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Electoral reform could be rigged, MP says

Riding survey suggests sizeable majority prefers referendum
By Mike Youds
August 11, 2016 8:44 A.M.

More than three-quarters of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo residents want a referendum on electoral reform, according to results of a riding survey released Thursday by MP Cathy McLeod.

The result reinforces Opposition insistence that only a vote by all Canadians would be an acceptable approach to changing how they vote, said McLeod. She said she’s concerned the Liberal government is attempting to rig the process with the current approach of a special committee of Parliament.

“Our survey found that 76.8 percent of residents want a referendum on changing Canada’s voting system,” MP McLeod said in a news release. 

An Ipsos-Reid poll in May 2016 had a similar result, she noted. That survey found 73 percent of Canadians agree that “Liberals should not make changes to Canada’s election system without holding a national referendum to get the public’s approval for the changes.”  

She said she’s glad to see residents are discussing the issue, she added, alluding to community booths and a town hall planned over the next month. She was critical, though, of a community consultation initiative organized by former Liberal candidate Murray Todd.

Throughout the national conversation on electoral reform, the Prime Minister has favoured a preferential ballot system,” McLeod said. “He has tasked former Liberal candidates to engage in what they are declaring a ‘non-partisan process.' Locally this is being led by a former Liberal Party candidate in our riding, who is also the former president of the Liberal riding association.”

“However, I’m concerned Liberals are trying to rig the process. All voters in Canada must have the opportunity to provide input, and the only way for every Canadian to be heard is through a referendum.”

McLeod said she’ll be speaking directly with residents in forums, roundtables and community events – such as Overlander Days – throughout the riding, near the end of the month.

“We’ll talk about electoral reform, but also Canada’s economy and other federal issues.

“The Prime Minister and his Liberal government are trying to change what a vote means – without giving all Canadians a say. Politicians and party insiders should not have this power. Only the Canadian people should determine how Canadians elect their governments,” McLeod concluded.

About 800 people responded to the riding survey.

Diane D says:
August 11, 2016 08:16pm

Sorry but how is it this poll favours what Cathy wants but not a single Liberal I know in this district saw or even heard of this poll? My whole family and our circle of family and friends were not asked, did she make sure only her supporters were asked and some did not agree with her?

As the others have stated the cons do not want electoral reform because they know they will NEVER gain power again like they had, they only had 39% of the vote and that was by CHEATING the system which was proven so without cheating they most certainly will never gain that ridiculous strong hold they had.

Cathy, just retire, you are old and tired and have never voiced anything before, now that your leader is gone you suddenly have a voice? Your ridiculous pension is locked and we have to pay for your sorry behind for the rest of your life so just give it up so we don't have to bother with you anymore, not like you show up for local debates anyway, previous engagements my ass.


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Diane McLeod says:
August 11, 2016 06:59pm

Was a referendum held when women were given the vote? Was a referendum held when indigenous peoples were given the vote? The answer to both is "No". Those decisions were made by the elected representatives we hired to make them. Had referendums been held for those decisions, they wouldn't have passed. So, really huge changes were previously made by our governments without referendums - changes that were much more weighty than how our votes are counted. And I challenge Ms. McLeod to publish the number of responses she got to her "survey"... it's pretty easy to come up with a large percentage if you receive few responses. Two-thirds of this riding voted for the parties promising electoral reform, so I suspect that her "survey" doesn't represent many voters.


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Gisela R says:
August 11, 2016 01:56pm

The reform process is rigged? How about a system where a party can win 39% of the vote and gain 100% power? If that isn't rigged, then I don't know what is. The inherent unfairness of our current system is the only reason Ms. McLeod is currently our MP, so clearly this is not something that she chooses to focus on, of course. Guess which party has the most to lose from a fairer electoral system? The Conservatives realize that the only way they will ever again form government is if we maintain the current First Past the Post system, which magically transforms minority support into a majority government. If 39% of the vote were actually translated into 39% of the seats in the House of Commons, as it would be under a proportional system, the Conservatives would have to accept permanent exile from power or accept one of two options they find equally unpalatable: adapt their polices to reflect the priorities of the average Canadian or... gulp... learn to work with other parties. See the problem here? Under FPTP, over 50% of citizens are represented in Parliament by someone they didn't vote for and whose party policies don't reflect their priorities. That's just wrong, and Canadians know it. We deserve better. All voices deserve to be heard, as they would be under a proportional system. We have several recent examples to confirm that referendums are divisive and easily manipulated by deep pockets seeking to advance their own interests, as the Conservative Party is currently attempting to do. I hope the Trudeau government has the courage to do the right thing and give Canadians an electoral system that represents all of us.


