A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, October 16, 2016

No Consensus without Referendum say Conservatives.

There will be no consensus that includes the Conservative party that does not include a referendum” “there is simply no flexibility of any form.”
Conservative MP Scott Reid the party’s senior member on the electoral reform committee.

Well Mr Reid how one can achieve consensus by setting preconditions, particularly ones that are all but impossible to achieve in the time frame available is beyond me. Then you have the gall to say:- “The Conservative party does not have a position,” “Our goal is to achieve a consensus, and by a consensus, I want to be clear, it would be all five parties onside, that would be the ideal,”
Mr. Reid issued the ultimatum after revealing the results of a vote Conservative MPs conducted through mailings to every household in their respective electoral districts over the summer that found 90-per-cent support for a referendum among the 81,000 voting-age constituents who participated.

Perhaps that should read 81,000 CONSERVATIVE constituents (of 5,600,000 + who voted for them last year).......
The mail-outs that went to each riding allowed for up to four votes per household.
The Conservative caucus organized the surveying of households after most of its MPs declined to take part in a town hall-style survey of citizen opinion on electoral reform.
As with the telephone town hall held by my local Conservative MP (does this count as one of the 60% of Conservative MPs who condescended to actually 'survey' their riding’s.) those surveyed seem to been carefully selected to get the results wanted.

Given the current legislation regarding referendums one can only assume that their aim is to totally destroy the process and any chance of change happening and thus remain with the status quo, which despite their assertions to the contrary is what they seem to want.

Appearing before the standing committee on procedure and house affairs
, Chief Electoral Officer Mayrand was asked by Conservative democratic reform critic Scott Reid to elaborate on a risk highlighted in the agency’s 2016-17 report on plan and priorities (RPP).
In the RPP, the agency states that it isn’t currently prepared to hold a referendum.“In order to conduct a referendum, the agency would require a minimum of six months following legislative changes,”
Note - Following legislative changes”!

The Referendum Act is outdated — it has not been changed since 1992, which is the last time we had a national referendum. In that regard, it’s very much out of sync with the Elections Act — particularly around political financing,”
There’s no limit on contribution by any entities, so this might come as a shock.”
No kidding, a shock hardly covers it, can you just imagine the advertising promoting one system or another by the various Partys, their supporters and the various 'citizen' groups that have sprung up if there were NO limits on spending. May as well turn off your TV for six months!

I would put before the committee that legislation enacting reform should be there at least 24 months before the election…There’s all sort of hypotheses — I don’t know exactly what the reform will be — but if it involves a (boundary) redistribution exercise, which PR (proportional representation) does by definition — this is a significant undertaking,”
Whilst I note that not all PR systems require riding boundary changes certainly Elections Canada would need considerable time to set up the practical aspects of any new system, including educating the public as to how it works. If legislative changes have to be made to the Referendum Act, which in and of itself would open a whole new can of worms, then it would seem that electoral reform would be all but imposable before the next election. Perhaps this is exactly what the CPC wants?

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Owen Gray said...

The Conservatives are stuck, Rural. They've been stuck for a long time. Nothing new here.

Rural said...

For a moment there I misread your comment and dropped the 't'. LOL

rww said...

By definition, if you have a consensus, you do not need a referendum.

Rural said...

Unfortunately there will never be a consensus on this within the canadian public however it would be a big step forward if all the committee members could come to an agreement upon the recommendation to parliament.