In the last federal election, Justin Trudeau expressed the need for electoral reform in Canada. He recently announced, however, that he would not follow through on this promise.
Trudeau stated that this is not an important issue to Canadians. However, 44% of Canadians support electoral reform, while 32% do not have an opinion one way or the other.
It is interesting to note that the greatest opposition to electoral reform comes from the larger political parties. If Canada were to choose to reform using proportional representation, it is very unlikely that two major parties would take turns dominating parliament, as is the case today. Countries that use this system normally have coalition governments.
While majority governments are more efficient, coalition governments tend to be more democratic. When we take time to listen respectfully to each other everyone benefits. It is significant to note that 14 of the 19 other G20 countries are already using some form of proportional representation.
Some fear that electoral reform will result in the loss of local representation in parliament. Yes, we will likely end up with larger constituencies, but we will also each have more parliamentarians speaking for us.
Others argue that proportional representation is too complicated. Yes, it is more complex than our current “first past the post” system, but Canadians are intelligent people who are capable of learning.
We do not know yet what electoral reform will look like in Canada. What is clear, however, is that we need to pressure our government to improve our outdated system in order for parliament to reflect the values of our diverse population and for Canada to remain competitive in the 21st century.