28,000 sign petition to bring back electoral reform

Liberal’s abandoned electoral reform not sitting well with opposition
WATCH: Prime Minister Trudeau promised electoral reform would be in place for the next election. Now he is under intense criticism for backing away from it. Eric Sorensen looks at why Trudeau would risk the political damage of breaking a promise.

A petition calling on the federal Liberals to reverse their decision to scrap electoral reform plans has attracted over 28,000 signatures.

During the campaign, the Liberals promised to introduce electoral reform legislation by the 18-month point in their mandate, which works out to May 4, 2017.

“We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system,” the Liberal platform document told voters.

The platform was open-ended about what form reform might take, naming ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting as possibilities.

READ: Justin Trudeau bails on long-held promise to change Canada’s voting system

On Wednesday, however, a mandate letter written by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for newly appointed Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould made it clear that electoral reform – once top of mind for the Liberal government – is no longer on the agenda.

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“Changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate,” Trudeau wrote in the letter, released Wednesday.

“A clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged,” Trudeau wrote. “Furthermore, without a clear preference or a clear question, a referendum would not be in Canada’s interest.”

The NDP’s Nathan Cullen described the move as “perhaps the most cynical display of self-serving politics.”

READ: Trudeau called a ‘liar,’ the ‘most cynical’ of politicians for ditching electoral reform promise

The largest number of signers said they were from Ontario, with strong participation from Alberta and B.C.

Proportionate to population, Alberta and B.C. had the highest participation rates.