Electoral reform should still be a priority

Gord Johns in the News

Source: Nanaimo News Now

lectoral reform, which was a major promise from the Liberal government in the last federal election, should still go full steam ahead according to an island MP.

Courtney-Alberni MP Gord Johns, who hosted several public electoral reform meetings in 2016, said Canadians will get their voice back with a move to proportional voting.

"Young people in particular have not been coming out to the polls and to make sure people get out to vote, we need to make sure their vote counts."

Focusing on Vancouver Island specifically, Johns said it's unfair the NDP captured six of the seven electoral seats with 30 per cent of the vote.

"It may be beneficial to the NDP on Vancouver Island, but it's not beneficial to the general public to ensure their vote counts."

He said moving away from the current first-past-the-post system will engage Canadians and benefit government.

"It's proven that government who have more proportional voting have better protection of the environment, more women in power and more balanced budgets. It's something which stirs collaboration and inspires votership turnout."

The results of a reform survey were released on Tuesday and showed nearly 70 per cent of Canadians were satisfied with how democracy works but were open to change.

Johns said he heard from Canadians they were disappointed with the survey and the limited options presented, though it doesn't mean citizens weren't engaged.

At the public town halls he hosted, Johns said "over 90 per cent of people who attended wanted a change in the system" and they received over 1,000 mailers showing reform was a major issue for residents.

An all-party parliamentary committee is tasked with having a new system in place by the next scheduled federal vote in 2019.

Johns said it's "unheard of" for all the parties to be brought together and agree with a recommendation and he hoped the cooperation will lead to a brighter future for Canadian politics.