Dear Vancouver Quadra,
Thanks for your input on the recent NDP Motion to accept the recommendations of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE); I understand your disappointment that federal electoral reform will not be pursued in this mandate.
For several years I championed reforming Canada’s electoral system to achieve better cooperation in Parliament, within the Liberal Party. My over-arching purpose is to have a Parliamentary system that incentivizes collaboration across Party lines so that Canadian governments can effectively tackle critical long term public policy challenges, like climate change. I chose not to vote for the NDP Motion because I don’t believe the ERRE Report’s recommendations would have succeeded in that purpose.
Liberal ERRE Committee members, representing the majority of MPs in the House, participated in good faith and with open minds. Their dissenting Report outlined their reasons for rejecting the Report’s recommendation to hold a referendum proposing a proportional electoral system: “we found no consensus on a single specific electoral system…Canadians are far from being adequately engaged with the electoral reform discussion… The recommendations posed in the Majority report regarding alternative electoral systems are rushed, and are too radical to impose at this time as Canadians must be more engaged…The timeline…is unnecessarily hasty and runs the risk of undermining the legitimacy of the process by racing toward a predetermined deadline.”
Also, the majority of the Committee’s MPs, including NDP and Green ERRE members, rejected or had “serious concerns” about the recommendation to hold a referendum at all. (see Report section entitled Supplementary Opinion of the NDP and Green Party on Electoral Reform).
I appreciate the passion of citizens who care about protecting and improving our democracy. The government engaged in an unprecedented dialogue with Canadians about potential electoral systems throughout 2016, and I am optimistic this conversation began building a more enduring public interest in how Parliament can work better. In fact, the unique outcome of the recent BC election has the potential to stimulate engagement and consensus on electoral reform in our province and across the country.
Joyce Murray, MP