Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Is Justin Trudeau trying to win the big enchilada on his own?

Justin Trudeau's Big Enchilada?
This extract from The Vancouver Courier just about sums up the fate of electoral reform's future right now:

Political cooperation isn't a new concept, but University of B.C. political science professor Philip Resnick says it's worth noting that in both the NDP and Liberal leadership campaigns, it has been the B.C. candidate who has advanced the concept of political cooperation. 

"Nathan Cullen in the NDP contest, Joyce Murray in the Liberal one. Add Elizabeth May to the mix and you have three," he told me by email. 

"The idea would appeal to a lot of ordinary voters across the country, and given our current electoral system of first past the post, would greatly facilitate the defeat of Harper and the Conservatives. Folks in B.C. are more open to political experimentation - the B.C. Citizen's Forum on Electoral Reform, the referendum on the HST - which may explain Cullen's and Murray's stance. Having said this, I don't think the party apparati in either case is open to pre-electoral cooperation. Partisanship runs deep in both camps and each one dreams of winning the big enchilada on its own."

No kidding. Marc Garneau, considered to be Trudeau's main rival, rebuffed Murray's inter-party cooperation idea as "a fantasy." 

Trudeau is also not keen on the idea. "I understand that people want proportional representation, but too many people don't understand the polarization and the micro-issues that come through proportional representation," he said during the Halifax debate.

Is it me or did Trudeau make it sound as if Canadians are too stupid to understand the idea and that he won't promote electoral reform if he becomes leader.
 Makes you wonder if we'll ever see electoral reform.

What a missed opportunity for the younger Trudeau to do so something for Canada that equals his father's magnificent Charter of Rifhts & Freedoms!


  1. Thus your analogy would suggest that provincially the BCNDP should team up with the oh so corrupt LPoBC. Meanwhile the corrupt Liberal MLAs are leaving the sinking ship with visions of some of running federally for the Liberal Party of Canada. Ditto for their brethren in Ontario who thinks it's cool (like your BC cousins) to rip up collective agreements and impose contracts. That looks like what Harper has done federally. Cat I like you, but I am so having trouble of thinking which one is different?

  2. Why do I bother.March 06, 2013 7:27 pm

    Electoral reform is hardly limited to the option of proportional representation. I do NOT like the idea of parties ranking lists of candidates, I very much prefer that elected members of the house are to be held accountable to their electorate, rather than party brass creating lists behind closed doors. That simply guarantees robotlike obedience to the Party, with constituents taking a distant second place. Preferential ballots are imho far preferable. If you think that makes me an enemy of electoral reform, then so be it.

  3. We need meaningful electoral reform (Murray's idea of a Royal Commission to examine alternatives, presumably followed by a referendum on the chosen reform - I hope a modified proportional representation system - suits me fine and is democratic). Trudeau's turned his back on that and prefers a Liberal Party chosen preferential vote system. Not as democratic because it is one party foisting one system on the country.

    But to get the chance to hold the Royal Commission means we need to remove the Conservative government. The best chance to do that is pre-election ceasefire agreement between the NDP, Greens and LPC, ala Professor Beyers and the Cullen Plan. The rejection of that pre-election one-time cooperation by the other candidates for leadership smacks of hubris, given the indications in polls that most Liberals want the Tories removed as their highest priority.

    I can see a one-time ceasefire agreement with the objective being electoral reform via a Royal Commission followed by a referendum.

    That's our best chance for meaningful reform. The chances of a Liberal majority government in 2014 or 2015 are slim right now. More likely is a minority government. If it is a Tory one, that means they stay in power unless the NDP and LPC vote no-confidence and then enter into some agreement for a non-Tory minority government. That is unlikely to result in the Trudeau preferential vote system being implemented because that screws the Dippers. And if Trudeau really believes Canadians as so stupid that they will be confused by any form of PR, and so refuses to agree to even a Royal Commission, there goes any chance of electoral reform.

    If Trudeau really believes in engaging Canadians and in remedying our democratic deficits, he should agree to a Royal Commission followed by a referendum on the one or two or more systems the Commission decides (after nation wide public hearings, including evidence from the dozens of countries which use PR) should be presented to Canadians for a choice. I could even see FPTP being one of the alternatives presented to voters (perhaps in some form of preferential voting system to choose among the alternatives).

    This kind of idea is far more democratic than Trudeau deciding on his own on a system.


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