electoral reform, citizens assembly, voting, federal election, democracy proportional representation, first past the post, waterloo region, fair vote canada, green party, ndp, by: dan kellar
Kitchener – On November 7th, Motion 86 on forming a Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral reform had its first debate in the house of commons. The motion seeks to establish a representative “Citizen’s Assembly” which would investigate alternatives to Canada’s first past the post electoral system, and inform the government on which proportional systems would best reflect the needs and preferences of the people in Canada.
The motion was brought forward by NPD MP Lisa Marie Barron, and built on the work of Mike Morrice, the Green Party MP for Kitchener Centre who was the first to second the motion back in June. Morrice’s second was followed by 18 other seconders from the NDP, Liberal, and Conservative parties, including Bardish Chagger of the Waterloo riding. This cross party collaboration is exactly what Fair Vote Canada, one of the grassroots organisations who contributed to the motion, hopes will become standard operations in governments under an electoral system based on proportional representation.
This show features interviews with Kitchener Centre MP Mike Morrice, and Evan Rosamond, the co-chair of the Fair Vote Canada chapter for Waterloo Region.
Motion 86 was debated for its allotted hour, with many MPs announcing their support for the idea of electoral reform. Bloc Quebecois MP Martin Champoux applauded the motion, and called for MPs to have the courage to take action when it is time. Conservative MP Scott Reid stated the proposal was “half right”, but recommended a referendum over a citizen’s assembly.
However, support was not universal. Liberal MP Chandra Arya said that a citizen’s assembly would be “an attempt at an entry through the back door into a proportional system”. He then claimed that “Because of the proportional system, Israel cannot come to an agreement with Palestine.” Arya did not offer any evidence for either of his statements.
While the future of motion 86 and electoral reform in Canada is uncertain, the debate in the House of Commons will resume in the coming months, and with hope brewing around successful cross-party collaboration, Evan Rosamond remarked “it is better to talk a lot then to fight with everybody”.