Monday, February 06, 2017

Electoral reform and Trudeau’s shameful flight: The fight continues

The next election in 2019 will be very different from the last one. The Trudeau Liberals took just over one year to walk away from their core campaign promise to not have another election using the FPTP system, and in so doing earned the distrust of hundreds of thousands of voters who had voted for change, and honesty in government.

But the fight continues, and the Liberals have lost the trust of many newcomers to voting:

Katelynn Northam, of the electoral advocacy group Leadnow, questioned what Trudeau's U-turn means for other promises made by the prime minister.

"If Trudeau is willing to betray voters on his signature election promise, what does that mean for his other commitments?" Northam said in a statement.

Northam also suggested the current political climate warrants a voting system shakeup — now more than ever.

"A Trump-style candidate could never win over a majority of Canadian voters — but in our broken first-past-the-post system, a hateful candidate could win with as little as 35 per cent of the vote."

Fight not over

Lavergne said young people "appear to be particularly outraged" by the government's electoral reform backtrack. 

And while the Liberal government has ended its plan to make the 2015 election the last using a first-past-the-post system, electoral reform groups say they will continue to push for change.

"The fight for proportional representation isn't over. A majority of Canadians do want electoral reform, and we'll keep fighting until we win," Northam wrote.

Fair Vote Canada organized a protest outside Trudeau's Montreal constituency office Thursday evening. Other demonstrations are planned for Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. 

We can expect opinion polls in the coming days to show just how much damage the Liberal Party has suffered due to the walkaway. It is possible that the party will have a new leader come 2019, but even that might not be enough to repair the damage. More than 3 dozen seats were won by the LPC with less than 5% of the vote in the last election. That is a razor thin margin of safety.

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