Politics

Rona Ambrose calls on Trudeau to 'park' electoral reform

The interim leader of the Conservative Party has two simple words for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when it comes to electoral reform: park it.

Interim Conservative Party leader says Liberals have made 'mockery' of electoral reform portfolio

Holding a copy of the Report of the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform, Conservative Interim Leader Rona Ambrose talks to reporters outside the House of Commons after Question Period on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, December 1, 2016. (Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

The interim leader of the Conservative Party has two simple words for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when it comes to electoral reform: park it.

"He's made an absolute mess of this file. It's so chaotic, disorganized, and now we have a situation with this website. It's been mocked. It's a joke," Rona Ambrose told CBC radio's The House in a year-ender interview.

"I actually think they need to park this. They need to park it and set this issue aside and start to focus on other issues like job creation and the fact that we have high unemployment."

The website she was referring to is the mydemocracy.ca survey set up by the government to ask Canadians about their values, preferences and priorities for a political system.

Since launching Monday, the survey has been criticized for potentially invading people's privacy and its methodology.

"I've seen Cosmopolitan quizzes that were better designed than MyDemocracy's attempt at segmentation," public opinion poll firm Insight West's Mario Canseco tweeted.

Previously the Conservative Party had demanded a referendum before the government made any changes to the voting system, something the majority report from the all-party committee studying electoral reform echoed.

It proposed that the current system be pitted against a proportional representation option. (Though the New Democrats and Greens suggested a referendum might not be necessary.)

"But the government still rejects it," Ambrose told host Chris Hall. "He's made a mockery of this, he hasn't just made a mess of it. He's made a mockery of it."

Liberals sticking with promise

Despite Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef having to apologize for accusing members of the electoral committee of shirking their duties and the controversies trailing the mydemocracy.ca survey launch, Trudeau is sticking with his promise to change the way Canadians vote.

"I have said many times that 2015 will be the last election held under first past the post," he said in the House of Commons Wednesday.

Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef holds up a printout of the Gallagher Index, a mathematical formula for assessing the representative quality of electoral systems. She mocked the electoral reform committee's use of the index in its report. (The Canadian Press/Fred Chartrand)

"Justin Trudeau is the one who said our democracy is somehow broken and it's been a year, and he still hasn't explained to us how it's broken or how he wants to fix it," said Ambrose. " All of us have gone along. We've worked hard, we have good ideas and still."

The outgoing head of Elections Canada  has repeatedly reminded the government that they're under a time crunch.

Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand, who officially steps down Dec. 28, has said new legislation enacting reform would need to be in place at least 24 months ahead of the next election and that his office would need an additional six months to put together an official referendum.

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