Roundup: Trudeau’s missing electoral reform link

Apparently, we’re going to prosecute the demise of electoral reform yet again, after Justin Trudeau was asked about it in his end-of-sitting press conference yesterday. Trudeau, to his credit, was a bit more frank and earnest than he has been on this in the past, and laid out how he had always been in favour of ranked ballots because they eliminate the need for strategic voting, and the opposition was so solidly in their own camps – the NDP for Proportional Representation and the Conservatives for status quo with the added kicker of demanding a referendum – that Trudeau ended up pulling the plug, because he sees PR as bad for the country (he’s not wrong) and referendums even more problematic (again, their track records globally right now are not good).

Of course, everyone freaked out about this answer, and starting howling and frothing at the mouth about how much he’d betrayed them with this promise. Of course, per his promise he did draw up a committee and consult, but he pulled the plug before changing the system.

Part of the problem – aside from the fact that it was a stupid promise to begin with – was that the Liberals on the electoral reform committee didn’t make the case for ranked ballots, nor did they call any witnesses to put forward that position, and apparently disinvited the ones who had already been invited. Having listened to the eager faces on the committee, I’m not entirely convinced that this was simply a cynical ploy the whole time, but I do think a great deal of naïveté was at play, where they were trying to be open-minded – something none of the other parties could say, as they did their utmost to stack the process from the beginning, both with the torqued composition of the committee itself, to the selection of witnesses, to the so-called “consensus” in the report (which was hot garbage, let me reiterate).

The fact that the Liberals played coy about their Trudeau’s preference was certainly a problem. Maybe it’s because they were trying to avoid the myth going around that ranked ballots were “First-past-the-post on steroids,” a characterization based on the analysis of a single poll of second-choice votes of the 2015 election, which was neither authoritative, nor did it take into account the fact that it didn’t produce such a result in Australia, and yet this notion hovered in Canadian media for months. So the handling of this whole affair continues to mystify, but for the love of all the gods on Olympus, can we just bury it already?

Good reads:

  • At his press conference, Trudeau also reiterated that the sniper shot in Iraq was consistent with our mission, and downplayed fears of the Norsat sale to China.
  • Trudeau also said he’s fine with the way the Senate is going, but it’s the Conservatives who are obstructing (which they object to).
  • Also from Trudeau, why he says he doesn’t tout how well our economy is doing, and he’s blaming the Conservatives for the size of the deficit.
  • The Chief Justice of the Federal Court says they need an additional $25 million to avoid things like IT failure and to address staffing issues.
  • Scott Brison says the government is reviewing recommendations around strengthening whistleblower protections.
  • The government suspended provisions in the anti-spam law that would allow private litigation against companies, which business lobbyists are happy about.
  • The government lost their bid to halt a trial against solitary confinement, as there is no guarantee their bill mandating limits will pass.
  • The government is now letting self-governing First Nations keep their own revenues without clawing back transfers while they come up with a new system.
  • Kady O’Malley delves into the riding-level political fundraising reports.
  • Kim Campbell talks about being outspoken on social media.
  • Susan Delacourt talks about the wedge that the Trumpocalypse is driving between Canada and the US, and how it may be more long-lasting.
  • My column looks at how Senator Peter Harder put himself in an untenable situation when he tried to play hero on the budget implementation bill.

Odds and ends:

Here is more about the Queen’s Guards, and how it was that a Canadian was the first woman to command them.

Despite just having had his term as Ambassador to France renewed, Lawrence Cannon says he’s stepping down in September.

A new climate change ambassador was named after the position was vacant for almost two years.

3 thoughts on “Roundup: Trudeau’s missing electoral reform link

  1. Trudeau made a big mistake on electoral reform. Would have been better to listen to all the witnesses and take more time and instead of pulling the plug simply impose the system he liked. Then few could say that he did not keep his promise. This will come back to haunt him come the next election.

    • Nothing was ever going to happen before the next election, even assuming there was no constitutional challenge. It was a thoroughly idiotic campaign commitment, stated so emphatically that he could not wiggle out of it. I agree it will haunt him, though.

  2. I don’t think that this issue will be a factor in the next election. Few Canadians gave this issue the attention that political insiders think they did. 40% don’t vote, of the rest 30% {Tories} want first past the post, so in my mind it is a tempest in a teapot. More importantly the electorate will decide how well Trudeau handles the Trump epoch. For the Conservatives it will be a game changer also because if they don’t rally around the current government rather than trying to score political points they will feel a backlash.

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