The Current

Liberals need to stick to their promise of electoral reform: NDP's Nathan Cullen

Vice-chair of the committee charged with looking into federal voting practices says reforms are needed to make the system more representative.
NDP's Nathan Cullen believes the government should introduce a new electoral system for the next one or two elections on a trial basis. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise that the 2015 election would be the last to use the current first-past-the-post voting system. He has since tasked a committee to look at how to best implement a new system, but it is still unclear what that reform might look like, and when should it happen.

The vice-chair of the special committee on electoral reform, Nathan Cullen, argues action by the government on voter reform is critical. Underlying all other policy decisions, Cullen thinks moving away from our current voting system "is one of the biggest issues" facing the current government.

I believe in voter equality. Every vote cast in the country, regardless of who you vote for and where you vote, should matter. Say about 18 million people voted in our last election? More than half of those votes went towards electing nobody.- Nathen  Cullen speaking with The Current 's  Piya Chattopadhyay

Yet, veteran political journalist Susan Delacourt  says electoral reform is not something to rush into.   

Delacourt points out that both the NDP and Conservatives are leaderless, making the likelihood of transitioning to a new electoral system far more difficult.

The arguments that we need a new electoral system are quite compelling. The problem is the timing.- Susan Delacourt
The special committee on electoral reform has been meeting with experts to determine how and whether they should change the way Canadians cast their federal election ballots. (Peter Power/Canadian Press)

On The Current, both Cullen and Delacourt offer alternatives to the existing first-past-the-post system, and lay out the possibilities for going forward with this potentially historical change.

Parliament has been discussing this for over one hundred years. I'm very glad we have this commitment to finally get it done and evolve Canada's voting system into this century.- Nathan Cullen

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this webpost.

This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese, Jacqueline MacKay, and John Chipman