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Electoral Reform abandonment potentially hurts LPC donations, volunteers

I’m going out on a limb to presume Electoral Reform will not be in the Liberal’s 2019 Platform?

It is a bitter disappointment to not only the pro-electoral reform advocates in general, but to pro-electoral reform advocates within the Liberal Party (ie such as me, and to others in the Party that got electoral reform passed as something we should do both in 2012 and 2014 at Liberal policy Conventions) to see the Liberals officially abandon their electoral reform plans as of yesterday. There has been troubling signs of this for awhile, and obviously the pro-status quo factions within the adviser group and indeed in the Liberal caucus (and there are more then a few) won out over the electoral reformers. I personally had hoped that with the cabinet shuffle, things would improve on this front.. so I’m not understanding why Maryan Monsef got moved out of this Cabinet post – she could have just as easily made this announcement as Karina Gould (who I like personally) was made to do, if this is the decision that was decided upon.

Regardless.. there is a calculation being made here by the Liberals that come election time, most folks will not care or hold them to account over this broken promise (and it is a broken promise, despite the claims of “no consensus” from the Prime Minister). They may be right, though they will have lost a potentially critical portion of their vote from those who had looked forward to a new style of politics and felt betrayed.. those folks will either not vote or will drift back to the Green Party or NDP – perhaps a crucial difference between winning and losing, or a minority versus a majority. Where it may hurt the Liberal Party more however is with its activist base members. Those folks may not be so enthusiastic or inclined to support the LPC at the next election or in the lead-up to it, either by wanting to go “knock on doors” or make phone calls or donate. Indeed, I’ve seen anecdotally in a couple of social media and Facebook groups I am in of Liberal members openly saying they were cancelling their Victory Fund donations to the LPC in protest of this move. Someone else I spoke with and connected to the Party (who supported this move) predicted perhaps hundreds would cancel (I can see potentially more).. so we shall see short-term at the end of next financial quarter whether that is true or not, as well as in the opinion polls.

There are many saying the PM and the Liberals “lied” to the public. I don’t think they were lying; but I do agree with someone else I read on social media that it appeared the Liberals found it was harder then expected and gave up early.. (particularly when they couldn’t convince folks to support the PM’s preferred method of Alternative Voting; the public meetings skewed heavily to participants wanting a form of PR).

One thing I will say as well; I was never in favour or being inclined to want to hold a referendum on this issue; I have always maintained the Liberals had a mandate to make changes purely through the House of Commons, but I also take issue with Prime Minister Trudeau saying a referendum could not be held without a clear question or preference. It would have been very easy to find out by saying the following:

Do you support a) Keeping our current system (First Past The Post)
b) Choosing a form of Proportional Representation
c) Choosing Alternative / Ranked Ballot?

That’s as clear a question as one would or could get, which could then be moved on depending upon the results.

Regardless, I hope the electoral reform elements in the Liberal Party do not give up on this and will let their MP’s or Cabinet Ministers or the PMO know they are not happy with this. We’ll see in 2018 at the Liberal Convention in Halifax whether or not this issue has gone away within the LPC or if its brought up again – that will be the first major event LPC members/delegates will have at expressing their feelings or lack thereof about this.

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6 comments to Electoral Reform abandonment potentially hurts LPC donations, volunteers

  • Dan in PoCo

    Promises unfortunately get broken all the time, but this time its probably saving us a lot of grief (and, as you say, costing the party a lot of support, at least in the present). But I see the fault in the promise (whether honest or cynical) and less so in the abandonment. In fact it is true he couldn’t get consensus (in Parliament) when the 2 largest parties that attracted the majority of votes were against or ambivalent to change or the most popular option. And Proportional representation in my view is popular in the same way Donald Trump was popular on Nov. 8 – because of dislike for the other main choice (FPTP) and ignorance of the consequences. It has so many warts that while it may bring ‘truer’ results and give more groups a voice, some of those so-called voices will occasionally cause more than just embarrassment (see Trump). Proportional representation is not without flaws and could in fact create minature parties of alt-right and extremists who could co-opt power in a jumbled house. All it would take is a handful of seats, at most, to possibly raise fringe issues into action. It would also create minority gov’t situations in a majority of elections, thus destabilizing Canada’s social and economic situation. Hey, let’s not even discuss the costs because democracy is worth the price, right? But in a time when ‘big money’ and ‘far right’ segments seem to blare loudest and create schisms among progressives, ending in chaos (aka Donald Trump), I think the argument in favour of throwing up our hands and putting this issue to bed is similar to opening the Constitution. Oh the headaches we’ll save. Cons wanted the status quo; Liberals wanted a ranked ballot system or no change; NdP and Green were heavy in Prop Rep — and each benefited predominantly from their respective choices. Why aren’t you dumping on the NdP for not supporting ranked ballots – why should the government compromise and not the 3rd largest party? Trudeau already made a mistake when it reduced its sway in committee. It seems compromise would have been required since none of the solutions were perfect. As it is, I’ll take stability and the Devil-I-know over unpredictable and instability ie Italy etc.

