PM blaming others

Late last week, the House of Commons adjourned after a raucous final few weeks of vigorous debate.

One of the contentious subjects that arose again was electoral reform.

As many will know, the Prime Minister famously promised

"2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system."

That campaign promise that has since been abandoned by the Liberals.

This subject has again surfaced because the Prime Minister told reporters at the end of sitting press conference that the opposition was to blame for not providing a path forward on electoral reform. 

Most Ottawa observers and many MPs alike agree that is absurd and inaccurate.

It is important to understand that the all-party parliamentary committee studying electoral reform travelled in excess of 30,000 kilometres over a four-month time frame and held roughly 60 different meetings, hearing a wide range of input and opinion on this subject.

The findings of that study were very similar to what I heard here in our region. Of those who did support democratic reform, there was overwhelming support for proportional representation.

Likewise, there was also a strong consensus that a formal referendum was necessary on the subject as ultimately democracy in Canada belongs to Canadians and not elected officials.

I mention these points as there most certainly was a path forward for the Prime Minister to proceed on electoral reform, unfortunately that path was of no interest. Why?

Ultimately, the preference of the Liberals was a ranked ballot and not proportional representation, as a ranked ballot system most benefits the Liberals.

At the time the Prime Minister made his promise for electoral reform, he offered no disclaimer that it would only apply for a ranked ballot system, an omission that has angered many who support proportional representation.

Regrettably, the approach of "ranked ballot or nothing" essentially means the all-party committee studying electoral reform spent $600,000 on a report that ultimately was never going to be accepted unless it fit the Liberals preference for a ranked ballot.

As much as I strive to be non-partisan in these weekly reports, the behaviour of our Prime Minister in this particular area was regrettable.

Increasingly, Canadians see broken promises and I am of the opinion that if a leader has to break or go back on an electoral commitment, that he or she should state compelling arguments why these campaign promises are no longer possible or not in the national interest. 

Rather than taking responsibility, we see instead the blame being cast at others, in this case at the opposition, who proactively worked together hearing the concerns of Canadians.

As I like to end my reports on a positive note, I would like to thank the many volunteers who will be putting on Canada Day events across our great country. In any democratic society there will always be those times where we agree to disagree.

As Canadians, we do so respectfully, but more importantly on July 1 we will set aside those differences and we will collectively celebrate our love for Canada and the diversity we share as a nation.

Please have a safe and enjoyable Canada Day! 


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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