Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken numerous election pledges since taking office but the fracturing of a very clear promise to reform Canada’s electoral system before the next election is perhaps the most egregious because of the cynicism with which it so evidently reeks.
Trudeau’s Liberal government began February by breaking one of the central promises of the campaign that swept them to power in October of 2015.
During the last federal election campaign Trudeau promised the 2015 election would be the last to use the first-past-the-post system.
It was a black-and-white promise that was repeated in the speech from the Throne.
Then early this month Trudeau threw new Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould out in front of the media to deliver the news the government would be abandoning that promise.
The news while not shocking brought to fruition a betrayal of hundreds of thousands of Canadians who cast ballots based on the electoral reform promise and who participated in the government’s badly and intentionally flawed MyDemocracy.ca survey last year.
That survey – which asked precisely zero questions about what alternative voting methods Canadians might prefer – was cited by Gould as she told reporters falsely that there was no consensus from Canadians when it comes to changing the voting system.
While the questionnaire was intentionally murky Canadians are smart enough that they managed to navigate a smokescreen with 70 per cent responding they favour a system that makes multiple parties accountable for decisions instead of one.
In other words 70 per cent of respondents preferred some form of proportional representation the method of voting used by most of the world’s modern democracies in 2017.
Gould recently replaced embattled former minister Maryam Monsef who was shuffled to a new cabinet position in early January. Both women – the youngest members of cabinet thrown to the dogs – were tasked with the impossible chore of a portfolio where the Prime Minister had every intention of breaking a central election promise.
Trudeau showed cowardice earlier this month by putting Gould out in front of the press rather than confronting them himself about what appears to have been a lie.
Trudeau was called a liar by NDP MP Nathan Cullen who said the Prime Minister had spit in the face of Canadians.
While a lying politician may be nothing new the most disappointing part of this particular political dumpster fire is its immense cynicism. The immense cynicism of a leader who promised to be different than his predecessors but is exactly like them. This is a dark move of self-preservation by one of Canada’s two oldest federal parties the only two to ever hold power.
And that cynicism is contagious. It diffuses out into the country.
“I’m afraid that people will not show up to vote at all” Green Party leader Elizabeth May said following the announcement. “That’s the biggest risk.”