Government says no to changing electoral system

Government says no to changing electoral system

February 1, 2017 UPDATED 5:02pmET

The government has abandoned its plan to change Canada’s electoral system for the 2019 election, according to a new mandate letter.

Watch tonight’s PrimeTime Politics (8pm ET / 5pm PT) for full coverage. 

Here’s the instruction from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, who took the job last month:

There has been tremendous work by the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform, outreach by Members of Parliament by all parties, and engagement of 360,000 individuals in Canada through mydemocracy.ca.  A clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged.  Furthermore, without a clear preference or a clear question, a referendum would not be in Canada’s interest.  Changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate.

Trudeau faced questioning inside the House of Commons from NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. Watch excerpts:

Here’s Gould speaking to reporters this afternoon, followed by NDP and Green party reaction:

The 2015 Liberal platform called for an end to traditional “first past the voting,” and promised legislation by spring 2017.

A special committee considered alternatives in 2016 before recommending a referendum on proportional representation. However, there was not full consensus among the committee’s 12 MPs, with Liberals and the NDP/Greens adding supplementary reports.

The government also conducted an online survey late last year.

-Andrew Thomson