Majority of Canadians want referendum on electoral reform

August 12, 2016

With the Rio Summer Olympic games well underway, I’d like to congratulate our Canadian athletes on their accomplishments.

Canadians understand that during Olympic Games, first past the post decides the winner of each game. The same goes to the Stanley Cup playoffs, or the Grey Cup playoffs. The team with the most points is the winner, and that is a good way of determining who made the best effort and should be recognized as a champion or winner.

When you elect federal Members of Parliament in Canada, since we became a country in 1867, we have successfully had peace, order, and good government through the First Past the Post electoral system. It simply means that the candidate with the most votes in any given electoral district, is elected in that district. This was true in Bow River in October 2015, and in the other 337 federal electoral districts, also called ridings, across Canada. We have the same system in all Canadian provinces, and at the municipal level as well. It has worked well over the last hundred plus years, it has rendered stable governments for Canadians.

Now, the Liberal government wants to change the way Canadians vote, based on a promise in their 2015 campaign platform.

It seems like the system has accomplished its intended goal of delivering stable governments. The Conservative Party has been clear, that before making such a crucial change to the basic tenets of our democracy, the government must give all Canadians a say through a national referendum.

Because I believe the First Past the Post system has in fact served us well, I believe it’s critical that in this referendum, a question must ask Canadians if they are satisfied with First Past the Post as the way they elect M.P.s. Recent polls have said 73% of Canadians demand a referendum on electoral reform, and we expect The Liberal government to respect that very large majority of Canadians.

The Conservative Party will respect the results of any national referendum, and we hope the Liberal government will do the same. You will soon receive a householder, my quarterly newsletter at your door. In it, you will find a survey that I hope you will complete, so that your voice will be heard on electoral reform.

Please feel free to share your concerns about the electoral reform plan with my office, which can be reached at martin.shields@parl.gc.ca, or 613-992-0761, or my Brooks office at martin.shields.c1@parl.gc.ca, or 1-844-241-0020.