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Trudeau clarifies stance on electoral reform after taking heat from critics

Click to play video: 'Trudeau clarifies stance on electoral reform after taking heat from critics' Trudeau clarifies stance on electoral reform after taking heat from critics
Trudeau clarifies stance on electoral reform after taking heat from critics – Oct 20, 2016

Justin Trudeau is pivoting, again, when it comes to talking about where he and his party stand on reforming the country’s electoral system.

“Because there are so many different viewpoints out there within the political parties and within the different regions across the country, it’s important to have the open process of deliberation that will come forward with recommendations that Canadians support,” the prime minister said at an event in Brampton, Ont. on Thursday.

Trudeau went on to say he would not preclude any recommendations he receives from the special committee the Liberals struck to tackle the question of electoral reform.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau wavers on electoral reform promises

Just one day earlier, however, on the one-year anniversary of his rise to the Prime Minister’s Office, Trudeau sang a different tune, telling readers of the Quebec daily Le Devoir that the need for change was much less urgent than previously thought.

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WATCH: Trudeau backing away from promise of electoral reform

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Trudeau backing away from promise of electoral reform – Oct 19, 2016

He chalked up that mood swing to the change in government from a Conservative majority to a Liberal majority.

“Under Mr. Harper, there were so many people unhappy with the government and its approach that they were saying, ‘We need electoral reform in order to no longer have a government we don’t like,'” Trudeau explained in French.

“However, under the current system, they now have a government they are more satisfied with. And the motivation to want to change the electoral system is less compelling.”

READ MORE: Changing Canada’s electoral system: What are the options?

That line of reasoning lay in stark contrast to what Trudeau repeated often throughout the 2015 campaign. The Liberal leader was categorical: there was an urgent need to reform the system by which voters elect their government and Oct. 19, 2015 would be the country’s last fought under the first-past-the-post system.

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In Question Period Wednesday, Trudeau side-stepped questions on the matter, saying he would not use his party’s majority to “ram through” electoral reform.

WATCH: PM Trudeau brushes off electoral reform question by Tom Mulcair

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PM Trudeau brushes off electoral reform question by Tom Mulcair – Oct 19, 2016

In a first-past-the-post system, the candidate with the most votes – though not necessarily a majority – in a riding wins.

Critics of the first-past-the-post system say it silences the voices of millions of voters.

A number of MPs were elected with less than 50 per cent of the popular vote in 2015, leaving the majority of the people in those riding unrepresented, according to Leadnow, an independent advocacy group.

READ MORE: Electoral reform consensus elusive as cross-country consultations continue

The Liberals struck a special all-party committee on electoral reform tasked with studying viable options for electoral reform. That could include preferential, or ranked, ballots and proportional representation.

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The committee is expected to issue a report to the House of Commons with recommendations by Dec. 1.

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