Letter to Justin Trudeau on Cooperation and Proportional Representation

A letter was sent to the Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau....

Your party has not yet embraced proportional representation as the best means of electoral reform, although there are Liberal Party activists promoting it. Ironically, it was a Liberal-appointed Law Commission of Canada that came up with an excellent made-in-Canada proposal: Mixed Member Proportional. Unhappily the government then rejected it. We argue that the reasons for adopting it are even greater now than ever, given its use in other democracies like others, notably Scotland, Germany and New Zealand. We urge you to keep your mind open on this crucial subject!

 

June 14, 2013

Justin Trudeau, MP

Leader, Liberal Party of Canada

 

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Congratulations on your victory and best wishes in your new and difficult role as party leader.

We write to ask you to consider the near-taboo subjects of electoral alliance and proportional representation. You know that Joyce Murray, who supports both, ran second in the leadership race (you were well ahead, we realize). Nathan Cullen similarly received a lot of support in the NDP leadership race for his promotion of alliance and PR. Polls show that a growing number of Canadians want both.

The Canadian Electoral Alliance was formed in 2011 in response to the dismal result of the federal election. Many of us were prompted by the urgent need to act on climate change, aware that the Conservatives are moving us in the wrong direction. We include Liberals, New Democrats, Greens and people of no political affiliation (no announced Conservatives).

For many Canadians, getting rid of the Harper government is essential. You think (as Mulcair does for his party) that you can do this by winning a majority. Perhaps you will, or he will. But if the Conservatives win another majority, we will see more of what we value lost.

If Harper does not get a majority of seats, are you open to talking with Mulcair about a coalition or accord?

We would prefer taking the initiative to prevent another Conservative majority, by an alliance, for 2015 only--not a merger--to target, say, the 50 most vulnerable Conservative seats. The simplest way to do this would be for the third party in the previous election not to run, but to support the second, effectively Liberals and New Democrats combining forces. (Cullen had a different approach, and others are possible.)

Your party has not yet embraced proportional representation as the best means of electoral reform, although there are Liberal Party activists promoting it. Ironically, it was a Liberal-appointed Law Commission of Canada that came up with an excellent made-in-Canada proposal: Mixed Member Proportional. Unhappily the government then rejected it. We argue that the reasons for adopting it are even greater now than ever, given its use in other democracies like others, notably Scotland, Germany and New Zealand. We urge you to keep your mind open on this crucial subject!

Can we talk? Make a presentation to you and colleagues, answer questions, listen to your concerns and explore possibilities?

Yours sincerely,

Lynn McDonald, Wing Wo for Canadian Electoral Alliance