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David Johnson says:
August 11, 2016 01:10pm

Ms. McLeod has jumped in with both feet with the repeated fear based rhetoric of the conservative party, ignoring completely what the Committee on Electoral Reform was directly tasked to do by Minister of Democratic Institutions Monsef.

To put it in one sentence; To study options regarding the electoral system and gather opinions from Canadians throughout the country and make a recommendation to parliament. This includes the question regarding a referendum.

The repeated ad nauseam conservative demand that the government agree to anything without listening to Canadians first, speaks more to their fear of their massive House seat losses in the next general election should the system change ... than to do with ensuring Canadians are heard from. As a Canadian, I do not want the Government deciding anything regarding electoral reform, until we have been heard from first.

Even though Min. Monsef said herself to the committee “If that is what the committee recommends, if that is what you hear from Canadians … then it is incumbent upon me and the government to take that seriously" (direct quote). This fact seems irrelevant to Conservative complainers. Obviously if the committee decides that a referendum is appropriate (which it likely will), it will be very difficult for the Govt to back down from that ... we all know that.

What we don't need is the conservatives sidetracking the conversation away from electoral options (which they don't want), and focusing it on a question that at this point is not appropriate to funnel all of our attention on. We will talk about a referendum, it is but one issue. This summer our focus needs to be on understanding electoral system options, as well as a referendum.

And Cathy? Your dropping that a former Liberal candidate is leading the local discussion smacks of partisanship, and just tells us that you don't like the fact that you cant control the conversation. I suggest that you stop playing the hyper partisan role and start getting involved in the discussion over actual electoral options which includes keeping the FPTP system. Just what system do you think is best for the riding that you represent? What is your opinion on electoral reform itself?
I don't expect a direct answer.

Further, suggesting that your write in poll results are an accurate synopsis of our riding's leanings, is bent at best. The reality is that polls you put out limit the questions to gaining numbers towards your parties partisan beliefs, and do not include free and open ended options regarding (in this case) what electoral system would voters like to see. All you asked about was a referendum, and used the results to create media soundbites.

Voters are watching carefully what you do next.


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Bob says:
August 11, 2016 05:15pm

David, these points you make appear startlingly close to liberal talking points. There is a small percentage of Canadians keenly interested in electoral system reform. They have no interest in allowing their preference for change to be determined by a fair and democratic process. Your post proves the point that an alternate solution should be presented and every Canadian should have a choice in how their vote is counted. A referendum is consistent with accepted practice in matters such as these in our country and in other countries.


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David Johnson says:
August 18, 2016 03:26pm

You missed my point, which was the referendum question is but one of the questions to be considered. My 'partisan' (which it isn't really) point was to say that the conservative parties approach ignores all other considerations regarding reform and focuses entirely on the referendum question ... and I believe that is not helpful. Refusing the entire conversation is never good.

What you're suggesting is a referendum to empower the govt to 'look at' alternatives or keep FPTP. Then another referendum on options if Canadians request an alternative.
Or are you suggesting the first referendum, and then letting the govt decide on the new system on its own, if its requested to.

Personally I would rather vote on one chosen alternative vs FPTP in one referendum myself. I am a voter that will have to vote using the chosen system, I would like a voice in what that system looks like, not a blind vote to just to replace FPTP with ... well ... something, then give govt free rein to change it.
I want to vote FOR something, not just AGAINST something.


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Gisela R says:
August 12, 2016 06:12am

I don't think you're being fair when you say that only a small percentage is interested in reform, and when you state that they are not interested in a fair and democratic process. When more than 50% of those Canadians who actually bother to vote could stay home without changing the makeup of Parliament by a single MP, I think we're talking about a LOT of dissatisfied voters, and they DO want a good process. Electoral reform shouldn't be a partisan issue (although I agree, some of the comments here certainly are partisan). Reform is about allowing a greater diversity of voices at the table -- something that has been proven to improve decision-making. And you're wrong on the accepted practice -- all the changes Canada and the provinces have ever made to electoral systems in the past were done without referendums, things as major as extending the vote to women, to First Nations, and more minor things like changing the electoral systems etc.


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Richard Lung says:
August 11, 2016 10:56am

When is electoral reform not rigged? My 3 free books give a feeble hint of the enormity of human frailty over election rules.
Are the public as keen on educating themselves in election method, to the extent a referendum would require? The point of the Citizens Assembly was to allow random volunteers to master electoral reform. The BC CA took a year to do a good job. In my opinion, their technically backed report is Canada's best hope of genuinely democratic elections.
The Ontario CA was given less time and only beginning to follow a similar path. Their chairman said they were not given enough time.
Richard Lung.
Peace-making Power-sharing.
Scientific method Of Elections.
Science is Ethics as Electics.


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