I’ve heard and see a few mutterings of concern from folks that the Liberals are actually going to follow through on their campaign promise (re-affirmed in the Throne Speech) that this election will be the last ever election Canadians use “First-Past-The-Post” in. Some are even suggesting that for this change to occur/be legitimate, a national referendum is needed.
I disagree – the Liberals ran this rather openly as one of their key platform campaign planks in the recent election. People were well aware of it when they were choosing to vote for. The Liberals were elected – so they have a mandate from the people to enact this change. A further referendum is unnecessary; there will be plenty of consultations and public hearings I am sure for the public and policyholders to pass along their opinions on why certain reforms are better then others.
In my opinion, we do not need a referendum on this issue, because I don’t believe in using referendums to make decisions on public policy (that was a key Reform Party plan many years ago). If we have a referendum on electoral reform, why not on every piece of legislation such as the right-to-die legislation we have to craft? Or on legalizing cannabis (both potentially way more polarizing then changing the voting system).
If we had let referendums dictate our public choices many years ago, a lot of public policy that was ahead of its time would have taken many more years to be enshrined in our way of life. The representatives of this country are elected by the public to make policy. If the voting reforms aren’t liked, they can vote for a party in the next election that offers something different or a return to the status quo of FPTP.