MP: Be cautious on electoral reform

Conservative members in the House of Commons have demanded a referendum

Cam Fortems, Kamloops This Week

A strong response so far on a MP mailer from Cathy McLeod aimed at raising awareness and gauging opinion on electoral change shows there is a need by government to move cautiously.

The Conservative MP for Kamloops send out a pamphlet in the mail early last month on the Liberal government’s proposals to change the way politicians are elected. She also asked through a survey whether local residents believe a referendum is needed.

“They’re still coming in in big stacks,” she said of return of the surveys. “In terms of my mailers, it’s [return] substantial.”

Prior to the October election, the Trudeau Liberals promised to make it the last election through today’s first-past-the-post method. Conservative members in the House of Commons have demanded a referendum.

Speculation is the Liberal government will favour a preferred ballot system whereby voters mark candidate preferences in order. The winner would be the first candidate reaching a simple majority.

While the system is an answer to so-called strategic voting and “wasted votes,” critics say the Liberals are choosing a system in which they will be the most frequent second choice on ballots — giving the party a long-lasting strategic edge.

“My point is democratic change is huge,” McLeod said. “It’s a significant change and the precedent in Canada and a lot of countries is it’s gone to a referendum of the people.”

 

McLeod said she will tally responses in a few weeks.