Cullen ‘Insulted’ by Minister’s Response to Electoral Reform Report
Ottawa, Ont. – An all-party committee on electoral reform has delivered its report in Ottawa – now its up to the governing Liberals on whether it follows through on the recommendations.
The report recommends replacing Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system with a system that more closely reflects voting results, and holding a referendum to give Canadians their say on the matter.
But if today’s response from Liberal Minister of Democratic Reform Maryam Monsef is any indication, the government won’t be acting on it anytime soon.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP and committee co-chair Nathan Cullen said the minister told them they “had failed.”
“I’ve been through a lot of question periods and I’ve heard a lot of stupid things but I’ve never heard something this insulting before because every time a committee of any kind reports to the government – the government says thank you, I’m going to read it,” he says.
“This was a 300-page report, she hadn’t even read it before she said you failed, you didn’t do your job. That’s incredibly degrading.”
The government created the committee earlier this year after it had promised to do away with Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system during last year’s federal election campaign.
Cullen said it’s disappointing considering the committee spent four months traveling the country, listening to thousands of Canadians on the issue.
Highlights of the Committee’s findings include:
- 88 per cent of expert witnesses and 87 per cent 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.
- 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.
- The committee recommended not going forward with mandatory or online voting at this time.
Despite the minister’s cool response, Cullen says he and the committee won’t throw in the towel.
“We’re dedicated, we’re absolutely not giving up.”