Liberal MP won’t hold electoral reform consultations until AFTER Parliamentary deadline

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This throws doubt on the legitimacy of the consultation process

French message below : le message en français suit

Electoral reform consultations are finally set to happen in Pontiac, QC. Shockingly, the local Liberal Member of Parliament has scheduled consultations no less than ten days PAST the deadline set for MPs to report back to Parliament.  This means that every resident in the Pontiac is left without a voice in this matter. Thus, regardless of your thoughts on electoral reform or political stripe, your position simply doesn’t matter and will not be taken into account by the Liberal government.

As it stands now, the local candidate with the most votes in a federal riding is the one who wins an election. The governing Liberal Party has indicated a desire to unilaterally change this system, potentially to a format that would be more advantageous to keeping themselves in power.

While I do not think our voting system should be changed, I firmly believe that everybody should have the opportunity to vote on any potential changes if they occur.

In lieu of giving residents the right to vote, the Federal Liberals have promised a series of consultations on this issue, with MPs required to report back to the Parliamentary committee on electoral reform by October 14th. After months of local pressure due to Liberal inaction, the best our local MP could do was book consultation dates that occur after a deadline set by his own Government.

Scheduling dates to occur after a parliamentary deadline denies Pontiac residents to ever have a say on this very important issue, and confirms that these consultations are a sham process.

We all deserve better.

 

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Les consultations sur la réforme électorale commenceront bientôt dans le Pontiac. Malheureusement notre député libéral a cédulé les consultations dans notre region pas moins de dix jours après la date limite fixée pour les députés de faire rapport au Parlement. Donc, tous les résidents du Pontiac sont laissé sans voix dans cette affaire. Peu importe votre opinion sur la réforme électorale ou allégeance politique, votre position n’a tout simplement pas d’importance et ne sera pas prise en compte par le gouvernement libéral.

Selon notre système électoral actuel, le candidat local avec le plus de votes dans une circonscription fédérale est celui qui gagne une élection. Le Parti libéral au pouvoir a manifesté le désir de modifier unilatéralement ce système pour le remplacer par un système qui serait potentiellement plus avantageux pour eux.

À mon avis, le système électoral ne devrait pas être modifié. Par contre, je crois fermement que tout le monde devrait avoir la possibilité de voter sur des changements à notre système électoral.

Au lieu de donner aux résidents le droit de vote, les libéraux fédéraux ont promis une série de consultations et demandés aux députés de faire rapport au comité parlementaire sur la réforme électorale avant la date limite du 14 octobre.

En cédulant les consultations après la date de tombée pour soumettre le rapport au Parlement, notre député dérobe chaque Pontissois de son droit de parole sur cet important enjeux. Cela confirme que ces consultations ne sont qu’un exercice de relations publiques.

Les résidents du Pontiac méritent mieux

 

 

Sources:

Pontiac event dates

https://www.canada.ca/en/campaign/electoral-reform/participate-in-canadian-federal-electoral-reform-consultations/attend-a-canadian-federal-electoral-reform-event.html

https://wamos.liberal.ca/en/

 

October 14th deadline

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/monsef-electoral-reform-update-1.3765180

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/09/16/consultations-on-new-voting-system-move-into-high-gear-consensus-elusive-so-far_n_12041366.html

 

 

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Electoral reform – this week in the Low Down

One of my very favorite local papers decided to publish the below piece on electoral reform.  Head over to their site to check it out, or read it below. Snagging a copy of the Lowdown whenever you can wouldn’t hurt either! – http://www.lowdownonline.com/sorry-but-vote-reform-not-too-complex-for-canadians/

`I am writing in response to Michael Obrecht, who recently wrote the Lowdown in reference to the Canadian population wanting a referendum on federal electoral reform.  I am pleased that Mr. Obrecht has taken the time to voice his opinion, because electoral reform is an issue that is not being voiced, discussed or consulted upon by the Liberal MP here. How we elect our representatives is a critical aspect of democracy, and once again, Pontiac is seemingly forgotten by Ottawa.

The Liberals are planning to unilaterally change how all of us vote at the federal level, possibly to a voting system that would be most beneficial to keeping themselves in power.  This is being done without proper debate or consultation, to the point where even some supporters of electoral reform are largely unaware of the implications.

