‘Canadians Demand Fair and Local Voting System’ – NDP
Ottawa, ON – After four months of consulting Canadians on their views regarding our electoral system, the NDP has finally issued their findings.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen, his party’s democratic reform critic and a member of the Canadian House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform, presented the report in Ottawa Wednesday.
He says over 37,000 Canadians contributed to a mix of town hall meetings, teleconferences, online outreach and mailed surveys in the NDP’s 44 ridings and found the following:
- 84% of participants want an electoral system where a party’s seats in the House of Commons is a fair reflection of the share of votes they receive.
- 82% felt it was important to keep a local representative and 79% expressed a desire to see collaborative and cross-party support in the creation of a new voting system.
- 66% felt that gender and ethnic diversity should be a priority while only 34% supported lowering the voting age to 16 while a majority were against online voting (an exact percentage was not made available).
Cullen called the feedback they received “unprecedented for our party” and noted he was heartened by the support for proportional representation.
“That was overwhelming. When you tell people that 18 million people voted last time and a little less than half those votes actually counted, that’s something people want to see changed.”
Despite the NDP’s outreach with their constituents, Cullen says just two or three Conservative MPs bothered to do the same while he wasn’t sure how many Liberal MP’s canvassed their MPs.
He says the Conservatives lack of interest in the process (the party prefers a referendum on whether to change Canada’s electoral system) is unfortunate for their constituents.
“For the people they represent because this is happening and I really hoped their voices would get to be heard too. Not silence because they happen to live in a Conservative riding.”
Cullen says what happens next is the Committee on Electoral Reform will take all the input from the MPs that bothered to participate and come up with some legislation and have that ready by December 1, 2016. Following that he says the Trudeau government will craft a new voting law in Canada.
He says it’s a promise he expects them to keep.
“Yeah, I’m a bit of a radical – when someone makes a promise in an election I expect them to follow through on it.”
Earlier this year he federal government pledged that last year’s federal election under Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system would be its last.