Historic Electoral Reform Report Lays Out Path to a Fair Voting System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 1, 2016

OTTAWA – NDP Democratic Reform critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) was one of a handful of all-party MPs to present a final report to government this morning that recommends sweeping changes to how Canadians vote and modernizes an outdated electoral system to reflect a country-wide call for representation that more closely reflects voting results.

“Today, we made history and cleared a path toward proportional representation and making every vote count,” a jubilant Cullen said following a press conference with NDP Deputy Democratic Reform critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite Patrie), his party colleague on Parliament’s Special Committee on Electoral Reform that has been meeting and travelling the country since August.

“Over the past four months, millions of people across the country, including at our six town halls in the riding, told us they want the numbers to match, they want who people vote for to mirror who gets to Ottawa to represent folks back home.”

A Proportional Representation electoral system will ensure the share of votes a party gets in an election is reflected in the number of seats they receive in the House of Commons. The Committee heard the current system, known as First-Past-the-Post, creates massive distortions and fails to reflect the democratic will of Canadians.

“The Prime Minister made a black-and-white promise to Canadians to make 2015 the last election under First-Past-The-Post, and to make every vote count,” said Cullen. “The government has a mandate, the tools, a viable path, and a clear obligation to replace our outdated, unfair voting system with a proportional voting system. Canadians are counting on it.

“The report we delivered today contains hotly debated recommendations that are the first step towards taking Canadian democracy into the 21st Century,” Cullen said.  “The committee worked hard to reach a compromise. The committee did its job – now it’s time for the Liberal government to do theirs.”

Highlights of the Committee’s findings: 

  • 88% of expert witnesses and 87% of the public testimony before the committee called for the government to adopt a proportional voting system.
  • The committee also recommended that the government should implement financial incentives for political parties to nominate more women – as recommended in a private member’s bill by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart earlier year.
  • The all-party committee membership was based on a proportional model put forward by the NDP. With no one party holding a majority, members found solutions through hard work and compromise.
  • The committee held close to 50 meetings, in every province and territory, and heard from nearly 200 expert witnesses. Tens of thousands of Canadians participated in the consultation process.

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 Contact: Shelley Browne, 250-877-4140, nathan.cullen.c1@parl.gc.ca