Nation Valley News
STORMONT-DUNDAS-SOUTH GLENGARRY — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has seemingly gone wobbly on his push to eliminate Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system this term, and local Tory MP Guy Lauzon says it’s a good thing.
In recent media comments yesterday reflecting on his first year in office, the prime minister suggested that electoral reform is no longer the priority it once was.
“It is good news,” Lauzon told Nation Valley News, adding a public survey recently conducted by the Conservative Official Opposition showed Canadians overwhelmingly opposed to dumping the traditional first-past-post ballot without a referendum. “I think it’s because there’s been such an outpouring of public opposition,” he added of the prime minister’s seeming shift on the issue.
He also suggested the parliamentary committee exploring the elections overhaul has run into less support for the Liberal position — from other left-leaning members — than the governing party might have hoped.
In Lauzon’s riding of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, the survey of over 1,800 residents showed 96 percent favouring a national referendum prior to reforming the federal election system. Across the country, 92 percent of 80,000 participants held the same view, says Lauzon.
The Trudeau Liberals have been working on major electoral changes that are supposed to be effective in the next federal election, without subjecting the plan to a potential veto by the general public.
The last time residents of Lauzon’s district were confronted with the elimination of a first-past-the-post electoral system, when the Ontario government proposed a type of proportional representation at Queen’s Park, the matter was decided by referendum. More than 60 percent of Ontario voters rejected those changes in 2007.
“The public just has no appetite for this,” said the MP, noting that further clarification on the prime minister’s intentions will be sought in the House of Commons.
Lauzon also said there are bigger issues confronting the government, including anemic economic growth now projected at 1.1 percent this year.