Fair Vote Canada calls for a Cooperative Government and National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform
Great news! After two back-to-back false majority governments, Canadians finally have a House of Commons where parties will have to work together, ensuring respect for the views of a broader range of voters. Most Canadians will be relieved that one party with 39% of the popular vote will no longer be able to impose the whims of the Prime Minister’s Office unimpeded as we have seen for the past eight years under Harper and Trudeau alike.
Fair Vote Canada President Réal Lavergne suggests that this result obliges party leaders to look past partisanship in line with what Canadians want. “Canadian voters are ready for more collaborative decision-making. They expect politicians to work together, not in their own interest. We need a government for a full four-year term to deal with the climate crisis, keep our economy working, and deal with the uncertainties south of the border. Coalition governments are generally very stable, but even more importantly, they lead to policies that are built on consensus and can stand the test of time. Minority governments are affected by the temptation on the part of one party or another to roll the dice and try to win a false majority as soon as public opinion polls look favourable.”
A recent Angus Reid poll showed that 77% of Canadians want to move toward a system of proportional representation. One of the first orders of business for a coalition cabinet should be to establish an independent Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform to make recommendations on how to achieve that goal for implementation in time for the 2023 election, with a commitment to act on them. This will take electoral reform out of the hands of politicians.
Cooperative governments can work in many ways. In New Zealand, two parties formed a governing coalition, and the governing party also has a supply and confidence agreement with the Green Party. This is a positive alternative for a party or independents who might not wish to be part of a coalition.
Fair Vote Canada is a cross-partisan national citizens’ campaign representing almost 70,000 Canadians advocating for voting system reform. FVC promotes the introduction of an element of proportional representation in elections at all levels of government.