The Trudeau government is creating a long-awaited special parliamentary committee on electoral reform and proposing to hold town halls in every riding to discuss the issue. “We deserve broad, representative politics, a stable government and an opportunity to shape our democracy,” Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef said in announcing the plan. “That’s why our government is determined to meet our commitment that 2015 was the last election to use a first-past-the-post system.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during last fall’s election campaign to create a committee to examine electoral alternatives and report back with recommendations within 18 months.
But as his fledgling government passed the six-month mark last week with no committee on the horizon, advocates of proportional representation worried that Trudeau was planning to rag the puck long enough that there wouldn’t be enough time to implement reforms by the next election in 2019.
A Commons motion to set up the committee should help reassure them that Trudeau intends to stick to his promised timetable.
It specifies that the committee is to study “viable alternative voting systems, such as preferential ballots and proportional representation” as well as mandatory voting and online voting, and to present its final report no later than December 2016.