Government Introduces Plans to Reform the Electoral System #cdnpoli

The Liberal government introduced a motion to create a special committee that will examine the options for electoral reform and will report back to Parliament on December 1st.

The committee would consist of 10 voting members: six Liberals, three Conservatives and one New Democrat. One Bloc Québécois MP and Green MP Elizabeth May would be members of the committee, but not allowed to vote.

The committee would be asked to “identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems to replace the first-past-the-post system, as well as to examine mandatory voting and online voting.”

Options would be judged on the basis of five principles:

1. Effectiveness and legitimacy

2. Engagement

3. Accessibility and inclusiveness

4. Integrity

5. Local representation

The committee would invite every MP to conduct a forum on electoral reform in his or her riding and file a report on the discussion by Oct. 1. And the committee itself would conduct a “national engagement process,” including written and online submissions.

The New Democratic Party has criticized the process. They say an electoral system that creates “false majorities” is now reflected in the false majority in the make-up of the committee considering alternatives to first-past-the-post. They have suggested the committee should proportionally reflect the national popular vote in last year’s election: a 12-member committee including five Liberals, three Conservatives, two New Democrats, one Bloc MP and one Green MP.

The Conservative Party is insisting that the question be put to a national referendum before any new system of voting be adopted.

The Liberal Party campaigned in the last federal election that 2015 would be the last election using the first-past-the-post system.

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