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.