Brandishing a copy of the NDP’s petition calling for a fair, proportional voting system that Tuesday became the most heavily subscribed electronic petition in parliamentary history, NDP democratic reform critics yesterday introduced a motion demanding that Liberals apologize for backing away from promises to reform the federal voting system.
“The government clearly misled Canadians on its platform and Throne Speech commitments that ‘2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system,’ and we are calling on the prime minister and his MPs to apologize to Canadians for this blatant betrayal,” critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) said in seconding the motion by deputy critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie).
Cullen said Justin Trudeau’s about face via his newly-minted minister last week guts Trudeau’s “black and white” pledges for democratic reform and doing politics differently, destroys the trust Canadians have in Liberals today and profoundly impacts the face value of any future promises made by the government.
“Yesterday in the House the prime minister repeated promises to protect the retirement of Canadians and to reform the Canada Pension Plan; he said these commitments are on the party’s website,” Cullen said. “People just laughed … because promises to reform how Canadians vote were also on the website – and they still are.”
Cullen added another cost of broken Liberal promises for democratic reform is the collateral damage of heightened cynicism around democracy in general.
“Justin Trudeau was elected on a promise to alleviate cynicism in democracy but he has made the problem so much worse with his incredibly cynical move to do the exact opposite of what he’s been telling Canadians for almost two years.”
The NDP’s Opposition Day motion will be debated in the House this week.
The NDP’s petition (http://www.ndp.ca/keep-fighting-fair-voting) calling for proportional representation has topped 80,000 signatures and another 500 Canadians sign each hour. Proportional representation seeks to approximately match seat counts in the House to popular vote percentages.