Of all the promises Justin Trudeau made before this week’s federal election, the promise to change how Canadians vote may come back to haunt him most. If he ignores it, the Liberal Party leader and soon-to-be-prime minister will be accused of breaking his word. If he keeps it, the majority government he just won may be his last. Trudeau and the Liberals are still celebrating their sweeping victory in Monday’s vote that left them in control of the House of Commons with 184 out of 338 MPs. But in order to carve out that 54 per cent majority in the House of Commons, the Liberals needed only 39.5 per cent of the votes cast. What’s being called a landslide win would look very different if the proportion of votes the Liberals captured translated precisely into the number of seats they hold in Parliament. Were such an electoral system in place, the Liberals would today hold 134 seats in the House of Commons — more than anyone else but far short of the commanding majority they now enjoy. And that, to state the obvious, would mean Trudeau would lead a far more unstable government that would need support from at least one other party to implement even some of the Liberal agenda and would have no guarantee of governing for even two more years, far less four.
Ironically, the 2011 election produced similar numbers that gave Stephen Harper’s Conservatives 54 per cent of the House of Commons seats with 39.5 per cent of the votes. That outcome was clearly unacceptable to Trudeau in a Maclean’s magazine interview last June when he strongly advocated electoral reform.
“People are increasingly aware that a majority government was given to a party that 60 per cent of Canadians not only didn’t vote for but actively tend to dislike,” he declared. At the moment, Trudeau is basking in a political honeymoon even though 60 per cent of Canadians didn’t vote for his party.
Since the election, Trudeau has reaffirmed his platform’s promise “to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post system.” The Liberal plan calls for an all-party parliamentary committee to review potential reforms, including ranked ballots, proportional representation as well as mandatory voting and online voting. Then, 18 months from now, in May 2017, the Liberals will introduce legislation that changes how Canadians elect their federal government.
Full Article: The Record’s view: How will Canada vote next time?.