Member of Parliament Wayne Stetski came through Golden last week to gather public opinion regarding changes to our federal electoral system, a promise that was made by the ruling Liberal Party of Canada, as well as Stetski’s own party, the NDP.
There are 94 other countries who have already adopted a more proportional democratic system.
“I wanted to hear from people around the riding before this moves forward,” said Stetski, who says summer isn’t typically the best time to engage citizens.
“Being a strong voice in Ottawa for your constituents begins with listening.”
He has been travelling through the entire riding, conducting informal meetings to listen to constituent feedback.
“We are moving away from ‘first past the post’ to a more representational way of voting. It’s not a question of if. This is happening, it’s a question of how that will look,” he added.
A federal committee (comprised of MPs proportionally represented by all parties) will be travelling the country in the fall. Stetski wanted to do his tour ahead of that so that he could compile all the information he gathered to give to the committee.
There are several core issues to which the government is seeking feedback: is change necessary?, should the voting age be lowered?, should mandatory voting be implemented?, should we switch to electronic voting methods?, and what form of proportional representation is preferred?
The small group at the Golden Bakery had varying views on each question, and it is clear that more information is required before a form of proportional representation could be supported (four were presented at the meeting).
One of the four was ‘single transferable vote’ which was brought to referendum in British Columbia in the early 2000s, and was only narrowly defeated.
A detailed description of the four suggested voting systems (although that does not necessarily mean that only one of the four will ultimately be chosen), can be viewed at http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublications/.
Whatever form of proportional representation is eventually chosen, will likely be in place for a 2019 election, which was promise made by the Liberals during 2015’s election.
“First past the post is still the easiest system,” said Stetski. But as one attendee remarked, “should ‘easy’ really be the priority?”
Anyone wishing to provide feedback can still do so to Stetski at firstname.lastname@example.org, or directly to the federal committee at ERRE@parl.gc.ca (website: parl.gc.ca/ERRE-e).