Having rejected Electoral Reform, Trudeau must now step down or risk Canada electing a pro-Trump government | Unpublished

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Unpublished Opinions

James OGrady's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

I am the founder of Unpublished Media Inc., a company I started in 2012. I am also a communications professional and community activist, living in Nepean, Ontario. And, I am a hockey goaltender, political hack and most importantly, an advocate for grassroots, participatory democracy at all levels of government.

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Having rejected Electoral Reform, Trudeau must now step down or risk Canada electing a pro-Trump government

February 12, 2024
Political cartoon of Trudeau exploding over the Electoral Reform Committee Report in 2016 after he didn't get what he wanted; c/o Toronto Star

Both the majority of Liberals and Conservative MPs didn’t partake in last week’s parliamentary vote for a Citizen’s Assembly to evaluate the best form of Proportional Representation for Canada. 

Once again Justin Trudeau failed to live up to his promise of ensuring Canadian elections are fair for all. Last week NDP MP Lisa Marie Barron put forward a motion calling for a Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform, like the one we had in Ontario in 2007. The Ontario Citizen’s Assembly recommended MMP (Mixed Member Proportional) as the best choice for Ontario, which is the form I favour as well because it’s a simple adjustment for voters and works off our current First Past the Post model. There are other options of course, but I believe a Mixed Member Proportional electoral system would be the best fit for Canada.

How MMP Works

Every voter gets two votes instead of just one. Instead of voters being able to vote for just one candidate, you can also choose which party you’d like to support. It can be the same party as the candidate, or it can be a different party. The choice is for voters to make.

The extra flexibility allows voters to support smaller parties if they choose with their second vote while also voting for their favourite candidate. Or if they don’t like the candidate running for their favourite party, they can vote for someone different, while also voting for their preferred party. After the votes are tallied, additional seats are awarded to ensure each party has the number of seats that properly reflects the popular vote they received in the election.

The reason many Canadians want electoral reform is because a First Past the Post system (FPTP) with more than two parties often results in more votes being cast that don’t end up electing someone. These votes are sometimes referred to as “wasted votes”. This has lead to voter dissatisfaction and disenfranchisement over time where we now often see record low turnouts. But, with some form of Proportional Representation like MMP, a majority of votes cast would go toward electing MPs. The hope is this will bring voters back into the fold and help make our democracy more representative of the true will of the Canadian public.

I also prefer it because I believe that when power is too concentrated in the hands of a few (cabinet) or in just one person, the PM (PMO), a First Past the Post (FPTP) system is easily corruptible. We witnessed this in spades during the SNC Lavelin Affoir when former SNC Lavelin CEO Neil Bruce appeared to have Justin Trudeau on “speed dial”. It was hard to know who was calling the shots.

Unpublished polls and shows on the SNC Lavalin Affair: 

With some minor tweaks, like using an open list as opposed to a closed list, party leaders can’t use it to remain in parliament unless they earn it at the ballot box. This was a problem among some european democracies who adopted the closed list approach. An open list, based on how candidates fair during the election campaign fixes the problem. 

I’d also like to see political parties crack the 5% popular support threshold to ensure they actually earn the right to be there. 10%, as my Liberal MP suggested back in 2016, is too high and seems designed to maintain the status quo rather than allow voters more choice.

Strategic voting is the bane of Canadian society

Both the Liberals and Conservatives fear the end of “strategic voting” but for different reasons. The Liberals because they fear many Canadians will vote for other progressive parties instead of them, or split their vote between two progressive parties. The Conservatives oppose it because they fear that without their negative campaign tactics more Conservatives would stray to the PPC or even to the Liberals depending on who the leader is. Which could result in the CPC being shut out indefinitely by a coalition of progressive parties.

Worst of all, the result of FPTP elections is often either a false majority government, or as we saw in 2021, a false minority government. Where the governing party has won more seats in the House than their popular vote warrants.

Both these historical governing parties have traded turns governing for over 150+ years now. Encouraging Canadians to vote strategically against who they don’t want rather than for who they do want in almost every election. Mainly because it’s much easier, as we see with Poilievre’s Conservative Party, to bash your opponent than it is to put forward intelligent policy. Something Poilievre has rarely done.

He started recently with auto theft crime, but he’s made the mistake of cherry picking numbers.  Auto thefts have not been on the rise since 2015 when Trudeau came into power, as Poilievre claims. It’s a new phenomenon that’s emerged post-pandemic. Organized crime appears to be filling the void of supply chain gaps in the auto industry. The numbers show the big jumps occurred in 2022 and 2023. In Ontario this has occurred on Doug Ford’s watch. Ford claims to be tough on crime but his recent move to remove the need to renew license plates will hardly help police track stolen vehicles. He seems more concerned with building roads through environmentally sensitive areas than he does with fighting crime. 

Unfortunately, Poilievre has done little to separate himself from Donald Trump and the Christian Nationalists driving his re-election campaign. In addition to parroting Donald Trump’s memes, his obvious opposition to supporting Ukraine is a complete reversal from Stephen Harper’s foreign policy position on Ukraine, and is a big shift away from traditional Canadian foreign policy toward an isolationist approach, reminiscent of America pre-WWII. 

