Opinions

Every vote matters

Trudeau calls off pursuit of Electoral Reform

ATrudeau Electoral Baby online colourJustin Trudeau campaigned to be the Canadian Prime Minister based on a platform of ending our first-past-the-post electoral system.

It turns out campaign promises were meant to be broken.

“We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system,” states the Liberal Party’s website.

So much for that dream.

For 15 months, the federal government has been touting the idea of electoral reform, a platform that made the Liberals appear different from other parties in the last election.

Yet, Prime Minister Trudeau, in a letter released in January, ended his pursuit of electoral reform citing, “A clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged.”

The promise of changes to Canada’s federal electoral system, and the move away from first-past-the-post winners, was a welcome change.

Now that hope for equal representation is gone until at least 2019.

“We have been clear: major reforms to the electoral system should not be made if they lack the broad support of Canadians,” said Bryan Furlong, press secretary for the office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions.

“Changing the electoral system is not in [Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions] mandate. Our government looks forward to working with all Members of Parliament to continue to strengthen our democracy,” said Furlong.

However, there was a demand for a new system. The promise of change is what made Trudeau special. 

Trudeau can claim that over 36,000 participated in the debate over electoral reform, but the website mydemocracy.ca did not directly address electoral reform and what those changes would mean for Canadians.

The website was designed as a quiz to help test the waters of electoral reform, yet not a single question directly addressed this important change.

Upon completion, rather than address electoral reform, quiz takers were put into types that best represented their values and political priorities. The types were meant to help participants understand what Democratic Ideology is best suited for them.

These clusters included Guardians, Challengers, Pragmatists, Co-operators and Innovators. The types were meant to help users understand how their values work within Canadian democracy.

While it can be interesting to find out how your political leanings fall, the end results had nothing to do with electoral reform.

The data is from a website that does not directly address the issue at hand, and should not serve any role in the pursuit, or lack thereof, of electoral reform.

Canada needs to move away from individual ridings sending an MP to Ottawa, because too many individual votes are undermined in the current system.

Regardless of what party you vote for, and how many overall votes that party receives, if your riding votes for a certain party, that party wins.

Parliament needs to reflect the total number of overall votes a party receives, not just the number of ridings that vote for a party.

Through electoral reform, Canada would see each vote carry equal weight, and this is an important value and one of the reasons Trudeau used it in the 2015 electoral race.

“It’s just another example of Trudeau doing what’s best for him and his party,” said Jenn Hall, a continuing education student at SAIT.

“He ran on that platform when he [was] running for PM, and now he sees that the electoral system got him elected and changing it would probably hurt his ability to get re-elected.” 

“All of sudden, [first-past-the-post] is a good voting system and doesn’t need to be changed,” said Hall.

“It’s all very self serving.” 

Your vote needs to matter, and your voice needs to be heard.

We need to change our electoral system, so the votes cast for parties are reflected at the federal level.

It’s time to get rid of first-past-the-post.

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