    • I tend to find that detractors of PR always point to Italy.. or Israel as the reason we shouldn’t bring in PR. The fact is there many forms of PR out there.. and no one has ever suggested “pure PR” for Canada. If you’re going to attack PR, fine.. but usung Italy or Israel all the time when they are basically not the version of PR that Canadian supporters of it are advocating.. and which is not even the majority model of PR out there.. is dishonest.

      Chantal Hebert asked some German citizens about whether they’d ever consider leaving their PR system for FPTP as in Canada.. and she said they looked at her in horror as if we were living in the stone age.. and to a certain extent we are – on electoral systems anyhow.

  • MoS

    British Columbia and, in particular, coastal British Columbia cinched Trudeau’s majority by delivering a solid Liberal vote in the last election.

    Since then we’ve had a succession of solemn promises jettisoned by this charlatan. Remember the “social licence” promise. No pipeline without community support? Protect the coast? That turned out to be one big lie. We were betrayed by the hustler out to replace the previous hustler.

    In the last election Trudeau made promises that inspired people. People voted “for” what he said he’d do. It wasn’t just about getting rid of Harper. We voted for his promises on pipelines. We voted for his promises on supertankers. We voted for his solemn promise on electoral reform. It was all a pack of lies.

    C-51 survives intact. Now the Trudeau regime has imposed a requirement that people seeking low-wage/no benefits contract work have to submit to fingerprinting. What’s next, ankle bracelets?

    Trudeau came to power on the strength of a progressive consensus that was built on the strength of his solemn promises. It took just a year and a half to break them, one after another. That consensus is shattered which will pave the way for a Tory revival. That’s what happens when trust is betrayed.

    Maybe Andrew Coyne is right. The blame doesn’t fall to Trudeau for breaking his promises. It’s our fault for believing anything that came out of his mouth.

    What a terrible moment for Trudeau to shirk his responsibility for democratic restoration. From Europe to Turkey to the United States, democracy is in grave peril, in retreat. That’s a contagion to which Canada is not immune, the more so now thanks to Trudeau.

    Was this inevitable as Liberals claim while covering their tracks? Of course not. Trudeau did not even attempt to use his “whole of government” power to build public awareness of the issue and the possibilities. Most Canadians knew nothing about it and that lies at the feet of the prime minister. The result is his handiwork and his alone.

    Trudeau has betrayed not just me. He’s betrayed Canada. We may pay dearly for that.

  • Elizabeth Quinto

    Minister Gould did an exceptional job answering Rosemary Burton’s inquiries on the CBC’s Power and Politics. She was composed, straight to the point and did not waiver in her message that there was no consensus among Canadians, let alone the committee members on electoral reform. Prime Minister Trudeau picked the right person for this position.

    The real issue for the Liberal Party is whether this delay in electoral reform affect their position come election time? All a person really needs to do is look at the daily pulse of a Canadian’s freedom of expression: Facebook wall. In my observation, the majority of my Facebook friends (not politically inclined, at least in re: Canadian politics) aren’t sharing posts of electoral reform and those that do are either my Liberal friends who are rightfully upset that proportional representation has not come into fruition or Conservative friends who have been proselytizing since the beginning of time that, “Justin Trudope/Prime Minister Selfie is a college drop out who does not know what he is doing.” Which leads me to believe that the regular Jane/Joe cares more about posting their latest roll up the rim win, which by the way I hear winning potato wedges is the worst win. Really? Is someone really complaining about winning? Regular Js are too preoccupied with Trump’s latest follies and roll up the rim prizes to turn on the tv at 2pm to hear abandonment of electoral reform–a platform for most people were second to jobs and the economy. The United States social failure is loud and clear: Trump appealed to the masses that were unsatisfied with job loss, money, and standard of living. Trudeau is adapting to a post-Trump world and he needs to prioritize Canadians and their livelihoods to the detriment of electoral reform.

  • Liam Young

    I will NEVER support the Liberals again, at any level of government.
    They are liars and thieves.
    They have played me once too many times and I’m done.

  • I stop short of hoping for a complete and utter Liberal defeat in 2019, given that we’d likely be stuck with a “Trump Lite” Conservative dictator again.

    I will instead hope for a VERY weak Liberal minority, with a clear message that this issue is the cause.

    Unlike you, I’m calling them lying pricks.

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