(Ottawa) Some Liberal elected officials like the idea of bringing back the debate on the reform of the voting system by creating a citizens’ assembly, as proposed by the New Democrats in a motion which must be put to the vote on Wednesday.
“For a citizens’ committee to look into this issue, without politicians, it’s a good idea,” believes Franco-Ontarian MP Francis Drouin. The elected official specified that he will vote in favor of the motion before going to the weekly meeting of the Liberal caucus.
The day before, his colleague Marc Serré indicated that he “really likes the idea” put forward by the New Democratic Party (NDP). “There are certain steps that we must take to improve (citizen) participation,” said this other Franco-Ontarian MP in the press scrum, referring to Canadians who do not exercise their right to vote.
Mr. Serré, however, did not confirm that he will support the motion, specifying that his final decision had not been made.
During the debate in the House on the New Democratic proposal, liberal Leah Taylor Roy did not hide her enthusiasm.
In his opinion, the initiative could be a way of responding to disinformation, a current that is fueled, in a certain way, by important political decisions that are taken far from the gaze of citizens. “A citizens’ assembly allows discussions to be held within the hearing of Canadians,” she argued.
It remains to be seen how many Liberal MPs will vote in favor. The New Democrats already know that they can count on the support of the Bloc, but many other supports will be needed for the motion to be adopted.
Liberal MP David McGuinty believes that the debate on electoral reform should take place on the floor of the House since Parliament constitutes, in his eyes, a citizens’ assembly.
“We have a House of Commons. We are all elected. We have a responsibility to represent,” he argued to journalists.
The Conservatives seem inclined to vote against, if we rely on a speech in the House delivered Monday by their MP Michael Cooper. He was warmly applauded by his colleagues who were present.
“I don’t think it’s an accident that we’ve seen, in 150 years, a peaceful transfer of power. (…) If the system is not broken, then there is no need to repair it,” he said, specifying that a change in the voting method can only be decided by referendum.
In 2015, Justin Trudeau’s government was elected promising to reform the voting system. He then abandoned this commitment during the first of his three terms. No consensus had been found on the preferred formula to replace the nominal majority vote in one round.
The motion on which elected officials will vote on Wednesday is not binding, but it could resurrect a debate postponed indefinitely.