Politics

Trudeau apologizes in House over misleading remarks on electoral reform delay

Claim of opposition delay on electoral reform was 'invented and patently false,' says Tory MP Scott Reid

Trudeau apologizes about electoral reform comments in HoC 3:04

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized to the House of Commons during question period for remarks he made to the media on Wednesday, alleging that the opposition was not co-operating on electoral reform.

In a press conference held to mark six months in power for the Liberals, Trudeau had been questioned about the delay in addressing electoral reform.

"We have put forward a number of different ways that we will be examining this question, one of them is a parliamentary committee, one of them is direct engagement by the minister and the other is a form of public consultation," he said. 

He added that the Liberals are in discussion with the other parties regarding how to set up the committee, and he suggested that the delays were due to a lack of co-operation from the Conservatives and NDP, who would not give consent without unreasonable preconditions.​

During question period on Thursday, Conservative MP Scott Reid argued that was not the case at all. He said the story Trudeau was telling of opposition delay was "invented and patently false."

Reid said that in the past six months he has only met twice with Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, briefly, and he added that the same was true for his NDP counterpart.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters in Ottawa Wednesday on the six-month anniversary of his cabinet's swearing-in. He apologized in the House today for suggesting the opposition was obstructing work on electoral reform. (CBC)

Trudeau apologized for his misleading remarks, and said, "Mr. Speaker, I apologize through you to the member of the House. We are engaged in many different processes and on the focus of electoral reform —  we know how important it is and how passionately members of this House feel about it, and I look forward to ensuring we get moving on this committee in short order."

Monsef also addressed the House, reminding members that her door is always open for discussion. She remained confident that the campaign promise would be upheld. 

"We will deliver on our commitment to modernize our electoral system," she told the House. 

According to Trudeau's remarks on Wednesday, the public consultation on electoral reform will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

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