It’s Canadian tradition to support Ukraine due to the many refugees who have come to Canada over the last century, sent here by Russian aggression.  Harper, to his credit, nearly punched Vladimir Putin at an G20 event in Australia in 2014 when he told him to get out of Ukraine. 

Public Opinion Polls moving quickly  in the wrong direction for Trudeau

Across the isles in the House of Commons Justin Trudeau has been floundering in the polls. His many scandals have worn the shine off of his 2015 “Sunny Ways” election campaign win. He’s proven now that he is not his father. His cabinet is weak and ineffectual. 

And, with the recent Abacus Data poll showing the gap widening up to 19 points now between Poilievre and Trudeau, strong majority government territory, along with Trudeau's incredibly naive refusal to bring in an electoral system that might very well have saved his government, Trudeau must now step down as leader of the Liberal Party to allow the party to elect a new leader who can breath new life into it. This person will need time to get their feet on the ground before the next election in the fall of 2025, so it’s now or never.

Canada simply can’t risk someone beholden to Donald Trump becoming the Prime Minister of Canada. The world can’t afford it. Our multicultural society won’t support an extreme right-wing government of the type Poilievre represents.  And, because of how our First Past the Post electoral system works, the only way to defeat Poilievre now is for a new Liberal leader to take the helm.

Country before Party and personal legacy Justin. It’s time for you to do the right thing for Canada. 

—James O’Grady




Charles Phelps
February 13, 2024

FPTP has served Canada very well for our entire history.  Only lately since divisive politics created by Pierre Trudeau has stratigic voting seemingly come into vogue!!!  That kind of politics has been practiced mainly by the liberals and to some extent by the NDP.  But getting down to today's situation, what we are dealing with is a current government that has proved over and over again that it is corrupt to the core.  That it prefers to choose ideology over common sense & what is best for our country and our citizens.  A government that is willing to sacrifice our standard of living and our well being to pursue a policy that is increasingly shown to be futile.  By this I mean, the most recent analysis shows China is emitting more CO2 than the rest of the world combined!!!  Next we have India who is working to match China's output.  Then we have Trudeau in Canada who thinks destroying our economy and standard of living will save the world!!!!  Only complete fools would buy this line of thinking!!!  Canada needs to face some realities.  China is far to entrenched in Canada's economy.  Especially in mining.  Canada's board that decides where to put our CPP investments is far to involved with Chinese companies.  China is not our friend!!!  Get used to it!!!!   Under liberal governments, Canada's military has declined!  Canada couldn't defend Vancouver Island let along anywhere else!!!  We need to rebuild our military and that requires investment.  Probably a lot more than just the 2% asked by NATO.  Canadian provinces need to quit deluding themselves that money will fix our healthcare system.  There are multiple examples from other countries that have far more successful healthcare systems.  We need to start utilizing some of their successes!!!  Poilievre has stated that if he is PM he will install X-Ray units that can check containers  for stolen vehicles and I presume other things like illegal drugs.  I have been asking why this hasn't been done for decades!!!!   Then we get down to Canada's oil and gas.  Trudeau thumbed his nose at Germany and Japan when they came asking for billions of dollars worth of our natural resources.  Billions of dollars that Canada needs for the social programs that Canadians want but really can't afford.  Just another example of why Trudeau and the liberals should be wiped off the politica map in the coming election!  For those that point out that Canada has no export facilities for such,  we have two projects coming on line, one in 2024 and one in 2025.  But just for comparison, Germany built there LNG receiving facility in 6 months!!!  But the liberals have turned down such a project for the east coast.  Just really poor governance!!!   Can Canada really afford another liberal government lead by Trudeau???  The answer is a resounding NO!!!!!

February 13, 2024

Don't disagree with most of what you're saying. We need a change in leadership at a very minimum. The world is moving faster than we seem to be. 

FPTP hasn't worked since multiple parties started to arise, over 100 years ago.  Strategic voting has been a things for a long time. I think it's why the NPD have never formed government at the federal level. Many ridings are often won by less than 50% of the popular vote. Which is what we've seen every election in my 57 years except for Brian Mulroney's first majority government. It was a true majority. But, it has been the only one.

The problem is that this means more than 50% of the votes cast were cast for other parties or candidates. Leading to a majority of the people being dissatisfied with the outcome from the outset.  And, of course, as time moves on they become less and less engaged. Low turnout becomes the outcome, which is the opposite of what a strong democracy needs. Corruption loves a vacuum, people need to engage in our democracy. I believe voting is mandatory in Australia. Is that a solution? They also use a proportional system. 

I think it would help if we could find some way to better reflect the will of the collective majority in parliament rather than that of the minority. Somehow doesn't make sense to me. 

Thanks for the feedback. 

February 13, 2024

I was duped into voting Liberal/Trudeau based on his promise to end first past the post and actually save our democracy and implement some sort of PropRep. Shame on me for being so foolish in believing him/them. Never again but regardless we desperately need electoral reform. I don't even care who is in power anymore, I just want it to be fair which it sure isn't. 

February 13, 2024

Agreed, Thanks for the feedback.