Opinion

Revenge of the comment section: So much for electoral reform

The Liberals have broken their promise for electoral reform, and many Canadians aren't happy.

The Liberals have broken their promise for electoral reform, and many Canadians aren't happy

This week, the Liberals announced its promise of electoral reform was dead. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Justin Trudeau's promise of electoral reform is dead.

Back in 2015, the Liberals said unequivocally that that federal election would be the last one under first-past-the-post. They repeated that pledge over and over — as recently as late last year. But then on Wednesday, Canada's new democratic institutions minister made it clear that changing Canada's electoral system is not in her mandate

The Liberals are now flailing to explain their about-face to angry voters, some of whom have launched targeted email campaigns to voice their concerns. Many CBC commenters are similarly upset about the Liberals' broken promise, while others think they never intended to honour it in the first place. 

It's over

The honeymoon is over for Trudeau and the Liberals. Since coming to power, they have given the Canadian people lies, deceit and deception. Disgraceful.

- Larry Lippard

Who's calling the shots?

Each party favours the kind of reform (or no reform) that would best suit its prospects for increased power. For the Tories: that's no change—their only hope; Liberals: preferential second ballot—seeing as they would be most people's second choice; NDP and Greens: proportional—for influence based on national, not local, voting.

What would a national referendum do for this? Not much clarity to be had there. It was a rash promise from Trudeau, if not a disingenuous one, to say there would be change. But calling someone a liar for changing their position in the face of such a reality is just as juvenile as the promise itself.

Peter Stephenson

​Interesting timing

Notice how the Liberals waited until after Trudeau's listening tour to make this announcement? How convenient.

- Ken Adams

Potential parliamentary paralysis

I'm not an advocate for first-past-the-post, but I am concerned about the commenters who seem to think that proportional representation is the panacea and road to the only true for of democracy. A new voting system would change the voting patterns of the electorate. 

Proportional representation disproportionately empowers the minority parties on the edges of the spectra. The outcome could be a more severe polarisation of our parliament. We could also see parliamentary paralysis: a highly fragmented spread of parties with limited consensus, multiple and ever-changing backroom alliances, frequent elections and neutered leadership.

First-past-the-post is probably the least worst option.

Ian Anderson

Conservative-lite

The Liberals got what they wanted. They stole the promise and the votes from the NDP, then pretended that Canadians didn't want electoral reform. What do we have? The status quo, phony majorities at 39 per cent of the popular vote, which obviously is just fine by them, just like it's fine by the Conservatives.  Well, thanks a lot, Conservative-lite.

- Ed Toogood

Trusting Trudeau's word

Back in 2015, before he was prime minister, Trudeau said his plan "was the result of years of hard work and thousands of conversations with experts, members of other governments who have led the way, and most importantly, everyday Canadians."

The Liberals made it quite clear then that our democracy was broken, yet now they say these same Canadians don't care. Trudeau also said, "Canadians are beyond taking their elected representatives at their word when it comes to integrity. " Oh really Trudeau? Well, let's just wait and see!

Jim McIntyre

Here for the pot

It doesn't matter how many people are cheesed off and say they'll never vote for this guy again. Come 2019, just before the election, Trudeau will announce weed is legal and all of this will be forgotten, and he'll be re-elected.

- Ralph Jacobs

Message from rural Ontario

I live in rural Ontario, and we are farmers. We have a small voice, and our concerns are much different from those of the majority of Canadians that live in urban centers. We were hoping that electoral reform would mean that we would be not only heard, but also represented. Apparently, that isn't going to happen.

Lauren Sikkema

It's about the promise, not the reform

I didn't care too much about electoral reform myself. However, when a political leader campaigns on a major issue like this and then backs out, it is entirely damaging to their credibility. And Prime Minister Trudeau had a pretty thin veneer of credibility to begin with.

John Chow

No support, no reform

I get that there is political hay to be made here, but I, for one, am quite OK with the idea that if a consensus could not be found for a new system, we stick with the old system. Electoral reform, just like electoral boundaries, should be done with the support of a broad majority. That support did not form around any one particular alternative so the status quo remains.

Joe Renaud

It works just fine

If it isn't broke, don't try to fix it. We have had a working and fair election system for over 100 years. It works! If some don't like it: too bad. 

Doug Race

A recipe for winning

I'm quite happy with the system the way it is. I see no need to make changes. Proportional representation has been tried and failed elsewhere. It usually results in frequent arguments, and frequent elections. No thanks.

If fringe parties want to get more of a voice in parliament they need to:

  1. Be more popular among more people.

  2. Run candidates who are not just party faithfuls, but also electable.

  3. Dial back the anger and the fringe rambling. It gets tedious.

Dieter Holland

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