A federal NDP MP says she is putting forward a motion tomorrow in Ottawa that will give Canadians more say over the electoral system and how elections work.
Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Lisa-Marie Barron says her motion calls on the government to implement a National Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform to give Canadians the tools they need to provide key recommendations to the government on how to best strengthen Canada’s democracy.
“It is very evident to me we are seeing delays, and barriers, in legislation put forward with increased adversarial politics,” Barron says. “This is all rooted in a foundation of an electoral system that’s outdated.”
According to the government of Canada’s website, the current electoral system of ‘first past the post’ has been in use since it was set out in section 51 of the Constitution Act in 1867 and allocates 338 seats in the House of Commons to each province and territory, based on relative population and size.
Barron says the system is outdated and no longer provides proper, up-to-date, representation today.
“We don’t have the representation that matches our communities,” she says. “We have 30 per cent women elected in government, and women count for over 50 per cent of those in our general population.
“We can say the same about those who are racialized, and people with disabilities, there are so many ways in which our MPs are not representative of our communities.”
Barron adds the motion would remove the partisan of current-day government, which would allow for better, more informed decisions to be made in the future.
“People across the country are asking for a National Assembly on electoral reform implemented to take the partisanship out of politics,” she says. “This way we don’t have politicians making decisions based on the next election cycle.
“Instead, we’re saying we’ll have a representative independent, non-partisan citizen’s assembly that will work alongside experts to determine the best path forward, and those recommendations would go to the Liberal government.”
The current electoral system allows a party to achieve a majority government with only 30 per cent of the vote, which Barron feels is not representative of the needs of Canadians and her motion would make sure equal representation is met.
“This would identify the challenges, and move forward recommendations on the best solutions,” she says. “There would be representation from Ontario and Quebec, but there would also be equitable representation from BC, Newfoundland and Nunavut.
“This would make sure we move forward.”
Electoral reform was campaigned on by the Prime Minister in 2015, but since then Barron says nothing has been done to update the election system in Canada.