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Monsef takes her toys and goes home

Someone (not sure who) used the term “tossed under the bus,” to describe how Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef has treated her own committee looking at electoral reforms.

They were being kind. Even though she later apologizes for some of her comments, Monsef was simply disrespectful of the committee, its work, and, even more importantly, the thousands of Canadians who took time out of their busy schedules to present to the committee.

Monsef and her boss, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have been acting like spoiled kids who are “taking their toys and going home.”

The committee had the audacity to listen to Canadians and recommend changing our electoral system to some sort of proportional representation system, which isn’t the preferred method of Trudeau, so, let’s throw the committee under the bus and do what we were going to do anyway.

Trudeau famously promised during the 2015 election that is would be the last time Canadians used the first-past-the-post system. He, of course, favours a ranked ballot system which, of course, favours the Liberals because they are likely to be most people’s number two choice. He touted the system when he was in Prince George campaigning to become Liberal leader a couple of years back.

The committee didn’t agree, so let’s dismiss it.

Let’s not forget that the committee had to basically bully the Liberals into making it proportional. The Liberals had originally wanted the electoral reform committee to reflect the House of Commons … in other words, have a Liberal majority. There is little doubt, at least to me, that a Liberal-dominated electoral reform committee would have delivered a recommendation other than a ranked ballot system.

It makes me wonder whether the fix was in from the beginning. I wonder whether this was the game plan all along … wait for the committee and if it didn’t deliver what the Liberals wanted, ignore it.

That is crass politics. Never mind the thousands of dollars now wasted on the committee, but to subject Canadians to such a waste of time is disrespectful, wasteful, and belittling. It’s reprehensible.

And now Monsef thinks an obviously biased online survey is a better way to gather input than actually meeting with constituents face-to-face.

She must think we’re all fools. And, by allowing her to do it, Trudeau is complicit.

Here in B.C. we did it right a few years ago, even if the result wasn’t accepted. We formed a Citizen’s Assembly, no politicians involved, to look at electoral reform. Let them do their thing. That’s a far better way than leaving foxes in charge of how to fence off the henhouse.

I don’t mind Trudeau’s favoured ranked balloting system. It makes getting elected a little tougher and candidates have to appeal to voters other than their core base to get elected.

However, ranked balloting does nothing to change the power base in Ottawa. Ranked balloting will deliver Liberal and/or Conservative governments with the occasional minority, just like we’ve been doing for 150 years. And that’s where the problems lie.

We don’t have a problem electing people, we have a problem holding them to account once their elected. A majority government is a four-year dictatorship. That’s what needs to change.

Proportional representation isn’t the end-all, be-all either, but it makes it tougher to achieve a majority and it will create diversity in the House of Commons.

And here’s my wacky idea: Why not combine the two. Use a ranked balloting system and a proportional representation system.   

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