Making democracy work better

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The issue with our electoral system is about making democracy work better for Canadians. It’s about giving the people real representation in Parliament. Only in a
proportional representation system do Canadians see their votes reflected
accurately in Parliament. Justin Trudeau deserves credit for opening the door on electoral reform.

The issue with our electoral system is about making democracy work better for Canadians. It’s about giving the people real representation in Parliament. Only in a
proportional representation system do Canadians see their votes reflected
accurately in Parliament. Justin Trudeau deserves credit for opening the door on electoral reform.
In our current system, called first-past-the-post, a party getting, for example, 40% of the votes may get 60 % of the seats, or more. We had a Harper majority when the Conservatives only got 39% of the votes.
Recall that Justin Trudeau said in the election that it was the last election using the first-past-the-post system. During the past 6 months Liberal MPs were mandated to consult, survey, speak and listen to constituents about changing the system; a unique opportunity to listen to people, hear their ideas and in turn to educate them on the issues involved.
At the local level, our MP has flagrantly abdicated his responsibility on this
issue. The summer could have been used productively by way of many forums to educate and demonstrate the issues involved.
Meanwhile the former Conservative candidate, Mr. Woodman, repeats that he wants a referendum, never explaining what he wants in place. A referendum would cost many tens of millions of dollars to conduct, money better spent on real economic needs. Woodman is correct on one point; there is a danger that the Liberals would change the system to make their chances of forming government even better.
Over the years, much has been said about the apathy Canadians feel about voting. They say, “Why does voting matter?” A system that makes every vote count, so Canadians see the results of their vote better reflected in Parliament, such as in a proportional representation system, would help make people feel their vote is important.
Let us hope the process taking place in Canada right now about changing the
electoral system results in meaningful change. It’s too bad the Pontiac was not part of that discussion.

Carl Hager
NDP Pontiac Riding Executive Member
PONTIAC