December 1st, 2016

Historic report lays out path to a fair voting system

OTTAWA – The Special Committee on Electoral Reform released its final report Thursday morning, which makes a historic recommendation of a Proportional Representation voting system for Canada.

“Today, we made history and cleared a path toward proportional representation. The committee worked incredibly hard to achieve a broad consensus recommendation, and this is the first step towards taking Canadian democracy into the 21st Century,” said Deputy Democratic Reform critic Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite Patrie). “It looked to many like an impossible task, but we reached a compromise and recommended proportional representation. The committee did its job – now it’s time for the Liberal government to do theirs.”

A Proportional Representation electoral system will ensure that the share of votes a party gets in an election is reflected in the number of seats they receive in the House of Commons. The Committee heard that the current system, known as First-Past-the-Post, creates massive distortions and fails to reflect the democratic will of Canadians.

“The Prime Minister made a black-and-white promise to Canadians to make 2015 the last election under first-past-the-post, and to make every vote count,” said Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley). “The government has a mandate, the tools, a viable path, and a clear obligation to replace our outdated, unfair voting system with a proportional voting system. Canadians are counting on it.”

Highlights of the Committee’s findings:

  • 88% of expert witnesses and 87% of the public testimony before the committee called for the government to adopt a proportional voting system.
  • The committee also recommended that the government should implement financial incentives for political parties to nominate more women – as recommended in a private member’s bill by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart earlier year.
  • The all-party committee membership was based on a proportional model put forward by the NDP. With no one party holding a majority, members found solutions through hard work and compromise.
  • The committee held close to 50 meetings, in every province and territory, and heard from nearly 200 expert witnesses. Tens of thousands of Canadians participated in the consultation process.