My thoughts on electoral reform:
Over the last year, the Government engaged in an unprecedented dialogue with Canadians about their democracy. In September, I held a town hall on electoral reform in Kingston and the Islands. I received a passionate response from the community and was able to provide a summary of the town hall discussion to the Minister of Democratic Institutions to be included in the Special Committee on Electoral Reform’s report. The town hall meeting notes can still be found online at http://mgerretsen.liberal.ca/…/Electoral-Reform-Town-Hall-N….
My offices in Kingston and in Ottawa received many phone calls and e-mails about reforming our electoral system and I held many meetings with constituents on this issue. Many constituents in Kingston and the Islands preferred a system that included proportional representation and I relayed these preferences to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform and the Minister of Democratic Institutions.
As you know, the Prime Minister did not include electoral reform in the Minister of Democratic Institutions updated mandate letter, as it was determined that general consensus could not be felt across the country. I know this disappoints many in our community, especially those who may have cast their ballot focused on this issue, and I share in this disappointment. I have been outspoken about changing our electoral system to better reflect the views of all Canadians.
I would like to note that this decision does not mean the Government is finished with democratic reform. There is more to democratic reform than just the question of how we vote and the Government remains committed to improving Canada’s electoral system. Legislation has already been introduced to repeal undemocratic elements of the previous government’s Fair Elections Act and further measures to strengthen our democracy, including increasing transparency in political fundraising and protecting our democratic institutions from cyberattack.
Additionally, I am extremely supportive of reinstating the per-vote subsidy. This is a mechanism that can be used to ensure all political parties can deliver their messages to Canadians, and it works to reduce private money and the potential of its influence in federal politics.
Although this is not the outcome we were hoping for, I want to assure you that I will continue advocating in Ottawa for constituents on this issue. Once again, thank you to everyone that took the time to share your concerns with me. I am proud to work hard for you and represent Kingston and the Islands in Ottawa.