As many of you may know, this week our Government announced that we will not be moving forward with changes to our voting system. I thought it was important to let you, my constituents, hear from me directly on our Government’s decision to not enact a new voting system. I would like to immensely thank all of you who reached out to share your ideas and opinions. I am incredibly grateful for your engagement and passion. I will admit that like many of you in the riding, I am disheartened that we were not able to establish a clear consensus on a new voting system.
At our community town hall here in Pitt Meadows – Maple Ridge and in the many conversations I have had with constituents, I have been clear that I support a voting system in which most accurately reflects the voice of our community. However, throughout all these conversations, whether in person or through emails and social media posts, it was clear to me that there truly was no clear consensus on how to improve our electoral system. I heard from constituents who were passionate advocates for some form of proportional representation, others who believed in a ranked ballot system, and others who did not even see the need to change our voting system at this time at all. For many months, anytime I was out in the community, I spoke with constituents about electoral reform, listening to what you wanted out of our democratic system. And even without shared consensus, I brought all your ideas to Ottawa, shared them with the Minister, submitted them to the Committee and discussed them with my colleagues.
Conversations like the ones we had in our community occurred across the country and it remained evident that while Canadians were engaged in a remarkable national conversation about our democracy, there lacked a clear path forward to enact change. The approximately 400,000 Canadians who engaged on this issue had many various perspectives on what they liked and didn’t like about our electoral system. And while the work of the Electoral Reform (ERRE) Committee was valiant and exhaustive, even their report did not produce a clear alternative for our Government to act on, with at least one dissenting report, disputing the committee’s very own report.
Our view has always been clear in that major reforms to the electoral system should only be made if they have the broad support of Canadians. While I recognize and appreciate the passionate advocacy many members of our community had on this issue, when we observed the will of Canadians at a national level, it became evident that the broad support and consensus needed among Canadians for a fundamental change for our democratic system does not exist.
Our Government took considerable action to ensure cooperation and consensus, giving up our majority on the special committee, calling for MPs from all parties to host town halls, traveling across the country to listen directly to Canadians, and launching a digital engagement platform. This level of engagement and commitment to listening to Canadians was unprecedented. Authentic consultation means that you must be willing to act on what you heard, even if it’s not what you expected. It would be, in my opinion, irresponsible for our Government to legislate a change of such magnitude without broad consensus on what or how.
This does not, however, mean that our Government does not remain interested in continuing to strengthen and protect our democracy. While it is certainly disappointing that we do not have a clear public directive on changing the way Canadians vote, improvement to our electoral system such as strengthening campaign financing laws, and enhancing the security of our electoral system are still priorities for our Government.
I am so grateful for everyone who came out to town halls, met with me, and wrote to me. I think this conversation, whether it resulted in changes to our voting system or not, made our country’s democracy stronger and for that I am very proud.
Everything I heard from our community on this subject, I reported back to our Government as I do and will continue to do for the many issues you have brought to my attention. I am remarkably honoured to represent you all and will continue to advocate for our community.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
All the best,