Government of Canada proposes All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform

News Release

Ottawa, ON, May 11 2016 - The Government of Canada will keep its commitment to give Canadians a stronger and more representative voice in future elections. Canada is better when its government works for everyone – including women, young people, Indigenous Peoples, and new Canadians.

The Minister of Democratic Institutions, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, gave notice of a motion to establish a special all-party committee on electoral reform.

The Government has asked that the committee identify and study a number of different voting systems – such as preferential ballots and proportional representation – to replace the first-past-the-post system. The Government has also asked that the committee consider the issues of mandatory voting and online voting.

The Government’s main objective is to replace first-past-the-post with a system that will deliver better governments for all Canadians and asks the committee to focus on five key principles to get this done:

  1. The link between voter intention and election results;

  2. How to foster civility in politics and increase voter participation;

  3. Steps to strengthen inclusiveness and accessibility;

  4. Ways to safeguard the integrity of our voting system; and,

  5. Taking into account local representation.

The Government asks the committee to invite Members of Parliament to host town halls with Canadians across the country to consider – together – how the principles should be reflected in our electoral system.

The process will reflect our shared values of fairness, inclusiveness, gender equity, openness, and mutual respect, and steps will be taken to make sure that all voices are heard in this important debate. The proposed committee would provide a meaningful role for all parties, including those without recognized party status, and table its report by December 1, 2016.

More Canadians than ever are looking for opportunities to participate in our democracy. It is time to create an electoral system that is broad, representative, and treats voters’ views with respect.

Quotes

“Canadians deserve a government that treats their views with respect. Our country is better when governments work for all Canadians, including women, young people, seniors, Indigenous Canadians, new Canadians, those of modest means, Canadians living in rural and remote parts of our nation, and people with disabilities and exceptionalities. We deserve broad, representative politics, a stable government and an opportunity to shape our democracy. That’s why our government is determined to meet our commitment that 2015 was the last election to use a first-past-the-post system.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions

“The Government is committed to ensuring that Canadians see real change to the way politics and government work. We will focus on listening to Canadians across our diverse society. Parliamentarians will need to set aside narrow partisan interests and engage in a thoughtful and substantive dialogue with each other and citizens. Canadians deserve that kind of leadership from their Parliament.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Quick Facts

  • Under the current electoral system, known as first-past-the-post or single member plurality, the winning candidate in an electoral district must obtain a plurality of the votes cast and not a majority. This system routinely produces situations in multi-party systems where over 50% of constituents did not vote for their Member of Parliament or for candidates representing the governing party.

  • Since Confederation, there have been only six federal elections where the party forming government had more than 50% of the popular vote, and it has been more than a generation since this last occurred.

  • Special all-party committees are formed through a motion passed in the House of Commons. The Government is proposing a special all-party committee on electoral reform composed of 10 members, plus two ex- officio seats for non-official parties.

  • Although the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada do not have recognized party status in the House of Commons, it is proposed that they each have one ex-officio member who will be able to fully participate in the committee hearings, but will not be a voting member of the committee.

  • The special all-party committee is to issue its final report to Parliament by December 1, 2016.

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Contacts

For further information (media only):

  • Jean-Bruno Villeneuve
    Issues Manager and Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Democratic Institutions
    (613) 995-0238

  • Sabrina Atwal
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
    613-995-2727
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