Electoral Reboot: The Committee
The Special Committee on Electoral Reform met for the first time in June 2016, charged with examining alternative voting systems, mandatory voting, and online voting.
Sitting around the table were five Liberals, three Conservatives, two New Democrats, one Green, and one Bloc Québécois member. They have until Dec. 1 to submit their report to the House of Commons, based on the principles of effectiveness, legitimacy, engagement, inclusion, integrity, and local representation.
The committee started to meet in June, and welcomed academics and expert witnesses in Ottawa over the summer. They had much to say on voting systems, a potential referendum, the time need for effective reform, and more.
The committee visited Canada’s three largest cities, and all provincial capitals except for Edmonton, as part of its study:
- Regina, SK (Sept. 19)
- Winnipeg, MB (Sept. 20)
- St-Pierre-Jolys, MB (Sept. 20)
- Toronto, ON (Sept. 21)
- Quebec City, QC (Sept. 22)
- Joliette, QC (Sept. 23)
- Whitehorse, YT (Sept. 26)
- Victoria, BC (Sept. 27)
- Vancouver, BC (Sept. 28)
- Leduc, AB (Sept. 29)
- Yellowknife, NWT (Sept. 30)
- Montreal, QC (Oct. 3)
- Halifax, NS (Oct. 4)
- St. Johns, NL (Oct. 5)
- Charlottetown, PEI (Oct. 6)
- Fredericton, NB (Oct. 7)
- Iqaluit, NU (date TBD)
Canadians could submit written briefs up to 3,000 words.
The committee also approved “Open Mic” audience participation on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A motion from the NDP’s Nathan Cullen to formally incorporate questions from social media users was amended to simply give MPs the discretion to include such questions in their own speaking slots.
Geographically, five MPs hail from Quebec, with three from B.C., two from Ontario, and one each from Alberta and New Brunswick.
Conservative MP Blake Richards replaced caucus colleague Jason Kenney, who quit Parliament to seek the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative party.
The government’s original plan called for a Liberal majority, as with other standing committees on Parliament Hill:
They eventually accepted an NDP motion to re-design the committee, with amendments to give up their majority:
Here is Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef after announcing the change in early June: