Trudeau sticks to electoral reform promise on eve of all-party report
After months of cross-country meetings, an opposition-dominated committee on Thursday is set to table their recommendations on reshaping Canadian elections.
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OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stuck to his pledge to overhaul Canada’s electoral system the day before an all-party report is expected to recommend putting the decision to the public in a national referendum.
Speaking in the House of Commons Wednesday, Trudeau reiterated his election promise that the 2015 election would be Canada’s last under the first-past-the-post system.
“That’s why we’re working with parties across this house, and Canadians across the country, to figure out how to best improve our electoral system,” Trudeau said.
“There’s a broad range of opinions out there, and I very much look forward to the report (from) the committee tomorrow, and to the consultation we launched directly with Canadians to weigh in on the values that they have.”
After months of cross-country meetings and town halls, an opposition-dominated committee on Thursday is set to table their recommendations on reshaping Canadian elections.
The report will offer guidance to Trudeau’s cabinet on how to replace first-past-the-post, a system that critics argue distorts the popular will of Canadians and allows parties to form majority governments without a majority of votes.
While the recommendations of the committee remain secret, a report from CTV News last week indicated they will recommend putting the issue directly to Canadians through a national referendum.
Scott Reid, the ranking Conservative MP on the committee, declined to confirm that Wednesday. But he noted that the Conservatives — who have demanded a referendum from the start — have not dissented from the committee’s recommendations.
“I think we’ll be generally happy with the recommendations,” he said.
New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, who recommended the model for the committee, said the study was the most “comprehensive” he’s seen since coming to Ottawa in 2004.
“I watched all parties make concessions and try to find common ground when available,” Cullen said.
“It’s not everything everyone wanted, but that’s always the case when you have more than two people in a room, right? So I feel proud of the work we did. (The NDP) had to move on some things, but I told that to caucus from the get-go.”
Green Leader Elizabeth May also refused to discuss the committee’s findings, except to say that it’s a “report every Canadian should read.”
A call to Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia, the chair of the committee, was not returned Wednesday.
Whatever the recommendations of the report, the Liberal government is not expected to pronounce on a new system Thursday. A source close to the file says Minister Maryam Monsef said she’ll take the time to read the report but noted it was just one in a series of inputs the government is considering to make a final decision.
The Liberals are also launching a national mail survey, which Trudeau confirmed would begin landing in Canadians’ mailboxes next week. The government is also expected to launch a month-long online survey next month.