Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abandoned his promise to reform Canada’s electoral system on Wednesday, claiming no consensus has been found on an alternative system. Only two months after recommitting to electoral reform, Trudeau told newly appointed Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould that replacing the first-past-the-post system was no longer on the table. Trudeau’s decision shelves months of work by a special House of Commons committee, two separate public engagement and consultation exercises, numerous MP town hall meetings and one cross-country ministerial tour.
The move was called a “betrayal” by the opposition New Democrats, who accused Trudeau of lying to progressive voters when he made electoral reform a central promise in the 2015 election.
“Rather than keep his word to the millions of Canadians who voted for him and the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who engaged in good faith … over this question of how to strengthen and broaden our democracy, Mr. Trudeau chose today instead to spit in their face,” New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen told reporters.
In the House of Commons, Trudeau said not only is there no clear consensus on a new voting system — which citizens weren’t actually asked to weigh in on — but the issue itself is not a priority for Canadians.