Even Liberals are divided on reforming Canada’s voting system: Mark Holland

Click to play video: 'MPs divided on reforming Canada’s voting system' MPs divided on reforming Canada’s voting system
Mark Holland, Parliamentary Secretary for Democratic Reform, Conservative MP Scott Reid and NDP MP Nathan Cullen join Tom Clark to discuss ending first-past-the-post and their parties’ positions on electoral reform – May 15, 2016

The Liberals may have a majority of seats on a new committee looking into changing how Canadians vote, but the party’s parliamentary secretary for democratic reform says there’s disagreement even within his own caucus about how to overhaul the system.

Mark Holland joined Tom Clark in The West Block this weekend to talk about ending first-past-the-post by the time the next election rolls around in 2019. Holland said that while there’s been criticism about the Liberals allegedly ‘stacking the deck’ in favour of whatever reform will favour them politically, Canadians might be surprised by the diversity of opinion within his party.

“I mean you look at Stéphane Dion and a number of other ministers who are big proponents of other systems over proportional representation. We have other members who favour the (ranked ballot system) and I’ve got other colleagues who favour other systems we’re not even talking about.”

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READ MORE: Are Canadians ready for e-voting, or mandatory voting?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his own opinion on electoral reform in the past, seemingly favouring ranked ballots because the Liberals, as a centrist party, would tend to be the second choice for many voters both on the left and the right.

WATCH:  Tom Clark breaks down the debate over our voting system, and why each party favours a different outcome

Click to play video: 'Liberals taking steps towards electoral reform' Liberals taking steps towards electoral reform
Liberals taking steps towards electoral reform – May 11, 2016

The NDP’s Nathan Cullen and Conservative MP Scott Reid were also on hand to weigh in on the next steps. Cullen said he looks forward to working with other parties to come up with a plan for reform, but the government should have built a more balanced committee. The recent experience with assisted-dying legislation doesn’t fill him with hope that the Liberals will accept all opinions, he added.

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“The Liberals …defeated virtually every amendment the Opposition brought forward on an incredibly important issue to many Canadians about end of life,” Cullen argued.

Reid maintained that the Conservatives feel a referendum is necessary to determine the will of the Canadian people on the issue.

“The only way to get around this problem is to design a system by whatever means, and then take that system and put it before the Canadian voters, because the Canadian voters will not accept a system that is stacked in favour of any party.”

Watch the full panel discussion above. 


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