For example, it might be of interest to some that MPs elected under variants of proportional representation would not even be selected by local voters.  Rather, under this scenario MPs would be selected post-election from party lists, with the number of MPs allocated according to the proportional popular vote.  These MPs would not represent local communities like the Pontiac; – rather, they would be selected from the ranks of party insiders, bagmen and friends to the party leader.  Information on issues like this should be made available to our population for discussion. In Pontiac, this is not happening.

As Mr. Obrecht mentioned in his piece, there has been an established precedent set in this country by provincial Governments on electoral referendums; three provinces have had referendums on voter reform and each time their residents were allowed to exercise their right to vote. The Liberals are skirting around this precedent to not allow us the opportunity to voice our opinion, and their sham promise of consultations is a poor substitute for an actual vote.  Due to public pressure I believe a token electoral consultation will be undertaken by the Liberal MP here. Yet as other Canadian publications have reported, it appears there will be little in the way of actual substance discussed.[1]

Mr. Obrecht seemed to be echoing Liberal Party sentiments when he suggested that a change of voting system is too “complex” for Canadians to mull over and vote upon. I disagree, and this elitism, where our local population is regulated to an inconvenient afterthought, is a sad throwback to the Liberal Party of old.

There is no way of knowing how a federal referendum on electoral reform would play out – but not giving people the opportunity to vote because you’re afraid you won’t like the result is cowardly. I encourage all Lowdown readers to think about this important issue, regardless of what your preferred method of voting is.`

 

Electoral reform, under rug swept

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In the dog-days of summer, a very important issue is brewing with regards to how we elect our leaders. The Governing Liberal Party wants to change how we elect Members of Parliament, potentially switching Canada to a voting system that would be most advantageous to the Liberals keeping themselves in power.

Recent polls show that a majority of Canadians don’t want the Liberals to tell them how to vote – but the Liberal Government continues to dither on whether it will allow us a say, downplaying the issue in hopes it might go away.

Canadians overwhelmingly support  having a referendum on any changes to our voting system. Yet there has been no commitment to allowing us to vote on electoral reform, and zero public consultations have been announced by the Pontiac Liberal MP.

Given the geography of the Pontiac, dozens of town halls would have to be held in order to even minimally consult our various regions without a referendum. Dozens of public consultations do not appear to be forthcoming.

Unfortunately for the Liberal MP here, ignoring this issue will not make it go away. The Pontiac deserves a say on this most critical aspect of democracy.

With our current voting system, the candidate that receives the most votes in a particular riding represents that riding and its residents. Our most recent election featured increased voter turnout, particularly among young people. I am for keeping our current voting system, even though some potential changes to the electoral system would benefit my own party of choice. Others here might want a different voting system, and they too deserve to have their say rather than have the Government force something upon them.

Due to the inherent partisan nature of politics, politicians should not be the unilaterally deciding on fundamental changes to how we vote. Canadians should be deciding on these changes – not politicians! If the Government wants to really hear from Canadians on electoral reform, it should allow us to vote on it.

Proportional Hesitation

The Liberal Government has a mandate to govern, but not a mandate to unilaterally force changes to how Canadians cast their ballots.

Previously, three different Canadian provinces have proposed changes to their provincial voting systems.  To their credit, these provincial governments set a precedent by offering the decision to their residents with a referendum.  Each time, the decision to change the provincial voting system was defeated.

Any changes to the way that we vote federally should be subject to a referendum as well, so that all Canadians can have a say.  The Canadian population is the only entity with the authority to decide how we cast our ballots and no single Government of any stripe has the right to change this.

With our current electoral system, the candidate who receives the most votes in our riding becomes the Member of Parliament.  This is fair and democratic, and I believe we should keep this system.  However, my opinion is of secondary importance to the right of Canadians to decide if we should change how we vote at all.  Whatever the system of voting proposed, or decision to keep the status-quo, we Canadians deserve a say in the process.

A Parliamentary petition demanding that Canadians be given the right to decide changes to our voting system can be found here: https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-48 . I encourage everyone to sign, so that the Government knows we want a say in the matter.