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Referendum not needed to validate Electoral Reform -election did that.

I’ve heard and see a few mutterings of concern from folks that the Liberals are actually going to follow through on their campaign promise (re-affirmed in the Throne Speech) that this election will be the last ever election Canadians use “First-Past-The-Post” in.  Some are even suggesting that for this change to occur/be legitimate, a national referendum is needed.

I disagree – the Liberals ran this rather openly as one of their key platform campaign planks in the recent election. People were well aware of it when they were choosing to vote for. The Liberals were elected – so they have a mandate from the people to enact this change. A further referendum is unnecessary; there will be plenty of consultations and public hearings I am sure for the public and policyholders to pass along their opinions on why certain reforms are better then others.

In my opinion, we do not need a referendum on this issue, because I don’t believe in using referendums to make decisions on public policy (that was a key Reform Party plan many years ago).  If we have a referendum on electoral reform,  why not on every piece of legislation such as the right-to-die legislation we have to craft? Or on legalizing cannabis (both potentially way more polarizing then changing the voting system).  

If we had let referendums dictate our public choices many years ago, a lot of public policy that was ahead of its time would have taken many more years to be enshrined in our way of life. The representatives of this country are elected by the public to make policy. If the voting reforms aren’t liked, they can vote for a party in the next election that offers something different or a return to the status quo of FPTP.



5 comments to Referendum not needed to validate Electoral Reform -election did that.

  • Ron Waller

    Liberals in BC and ON promised electoral reform; in it’s place they delivered designed-to-fail referendums (60% win threshold, etc.) to kill it off.

    Considering the Liberals became Canada’s natural governing party on FPTP, and Trudeau is banking on 40% fake majorities to build his legacy, the only question that remains is: how will the party get out of its promise to do something on ER?

    My bet is that Trudeau will use the “too divisive” angle. Claim there is no consensus on how to proceed. (Which there isn’t: half want PR, the other half want ranked ballots.) Of course, the only reason he won’t even make our existing system democratic by making MPs earn their seats with a majority of votes like partisans elect their leaders, is because he knows ranked ballots will cut into his power. (Watch and see.)

  • liamyoung2323

    Agreed 100%. The promise to STUDY reform was not what I voted for. I voted for REFORM.
    As Picard says: make it so.

  • Sharon Sommerville

    Hi Mark,

    Not specifying which system the LPC would move to doesn’t undermine the mandate for change. We voted for change, the leadership is undertaking a process to determine what that change will look like, that is the role of leadership, to lead on policy issues. A vote in the House of Commons will determine the legitimacy of the electoral reform policy brought forward by the LPC.

  • Sharon Sommerville

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for your comments on not needing a referendum to legitimize electoral reform. I totally agree. In addition to the 39.5% of the electorate that voted Liberal, if you voted for the Green Party, the Bloc or the NDP, which represents 68% of the POP, you voted for change. Those that are calling for a referendum know that a referendum would be at the very least, a chance to derail electoral reform but don’t reflect the majority view on the issue.

  • Mark Francis

    One, the LPC does not have a mandate to change the electoral system because they did not specify what system they would change it to.

    Two, consultations are clearly non-binding. A referendum would clear that up.

    Three, this is a rudimentary change to our democracy. This is not comparable to legalizing pot of right-to-die legislation.

    A referendum is clearly required.

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