NDP open to referendum on electoral reform

NDP open to referendum on electoral reform

November 17, 2016 8:56amET

New Democrats are open to including a referendum option in the final report of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, if it leads to consensus among the parties, according to the NDP democratic reform critic.

“We think the notion of this coming forward from the committee, hopefully in an all-consensus manner, will give Canadians a great deal of confidence that parliamentarians are putting aside our partisan interests to achieve something for the common good,” said Nathan Cullen after Wednesday’s question period.

“We have some reservations of course, because referendums are very powerful tools. They have to be handled with a great deal of respect and done properly in order to be effective.”

Conservative members on the Special Committee on Electoral Reform have already called for a referendum on any change to Canada’s traditional First Past the Post system.

The 12-member committee is meeting in camera this week and has five Liberals, three Conservatives, two New Democrats, one Green, and one Bloc Québécois member. They must report to the House of Commons by Dec. 1.

The NDP’s official submission to the committee pointed to public support for proportional representation. The party has in the past called for a mixed-member proportional (MMP) system.

Prince Edward Island voters recently gave the most support to MMP in a non-binding provincial plebiscite.

Watch the full news conference:

-Andrew Thomson