PEI

Proportional representation group says premier trying to sabotage democratic reform

A group lobbying for proportional representation is calling out P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan for trying to sway public opinion on democratic reform.

'I just feel we're sunk again'

Premier Wade MacLauchlan said in his 2015 year-end Compass appearance that he didn't believe in proportional representation. (CBC)

A group lobbying for proportional representation is calling out P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan for trying to sway public opinion on democratic reform.

To say minority governments don't work, it's disingenuous, really.- Marie Burge , the Cooper Institute

Most members of the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation were shocked and disappointed at MacLauchlan when he said, "I'm not a believer in proportional representation," during his 2015 year-end interview with CBC News Compass.

"I think it would give us minority governments in perpetuity," he said during the interview. "We've never had one in Prince Edward Island and we have an active and an effective democracy in Prince Edward Island … We shouldn't be trying to upset the apple cart."

Many in PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation say Maclauchlan was trying to sabotage the process set to happen later this year when the province will decide if it wants a new electoral system.

That's what happened the last time P.E.I. voted on democratic reform in 2005, they say.

"I just felt we're sunk again," said Marie Burge of the Cooper Institute, a member of the coalition.

Marie Burge, who is with the Cooper Insitute, a member of the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation, says the two main political parties sabotaged the 2005 vote on democratic reform. (CBC)
"Because that's all it took the last time is for the leaders of the two parties major parties to just come out and say, 'This is impossible. The people can't understand it. It won't work.'"

The coalition says it's going to continue to fight against that happening this time around.

Members say more education is needed, especially when it comes to the fear of minority governments.

"To dare to say after the experience across the world of minority governments really making good policy, to say minority governments don't work, it's disingenuous, really," said Burge.

The group will now decide if it will make a formal response to the premier's office about his comments.

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