Canada to look at replacing first-past-the-post election system

Wed May 11, 2016 11:55am EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will set up an all-party committee to study alternatives to the country's first-past-the-post voting system, the ruling Liberals said on Wednesday, a move that could drastically reshape the way its governments are elected and formed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who won power last year, had pledged that 2015 would be the last election in Canada to use the electoral system it inherited from Britain.

Advocates of reform note the current system allows a party to win a majority government with less than 40 percent of the popular vote.

Many European countries, including Germany, use alternatives like proportional representation, which can help spur the creation of multi-party coalitions.

The proposed Canadian committee will study different voting systems, such as preferential ballots and proportional representation, and also the possibility of mandatory and online voting.

"Our country is better when governments work for all Canadians," Maryam Monsef, the Liberals' minister of democratic institutions, said on Wednesday. "We deserve broad, representative politics, a stable government and an opportunity to shape our democracy."

The committee would be made up of 10 members drawn from the three major parties - the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats - as well as one non-voter each from the smaller Green Party and Bloc Quebecois. The committee would report its findings and recommendations to parliament by the beginning of December.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by James Dalgleish)

 
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau casts his ballot at the polling station as his son Xavier and daughter Ella-Grace watch in Montreal, Quebec, October 19, 2015. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi