Maryam Monsef apology not accepted by everyone on electoral reform committee

Click to play video: 'Electoral reform fallout: What’s next for changing the system?'
Electoral reform fallout: What’s next for changing the system?
WATCH: After the insults and apologies, MPs on The West Block debate whether electoral reform is still possible before 2019 – Dec 4, 2016

NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice isn’t ready to either forgive or forget. Not even after Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef apologized to him and the other members of the electoral reform committee for “insulting” comments she made last week in the House of Commons.

The minister flabbergasted opposition parties on Thursday with a dismissive, hostile response to the majority report of the opposition-dominated committee, which recommended a new proportional voting system and a national referendum to gauge public support for it.

READ MORE: Maryam Monsef apologizes multiple times for saying electoral reform committee didn’t do their job 

Click to play video: 'Maryam Monsef apologizes for saying electoral reform committee didn’t do their job'
Maryam Monsef apologizes for saying electoral reform committee didn’t do their job

“What has been said has been said. It was insulting, quite frankly,” Boulerice said Sunday on The West Block with Tom Clark. “Not only for the members of the committee… but also for the thousands of citizens who participated in the process.”

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Another committee member, Conservative Scott Reid, said considering the minister’s apologies Friday, it’s time to move on to the substance of the debate – how, or even whether, to reform Canada’s electoral system.

“I take her apology and what she said at face value,” he told Tom Clark.

READ MORE: Committee suggests penalizing political parties that don’t run enough women 

The special all-party committee is recommending that the Liberals design a new proportional voting system and hold a national referendum to gauge how much Canadians would support it.

“We believe as long as the Canadian people get to decide on the [new] model there’s no danger to either Canadian democracy or to our own parties’ interests,” Reid said. “Nothing that is prejudicial to a fair voting outcome is going to make it through the test of our referendum.”

The report also recommended the government not proceed at this time with either mandatory or online voting.

In a dissenting report, however, the committee’s Liberal members – the party does not support a referendum – essentially recommended Trudeau abandon his promise to change the system before the next election.

READ MORE: A look back at Justin Trudeau’s promises on electoral reform

Trudeau – who promised that the 2015 federal election would be the last conducted under the current, so-called first-past-the post system – has already suggested that public enthusiasm for electoral reform has waned since his Liberals won power last fall.

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In an attempt to explain his minister’s outburst in the House of Commons, parliamentary secretary to the democratic institutions minister, Mark Holland, said Monsef’s outburst was born of frustration.

“I think what the minister was hoping for was a recommendation that was going to be specific system and we could move forward with that,” Holland said on Sunday. “What happened, unfortunately, is we got sort of a construct and there’s still a lot of work left to be done. So maybe there was a bit of frustration being expressed about that.”

With a file from The Canadian Press

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