I visited my MP Randeep Sarai’s office as part of a delegation from Lead Now to talk about electoral reform. His assistant told us they have already had their consultation and their finding was that there was no consensus on the issue. So we were told they are done listening.
As a longtime resident in the constituency who has advocated for electoral reform and has even held a public forum in Surrey on the issue, I was never approached or consulted, nor were other colleagues who have worked on this issue.
The fact is, there is never a consensus on any issue. So if you do a focus group of hand-picked people with a set of leading questions, then you will get the result you want. This is what was done by all Liberal MPs across Canada.
The prime minister made it clear that his preferred electoral system was an alternate or ranked ballot system and not proportional representation preferred by the NDP and Greens, nor a referendum preferred by the Conservatives.
So because the Liberals did not find support for the system they preferred, they dropped the idea using a controlled consultation by Liberal MPs saying there was no consensus for electoral reform.
On the government’s MyDemocracy.ca website asking for citizens’ input, none of the questions asked about what system was preferred by respondents. However, on the question asking whether further action was needed to better represent people who are under-represented in Parliament, more than half of respondents (52 per cent) said yes, which would be a majority in a referendum question.
There was a mandate for change, which the government chose to ignore because there was no support for their preferred system.