Canadian electoral reform is long overdue

No system is perfect but Canada's is downright broken

Re: editorial ‘Election changes won’t come easy’ in the Oct. 30 Saanich News.

No, the changes won’t come easy but change is long overdue, as most Canadians agree. We’ve just gone through an election where all parties but one pledged electoral reform and the election was the referendum. Now let’s hold them to their promises.

This won’t be an ‘arbitrary’ process. As stated, there must be an all party, parliamentary review, where our elected representatives can perhaps go back to working together for the country’s good, instead of their parties’ or their own interests. A citizen’s panel, including experts on electoral systems, needs to be an integral part of the process and all of us need do our part by becoming better informed. There will be lots of naysayers and those working for their own interests to block any changes, and we need all be aware of this reality

Our outdated electoral system worked well for a two-party election. However, we are an increasingly diverse country and the days of one party representing Canadians interests are past.  We need proportional representation so that the outcomes of elections result in the number of MPs closely reflecting the proportion of voter support. This may mean the end of majority governments and will certainly demand at every level, more co-operative and collaborative conduct from our elected representatives.

Currently, without changes, low voter turnout and many candidates on a ballot can result in the election of an MP who has a ridiculously small portion of voter support. Similarly, ‘majority’ governments form with nothing close to half the nation’s support. No system is perfect but ours is downright broken. It won’t be a simple or easy process but it must be undertaken and we need to start now. Let the conversation continue and let’s all make it a national one.

Mark Jeffers

 

Victoria