Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Electoral Reform for Dummies - that would be us.

Well that was then. 
Today some sixteen months later, having attended exactly zero electoral reform committee road meetings or community-based townhalls these past few weeks, our legacy media is jointly suggesting Trudeau throw in the towel.

Susan Delacourt : Time for Trudeau to cut his losses on electoral reform
"Mayrand just gave the Liberals a face-saving excuse. They should take it."

Ms Delacourt manages to interpret Elections Canada CEO Marc Mayrand's caution that :
any new electoral system should enjoy broad support beyond a simple majority of MPs (Liberal MPs, in this case) in the House of Commons.
“I believe that changes to the Elections Act should reflect a broad consensus, that’s for sure. And I believe that a single party, whatever the majority of that party is, should not be entitled to change the act unilaterally,” Mayrand said.
into an 'out' for Trudeau, as if somehow the NDP, Bloc, and Elizabeth May, not to mention the wildly cheering Canadian public who voted for reform above, do not count. 

Having hung this on something Mayrand didn't say, she goes on to speculate about "what Mayrand didn’t say (but could have)" and it goes downhill from there, although I give her points for not mentioning a referendum until several paras in - perhaps because Mayrand says it's unnecessary. 

"I don’t think electoral reform is a top-of-mind issue for Canadians," she says, apparently oblivious to the irony that, aside from Kady O'Malley, a media boycott might be having some bearing on that.

Toronto Star : Mayrand is right – give the people a voice on election reform: Editorial

The Star editorial board first plumps for a national referendum but settles for kicking reform down the road aways:
"Trudeau’s best move would be put election reform to a national vote and let Canadians chose the system they want, even if it means breaking a promise to do away with first-past-the-post during his first term in office."

Ditto the Ottawa Citizen It's more important to do electoral reform right than to do it quickly
"First, the Liberals need to break the promise that 2015 will be the last first-past-the-post election. Second, they must replace that promise with a new one to pass enabling legislation for a voting system change prior to the 2019 election, but give up on the idea of implementation by that date."

So did you all get the same phone call from Butts?

Who have I missed here? The Sun papers are sticking with their slogan No Referendum, No Reform.  Oh, and the Globe and Mail - nothing from them. I guess their entire interest in electoral reform was exhausted in their Minister Monsef birther scoop.

Not really much use to us alive, are you, legacy media?

The truth is though there is a problem with the ERRE committee. 
Electoral reform advocates and activists remain resolutely positive and, in the spirit of the multi-party nature of the committee, open to whatever form of proportional representation is leading despite individual preferences for one system or another.
But underneath that there is concern.

Despite a mandate to come to a consensus about implementing a new electoral system, at least three of the four Liberals on the committee appear unconvinced electoral reform is even necessary and one is still making up his mind about a referendum. They've had 36 meetings and over a hundred witnesses, yet still take turns repeating bs rightwing Keep It Simple talking points about ballots the size of bedsheets and how complicated it would be for voters to rank several candidates/parties on a ballot instead of just one. 

Committee Liberals also complain that the members of the public who show up to public ERRE meetings are biased in favour of electoral reform. As if people unconcerned about being represented in government are going to make a special trip in to say 'I don't care about this'.

Last word goes to Conservative MP and ERRE member Gérard Deltell, speaking on electoral reform at the Quebec National Assembly on Sept. 27, 2011:
"We have almost 30 months before the next election. We have time to do what all the parties have always urged, that is, a proportional system.'


susansmith said...

We all knew Liberals never meant to change the electoral system & move against FPTP. When the Liberal organ of the media, TorStar, starts down that road, we know they are being fed by the Liberal party - always provides cover.

Julien Lamarche said...

"We have almost 30 months before the next election. We have time to do what all the parties have always urged, that is, a PR system." --- Do we have a source for this?

Julien Lamarche said...

Found it: . Look for "30 mois".

Alison said...

Julien : Thanks, I fixed the broken link in the post. We can now add Deltell to the the list of CPC ERRE committee members who have advocated for proportional representation in the past, Scottt Reid's being the most notable.

Jan : Yes, and it's a long shot but we must take it and push for it. I believe the committee members definitely in favor of electoral change - the NDP and E May -underestimated the effect a press blackout would have.

Anonymous said...

Where are the ads telling people where these community townhalls are held? Why isn't this a public service announcement at the top of the CBC news online and on tv? Why isn't Maryam Monsef with her $30 million budget "to educate the public on electoral reform" running full page ads? You shouldn't have to be a member of FairVote to hear about these things.

Anonymous said...

The lack of government advertising about these meetings certainly looks like they're keeping them quiet.

Laurel L. Russwurm said...

I have to say I still don't know the Liberals never meant to change the electoral system. Some Liberals do and some don't... the Liberal Party has been split on this from the beginning. Certainly those enjoying their party's possession of the One Ring of Power have forgotten what it is like to be on the other side for the moment, and of course, such power is hard to give up. Still, if Kings can give up absolute power, surely our democratic government can.

Fortunately there are Liberals who understand the long term view, thoughtful people who understand that without Proportional Representation Canada:

(a) will continue to squander Canadian time, money and endeavor on policy lurch,
(b) will continue in our inability to deal with - or even address ~ the increasing infrastructure breakdowns resulting from government inability to take on projects that can't be solved in 4 years, and
(c) no one need look no further than the presidential race being fought south of the border for a preview of where increasing polarization surely leads, but most important,
(d) a failure to implement meaningful electoral reform will let down the growing majority of Canadian voters who are counting on this Parliament to fix the problem.

The elites who benefit from the unfairness in the current Canadian system ~ including the Main Stream Media ~ might not want change, but Canadians do. We don't necessarily know what is wrong, or how to fix it, but we do know it is not working as it should.

That's why we awarded a phony majority to a Liberal government that promised to do away with First Past The Post. And no honeymoon lasts forever.

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