Ask ethics probe of Trudeau’s reversal on fair vote process
October 12, Fair Vote Canada and Democracy Watch released a letter to federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, filing a complaint and requesting investigations and public rulings concerning Prime Minister Trudeau’s dishonest actions concerning electoral reform.
The letter sets out evidence that Prime Minister Trudeau’s statements and actions violate rules in the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons (the “MPs Code”) and in the Conflict of Interest Act.
Leading to the 2015 election, Prime Minister Trudeau promised unequivocally to end the first-past-the-post system and replace it with a system that would “Make Every Vote Count”. The promise was repeated over 2,000 times and was a key plank in the Liberal platform.
For five months, the MPs on the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) heard evidence and pleas from Canadians to change the voting system to one reflecting proportional representation.
After months of testimony from academics, experts and citizens, the ERRE submitted a majority report. Fully 88% of these expert witnesses called for a proportional system, according to Fair Vote Canada.
This consultative process was the fifteenth in Canada. Every one recommended moving to a proportional voting system. Yet our Prime Minister decided arbitrarily that "all forms of proportional representation would be bad for Canada."
This reversal of his promise and rewriting of the facts show a lack of integrity. It suggests Mr Trudeau made his promise of electoral reform solely to attract voters and never intended to honour this promise. This becomes clearer, considering that both his election promise and the original mandate letter for the Minister of Democratic Institutions explicitly referred to proportional representation as an option, yet the Prime Minister now states he always thought proportional representation would be bad for Canada.
Canadians need to feel confident that those we elect are honest and put the needs and desire of citizens before their partisan self-interest.
“If the Ethics Commissioner fails to investigate or finds Prime Minister Trudeau didn't violate any rules with his dishonest statements and actions, it will show that the rules do need to be changed to prohibit politicians from misleading voters with false promises and claims in-between elections," said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.
Both Fair Vote Canada and Democracy Watch want honesty and integrity in politics. The broken promise on electoral reform is a stellar example of why it is necessary to request investigations and public rulings concerning Prime Minister Trudeau’s actions on electoral reform. Policies are in place to protect citizens against dishonesty but they are only effective if implemented.
We hope the Ethics Commissioner will use the tools at her disposal to restore integrity to Canadian politics.
Kelly Carmichael, FVC,