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March 11th, 2016

NDP Calls on Liberals to Engage Canadians and Pick Up the Pace on Electoral Reform

OTTAWA – NDP Democratic Reform critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) has written to Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef, urging the government to pick up the pace on its commitment to reform Canada’s electoral system. The NDP is also calling for the government to establish a Citizens Working Group on Electoral Reform to work in tandem with the parliamentary committee.

“The Liberals have ragged the puck and already lost 5 months out of their 18 month timeline with nothing to show for it,” said Cullen. “Canadians want this process to be meaningful and they want a truly democratic voting system, not simply one made by politicians for politicians. That is why we are calling for the creation of a Citizens Working Group to examine two crucial questions: first, what are the problems we are trying to address by reforming our electoral system, and second, what principles should a new, made-in-Canada voting system embody?”

The NDP proposal is for the Citizens Working Group to work concurrently with the parliamentary committee formed to examine electoral reform, to provide a broader forum for citizens groups to participate in this important national discussion. The Working Group would then deliver its recommendations on the principles of a new electoral system by summer.

The Citizens Working Group proposal follows up by another suggestion made by Cullen in February, which would allot seats on the parliamentary committee proportionate to thhe share of the popular vote in the 2015 election. “The Liberals made an important promise to Canadians to restore faith in the way they cast their ballots,” said Cullen. “No one party should have the power to single-handedly change the way Canadians vote. We will continue making positive proposals to give Canadians the inclusive, collaborative and representative process they deserve.”