Thursday, July 16, 2015


There are some interesting things happening on the democratic reform front across the Gulf of St. Lawrence in little Prince Edward Island.

The government has released a white paper on electoral reform which offers three choices for voters. First-past-the-post, the current voting system; Some form of proportional representation; Preferential ballot, or ranked ballot.

A special five member committee of the legislature will use the white paper as a basis for consultations. They will report back in November.  A question and a proposed change will be crafted and put forward in a plebiscite in early 2016.

This is a major step forward and is something that I wish the government in this province had considered as part of a broader democratic reform package than the simple electoral boundary review process which it is bound to do every ten years. 

Our approach has resulted in less input for rural parts of the province and the continuation of the status quo - which has not served us well. Frankly, the public must be tired of the posturing that masquerades as real reform.

We are tired of politicians protecting their own self-interest through a system that is weighted against third parties. A system that reflects representation for all voters is a laudable goal.

This continued game of political ping-pong ensures the same backroom cliques remain in control of government - a virtual monopoly for the ideologically similar Liberals and Progressive Conservatives

Reforms like those proposed in the PEI white paper would allow for real change. 

Islanders have rejected proposed electoral reforms before. The Binns government went to the public with a proposed electoral reform package in 2005. Efforts to reform the first-past-the-post system have failed in both Ontario and British Columbia.

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