The NDP slammed the Liberal government on Thursday for breaking “a sacred oath” a year ago when it announced it would not move ahead on electoral reform in Canada.
In the House of Commons, the NDP’s Nathan Cullen said Feb. 1 is probably a day the Liberals “are hoping Canadians forget all about.”
“Despite this betrayal, hope is alive in Canada,” Cullen added.
“All opposition parties in Quebec have promised to bring in proportional representation, Prince Edward Islanders voted for it, and in my home province of British Columbia, premier John Horgan will be campaigning for it in the fall.”
Cullen then asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government to apologize and “get to work on real electoral reform.”
Minister of Democratic Reform Karina Gould stood in response, telling the House that “Canadians want us to focus on what unites us, not what divides us.” That comment drew laughter from the opposing benches.
“My job is to strengthen and protect our democratic institutions and ensure they protect the values of Canadians,” Gould said.
Gould had just been named minister on the file in early 2017 when she was given the unenviable task of announcing that the election promise was to be abandoned.
A significant amount of work, including public consultations and the formation of an all-party committee of parliamentarians, had already been done at that point.
In an interview with CBC earlier this week, Trudeau stood by his decision. The prime minister also said he has no plans to resurrect the campaign promise unless the other federal political parties can agree on a system other than proportional representation.