Our current ‘first-past-the-post’ electoral system has been with us since before Confederation-since before we drove cars, fought bacteria with penicillin, and lit our rooms with lightbulbs. But in our diverse multi-party democracy of today, most candidates elected under this system win even when two-thirds of voters haven’t voted for them. This is wrong. Our electoral system needs a reboot to bring it into the 21st century.
In the 2015 election 63% of voters cast ballots for parties promising to overhaul Canada’s outdated, unfair election system. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government assumed office on an explicit promise to "make every vote count"—a promise that was then reiterated in the government’s throne speech and in dozens of speeches by the Prime Minister and his first Minister of Democratic Institutions.
A year and a half later the Prime Minister announced he was backtracking on this promise.
So now, instead of fixing our broken electoral system so that it benefits all Canadians, the Liberal government is trying to keep the current system, for no other reason than because it benefits Liberals. This cynical move breaks their 2015 promise to each and every single Canadian who voted for electoral reform and for a different kind of politics. It also betrays the important work done by the House of Commons committee on electoral reform, which heard from hundreds of expert witnesses, 89% of whom testified in support of proportional representation. So, too, did 84% of those who attended town halls on electoral reform that my NDP colleagues and I hosted since 2015. And no wonder: it is patently unfair for a party receiving 39% of the vote in an election to take 54% of the seats—and 100% of the power.
That is why the Prime Minister’s backtracking on his promise has deeply disappointed Canadians across the country.
The good news is that it has strengthened our resolve.
New Democrats and so many others—from concerned citizens to advocacy groups—are standing together in huge numbers to urge the Liberal government to keep its promise to Canadians. We are protesting in the streets, we are rallying our friends and coworkers and neighbours, we are attending town halls—and we are not going to stop.
Time is running out for the Prime Minister to do the right thing. A reformed electoral system can be in place for the next election, but the work to design and implement it must begin now. That is why we must keep up the pressure.
Here’s how you can help:
- Go to keepyourpromise.ndp.ca to join our campaign to convince 20 Liberal MPs to keep their promise and vote in favour of electoral reform.
- Download and sign this petition
- Speak to your friends and family about this important issue. Share this postcard with them.
- Send me an email with your thoughts
With your support we can convince the Liberal government to support a fair voting system where every vote counts.