Really, Ms. May?

There was a last shot fired in the federal election on Sunday that really disappointed me. I thought more highly of Elizabeth May of the green party. After all, where have you heard this line before? “Elect (this party) and this will be the last federal government in Canada chosen by the first-past-the-post system.”

Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed it was said by liberal Justin Trudeau in 2015. He was also wrong. This time, it was said by the green’s Elizabeth May

But what really annoyed me was that Ms. May was there, on the special committee of parliament, that blew smoke on Justin Trudeau’s promise. I watched one very long summer to every live-streaming meeting of that special committee, that I could, read all the transcripts and noted Ms. May’s usually thoughtful and succinct comments.

What those committee hearings showed us was that there were few academics or elections experts in Canada or around the world who really understood the different strategies on voting—their weaknesses and their strengths.

The teaching moment was lost though when the various parties represented on the committee came to the voting on what to do. It was the hardened intransigence of the conservatives that forced the committee report that the liberals could not accept. Justin Trudeau might have thrown his hands up in surrender but he did not change his mind. He was determined that his government was not going to agree to a referendum that would prove nothing.

Canadians had already demonstrated in three provinces, that included Ontario and British Columbia, that they would be quite unlikely to approve any recommendation on voting other than first-past-the-post.

There is still a faction who believe that some change is necessary. As we come to accept Internet voting as the safe, inexpensive and fast way to vote, we can look at the French system of run-off elections. This might be the compromise that is needed.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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