By KERRY DIOTTE
The governing Liberals insist we must have a new system of voting for future federal elections. Here are 10 reasons why this is a very bad idea:
1 – There’s no groundswell in the Canadian public demanding a new voting system. While knocking on thousands of doors for the October 2015 election I cannot recall one person bringing up the issue.
2 – The Liberals have repeatedly ruled out sticking with our current system of first-past-the-post elections, a method that has served Canada well since Confederation.
3 – Despite pledges to do widespread consultations with the public before changing our system, there’s no plan to hold a national referendum on this historic change to our democracy.
4 – Critics rightfully point out that other systems of voting can favour the ruling Liberals. Under a so-called ranked ballot or proportional representation system, it’s predicted the Liberals would have increased their current seat count Oct. 19 from 184 to 224 in this current Parliament.
5 – The Liberals are already tipping their hand that they’re leaning to the ranked-ballot system. That comes amid news the Privy Council Office (that reports directly to the Prime Minister and minister in charge) recently hired Derek Alton, who founded a group that advocates the ranked ballot system.
6 – A ranked-ballot system would put Conservative voters at a disadvantage. Studies have shown NDP supporters would tend to pick Liberal candidates as their second pick while Liberal supporters would choose NDP reps for their second-string choice. Conservative voters frequently indicate they don’t wish to have a second choice of another candidate at all.
7 – Liberal Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef has actually claimed in the House of Commons that consultation on reform using Twitter and townhalls is more valid than holding a national referendum.
8 – Much has been made of the fact Liberals recently changed the makeup of a parliamentary committee tasked with coming up with a new voting system. Now opposition members from the Green Party, the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP will get a vote. But the truth is, the committee is little more than a paper tiger. The ruling Grits can still ignore its finding and choose any new voting system it desires. Such are the perks of winning a majority government.
9 – There are precedents for holding voting referendums in Canada. Through referenda, in British Columbia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island voters rejected changes to their systems.
10 – Recent opinion polls show that nearly three quarters of Canadians believe a national referendum should be held if there is to be a change in our way of voting.
If you believe there’s no reason to change our voting system or you think we must hold a national referendum before doing so, take action. Write to the Prime Minister at House of Commons, Ottawa, ON. K1A 0A6. There is no postage required to send that letter.