy.
• The federal government has introduced legislation (Bill C-33) that will make it easier for people to vote; give more powers and resources to the Chief Electoral System to educate voters and youth; among many other changes.
• The Minister of Democratic Institutions is also looking into how to better regulate financial contributions to politicians and how to best protect our democracy against cyber-security threats. So we are taking action and we are making improvements.
Recently, a Davenport resident reminded me that I apologised for the broken promise by our government on electoral reform. I have listened to Davenport residents’ perspectives and weighed this against the importance of making lasting changes to strengthen our democratic process.
This does not mean that the conversation has ended. As I have stated, I encourage any dialogue that will improve our democracy and electoral system. As long as this remains an important issue to the residents of Davenport, I will continue to voice its importance at the national level.