We can’t decide what’s more egregious, breaking the promise to bring federal electoral reform to this country or blaming that decision on the electorate.
The worst thing though, is that we’re not going to get the changes that are so badly needed to reinvigorate our democracy.
Last week, the Liberals announced that they were not going to pursue electoral reform, something that had been a key part of their election platform.
Justin Trudeau personally promised, on numerous occasions, that reform was coming.
They’ve even done some (no doubt expensive) preliminaries, such as hold committee and cross-country public meetings. There was also an online poll to gauge support.
And yet now, they claim there isn’t support to go forward.
We find that difficult, if not impossible to believe. Just in the pages of this newspaper we’ve printed many letters arguing what kind of electoral reform, if any, is best.
And that’s just from the Cowichan Valley, one small area. It’s unlikely that we’re a special case.
Make no mistake, this is a flat-out broken promise now being sold to us as something precipitated by the people.
It’s far more likely that now that the existing system is working just fine thank you very much for the majority government Liberals that they have no appetite to rock that boat.
Especially since the types of electoral systems favoured by many of those advocating for change and even the government’s own committee are more proportional in nature and tend to lead to minority or coalition governments, not majorities where one party and one leader can do whatever they want.
And let’s be clear, that may be a hindrance to efficiency, but then again, a dictatorship is efficient.
A true democracy takes into account the will of the people — and sometimes that means wrangling out compromise because not all of the people want the same thing at the same time.
We’d choose that over the efficiency of unilateral action any day.
Every government will eventually disappoint us.
Unless we are the ones making all the decisions, it’s impossible to have universal agreement at all times.
But the disappointment in this decision to abandon electoral reform is profound.
It is a betrayal of the electorate, condemning us to a system that will continue to stifle our voices, when we could at least be striving for something better.