What Trudeau said: A look back at Liberal promises on electoral reform
In December, an all-party committee released a report recommending the Liberals design a proportional representation voting system and hold a national referendum to gauge support.
At the time, the Liberals refused to knowledge a consensus; two months later, Trudeau directed the minister of democratic institutions to abandon electoral reform altogether.
Trudeau’s new mandate is a total reversal from his promises on the campaign trail.
Starting at the beginning, here’s a look at what Justin Trudeau and his Liberal colleagues have said about electoral reform and how it has changed since election day.
June 16, 2015 — Trudeau unveils plan to ‘restore democracy’
Trudeau promises to make “every vote count,” while on the campaign trail.
“We are committed to ensuring that the 2015 election will be the last federal election using first-past-the-post.”
WATCH: Major electoral reforms coming 18 months after Liberals are elected: Trudeau
A national engagement process will be executed, Trudeau pledged, and within 18 months of forming government the Liberals “will bring forward legislation to enact electoral reform.” A ranked ballot system, proportional representation, online voting, and mandatory voting will be examined, he said.
The promise was repeated in Liberal party election materials.
WATCH: Consultation the right path, not referendum, for electoral reform: Trudeau
Dec. 4, 2015 — Throne speech pledges to boot first-past-the-post
As the new Trudeau Liberal era was ushered in, Gov. Gen. David Johnston delivered a throne speech outlining the new government’s priorities. Among those priorities: getting rid of first-past-the-post.
“To make sure that every vote counts, the Government will undertake consultations on electoral reform, and will take action to ensure that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.”
Dec. 17, 2015 — Justin Trudeau denies electoral reform favours Liberal party
Trudeau denies any changes to Canada’s electoral system will solely benefit his party.
“It would be easier to do nothing and sit back and just say, ‘Okay, you know what, this worked for us, I think we can make this current system work for a few more mandates’ … But that’s not the kind of leadership that Canadians expected,” he said during an interview with the Canadian Press.
The Liberals announced plans for a special all-party committee on electoral reform, which must deliver a report by Dec. 1. During the announcement, Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef reiterated that first-past-the-post would be gone by 2019.
“2015 was the last time that, federally, we will have had an election under the first-past-the-post system,” Monsef said.
“2019 may be conducted under proportional representation or a ranked ballot system, or a hybrid of existing systems.”
WATCH: 2015 ‘the last time’ Canadians will vote in first-past-the-post federal election
Oct. 19, 2015 — Trudeau wavers on electoral reform promises
“If we’re going to change the electoral system, people have to be open to that,” Trudeau told the newspaper. “If we get less support, it might be acceptable to make a small change.”
Then in Question Period that day, Trudeau side-stepped questions on the matter, saying he would not use his party’s majority to “ram through” electoral reform.
Oct. 20, 2016 — Electoral reform may not be necessary anymore: Trudeau
After fallout from the newspaper report, Trudeau clarified his stance — and continued to back away from electoral reform.
“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 at an event.
“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.”
Nov. 27. 2016 — Monsef won’t guarantee a new electoral system by 2019
Monsef refuses to commit to getting rid of the first-past-the-post voting system by 2019, in an interview with Global News.
“How do we gauge whether or not this reform has the broad support?” Monsef said. “We’re counting on that committee to come back to us and, if all goes well, we get to introduce legislation to that effect in the House of Commons in the spring.”
The all-party committee released it long-awaited report, recommending the Trudeau government design a new proportional voting system and hold a national referendum to gauge how much Canadians would support it.
The majority report acknowledged the “overwhelming majority” of testimony the committee heard from almost 200 electoral experts and thousands of interested Canadians was in favour of proportional representation.
Later, in Question Period, Monsef said she plans to review the report, and recommends her colleagues do the same.
“The only consensus that the report found was that there is no consensus on electoral reform,” said Monsef.
WATCH: Liberals dance around if referendum will be held following reform report
“I’d like to sincerely apologize to the members of this House, to Canadians and to the members of the special all-party committee on electoral reform,” Monsef said Friday.
“In no way did I intend to imply that they didn’t work hard, that they didn’t put in the long hours, that they didn’t focus on the task at hand; Mr. Speaker, I thank them for their work.”
WATCH: Maryam Monsef apologizes to electoral reform committee for comments she made in the House of Commons
The Trudeau Liberals put the final nail in the coffin, completely abandoning any plans for electoral reform.
“Changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate,” Prime Minister Trudeau wrote in a letter to newly appointed Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould.
Cross-Canada consultations failed to signal great demand for electoral reform, Trudeau said. A national referendum would not be happening either.
“A clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged,” Trudeau writes. “Furthermore, without a clear preference or a clear question, a referendum would not be in Canada’s interest.”
With files from the Canadian Press and Global News
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.