Akin to the betrayal Claudio felt as he watched his betrothed with another man, or so he thought, some Canadians are seething at the most blatant broken promise from the Trudeau government to date.
Election promises often remain as just that — a promise. To appease the public, the government will toss a few bones, and the public will cling to the hope that maybe this time it’s different, that maybe they will follow through with what they committed to doing, which was the reason they cast a vote in that direction.
“As Prime Minister, I’ll make sure the 2015 election will be the last under first-past-the-post system,” @JustinTrudeau tweeted in Sept. 2015.
But last week, Trudeau didn’t beat around the bush when he stated in a mandate letter to his new Democratic Institutions minister that there will be no referendum on electoral reform in time for the 2019 election.
“A clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone consensus, has not emerged,” he wrote. “Furthermore, without a clear preference or a clear question, a referendum would not be in Canada’s best interest.”
This is after, a Special Committee on Electoral Reform spent six months consulting with Canadians on electoral reform — and discovering there was a clear preference for proportional representation.
Our Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, the NDP democratic reform critic, spent six months on the special committee as vice-chair listening to Joe Smith and Donna Rogers about what electoral reform means to them.
Then, Cullen and the committee produced a 348-page report on their findings, stating that the overwhelming majority was in favour of proportional representation rather than the first-past-the-post system.
All that work, taxpayer money, and political energy could have been spent elsewhere — such as on updated infrastructure, another promise — if the federal government had no real intention of changing the system.
Committees and reports lose their validity each time they’re ignored. In this issue of The Northern View, we report on the environmental assessment review expert panel and their follow-up report on the hearings in Prince Rupert.
Will this report potentially be just another waste of taxpayer money, time and energy?
It’s likely. Because, in the end, Trudeau’s majority government will, inevitably, do whatever it wants and throw taxpayer dollars to committees as an appearance of consultation while it decides on what it really wants to do to keep power.
If Trudeau had meant to keep his promise, he could have.
Methinks he doth protest too much.