The Pollcast: Electoral reform, like math, is hard

The government's pledge to make 2015 the last election held under the first-past-the-post system is looking to be one of the hardest promises for the Liberals to keep. Host Éric Grenier is joined by Aaron Wherry and the Ottawa Citizen's Kady O'Malley to discuss the latest developments.

Host Éric Grenier is joined by Aaron Wherry and the Ottawa Citizen's Kady O'Malley

What's more complicated, this formula or implementing electoral reform? (The Canadian Press/Fred Chartrand)

The CBC Pollcast, hosted by CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier, explores the world of electoral politics, political polls and the trends they reveal.

Some of the government's most controversial files — pipelines, fighter jets, a new health accord with the provinces — could seem like child's play when compared to the minefield of electoral reform.

Justin Trudeau's campaign pledge to ensure the 2015 federal election was the last held under the first-past-the-post electoral system is looking like one of his most difficult promises to keep. Time is running out, the opposition is howling for a referendum on proportional representation and the government has yet to give any indication of what it plans to do.

Last week, the special committee on electoral reform put forward its recommendations after spending months hearing expert testimony and speaking directly with Canadians. The report recommended the government develop a proportional representation system and put it to Canadians in a referendum.

But the report was not without its contradictions, with a supplemental report from the Liberals on the committee suggesting that implementing a new electoral system before the 2019 federal election was unrealistic and casting doubt on the necessity of a referendum.

Further complicating matters, the New Democrats and Greens also included a supplemental report of their own questioning the necessity of a referendum.

Maryam Monsef, the minister for democratic institutions, then criticized the committee for not doing its job and falsely claimed the report recommended putting a mathematical formula on the referendum ballot. She subsequently apologized for the comments.

Now the government has launched an online survey to gauge Canadians' views on electoral reform. But the opposition has made a mockery of the survey's questions and raised privacy concerns.

So, what now?

Joining podcast host Éric Grenier again to discuss the ups and downs of the electoral reform file are the CBC's Aaron Wherry and Kady O'Malley of the Ottawa Citizen.

Listen to the full discussion above — or subscribe to the CBC Pollcast and listen to past episodes.

Follow Éric Grenier, Aaron Wherry and Kady O'Malley on Twitter.


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