Justin Trudeau admits he never intended to consider evidence on electoral reform

(OTTAWA) – Today, during a media conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted that he never intended to consider the findings of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform – unless it suited his predetermined preference for a ranked ballot voting system.

“It’s not the Liberals who wanted ranked ballots, it’s Justin Trudeau,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “I thought this Prime Minister wasn’t about top-down dictatorship. On other issues, the Prime Minister defers to his cabinet members, but it’s clear that on electoral reform, this was his personal preference without regard for the evidence.

“Anyone who looks at the Liberals’ dissenting report from the Special Committee on Electoral Reform will see it doesn’t mention wanting ranked ballots. Indeed, if you look at page 66 of our majority report, there is evidence to show that the only system that distorts the intent of voters and ‘misbehaves’ more than First Past the Post is ranked ballots,” Ms. May said.

Some of the Committee’s most persuasive testimony was that of Arendt Lijphart, Professor emeritus from the University of California, San Diego. His years of study of 36 modern democracies is empirical evidence that proportional representation serves citizens far better than majoritarian systems, such as FPTP or ranked ballots.

Lijphart's seminal work, Patterns of Democracy, clearly shows how democracies that have adopted a voting system of proportional representation have: higher voter turnout, elect more women, greater ethnic diversity, as stable and marginally more stable governments, superior macroeconomic performance, and more effective environmental protections.

Expert witness statements to the ERRE committee also included:

  • Wilfred Laurier Prof. Brian Tanguay, the author of Voting Counts: Electoral Reform for Canada: “Although (alternative vote) does give greater choice to the voters, it seems to replicate all the problems that we find in first past the post.”

  • Waterloo Prof. Byron Weber Becker: “If all of the ridings use alternative vote, then the system as a whole becomes very disproportional and Canada as a whole suffers.”

Bruce Hyer, GPC Deputy Leader and Electoral Reform Critic, said: “It is no wonder that over a third of Canadians no longer vote, when our flawed electoral system means that their votes rarely count unless they vote for one of the two main parties. It was always very clear to me that Justin Trudeau never had any sincere interest in real electoral reform, and that he knew that ranked balloting would favour the Liberals even more than our current archaic and anti-democratic system.

"Trudeau did deceive many voters who are independent or support other parties and who believed him, and voted Liberal for meaningful electoral reform. They believed that Trudeau intended some sort of proportional system where if a party received 39% of the national vote, they would receive 39% of the seats, as is the case in over 90% of the world’s advanced democracies. Trudeau’s election promises are turning out to be only that."

- 30 -

For additional information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Dan Palmer
Press Secretary | Attaché de presse
m: (613) 614-4916