Cullen Remains ‘Hopeful’ About Electoral Reform
Prince George, B.C. – Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen remains “hopeful” that the federal government will follow through on its promise of election reform.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of course famously promised that the 2015 federal election would be the last under the first-past-the-post electoral system.
Consequently, last year he formed an all-party electoral reform committee – chaired by Cullen – to engage Canadians on the system they thought would be best.
Following months of consultation around the country it recommended a new proportional voting system and a national referendum to see whether Canadians would support the change.
But since that report was issued in early December, the previous minister of democratic institutions Maryam Monsef, was replaced by Karina Gould.
So, what now?
“I’ll see once I have a chat with the new minister,” says Cullen. “I sent a letter to her last week asking her to sit down with us and co-draft legislation. Which while not the typical way the government operates, this is not a typical issue because it affects every Canadian in our democracy.”
He says the issue was “handled so badly” by the previous minister, that he hopes the new one “will see some wisdom in collaborating with the opposition rather than stall and delay tactics.”
But is there enough time to get in done in time for the 2019 election?
“Well we have until May to draft the legislation so it’s obviously doable. Elections Canada said if we get the legislation by the spring that we’d be able to get something done by the next election,” says Cullen.
“It’s tight, but nothing happens in life without a deadline and certainly nothing in Ottawa happens without some pressure and now the pressure is on. We have a new minister on a steep learning curve but I remain hopeful that we can get it done.”