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Justin Trudeau officially breaks promise to reform Canada’s electoral system

Prime Minister Trudeau instructed his newly appointed democratic institutions minister that "changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate."

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Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is breaking its promise to reform Canada’s electoral system.

In a revised mandate letter made public Wednesday, Prime Minister Trudeau instructs newly appointed Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould that “changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate.”

electoralreform-mandateletter.png

Trudeau’s revised mandate letter represents a major reversal from what the Liberals said during the 2015 election.

The Liberal party platform, for example, vowed that “2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system” and promised to “introduce legislation to enact electoral reform” within “18 months of forming government.”

Not only did Trudeau promise electoral reform during the election – he repeatedly doubled-down on that promise after the election too:

Although Trudeau’s mandate letter claims no consensus emerged from the Liberal government’s consultation process, over two-thirds of participants at town halls held across Canada advocated for proportional representation.

Not only did ridings with Conservative MPs say they wanted electoral reform, it also includes a majority of Trudeau’s own constituents in his home riding in Papineau too. 

“In general, most were favourable to the idea of a proportional and mixed-proportional voting system,” concluded a report from Trudeau’s office on the event hosted by Trudeau himself.

Even Karina Gould, Trudeau’s democratic reform minister, was advocating reform as recently as last September.

Speaking to a community TV station in her riding, Gould not only said Canada’s outdated first-past-the-post electoral system isn’t a good system because it produces false majorities – she suggested her own government is a false majority too:

“The first-past-the-post system that we have is pretty good at producing majority governments but it’s often considered to be a false majority because our government and the previous Conservative government didn’t really go above 39%, 42% of the vote yet would have much more than 50% of the seats in the house.”

Trudeau’s letter also cites data from “360,000 individuals” who filled-out the government’s “MyDemocracy.ca” quiz.

In fact, according to Trudeau’s own data, well over one-third of those “individuals” he’s referring to were anonymous Internet users who were supposed to be screened out of the final results.

The Government of Canada’s MyDemocracy.ca was widely ridiculed, viewed as unreliable and believed to be an attempt to sabotage electoral reform. It was modelled after “online personality quizzes” that “command little if any credibility,” according to the company that designed the quiz.

Trudeau himself referred to the quiz as a “fun little questionnaire.”

Photo illustration: PressProgress.

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