Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a meeting with members of the China Entrepreneur Club with at Willson House in Chelsea, Quebec, Canada, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Reuters: Canada's Trudeau backs away from electoral reform promise
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday indicated he was backing away from his pledge to reform Canada's electoral system after political opponents accused him of trying to rig it to benefit his ruling Liberal Party.
Trudeau took power last November vowing to scrap Canada's first-past-the-post system, which allows a party to win a majority government with less than 40 percent of the popular vote.
He initially promised new rules would be in place for the next election, scheduled for October 2019. But in an interview with the French-language Le Devoir newspaper, he made clear the timetable was likely to slip.
"If we're going to change the electoral system, people have to be open to that," Trudeau said, adding that major changes would need the substantial backing of Canadians.
"If we get less support, it might be acceptable to make a small change," he added in his first comments on the matter.
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WNU Editor: For those who may not know .... I live in Canada. I became a citizen of this country because I fell in love with its political/economic/social institutions and its respect for law, traditions, and history. That is why when I first heard that after being elected last year the new Liberal government were planning to change an electoral system that has served this country extremely well since its founding almost 150 years ago .... I let the few Liberals that I know in the government how upset I was about this. The cardinal rule is that when something "is not broken, do not fix it". But for some of these Liberals .... and I am putting it bluntly .... the priority for them was to fix and rig a system that would insure that the Conservatives would never have a majority in government again. Canada is a parliamentary system, but Canada is also a country that is predominantly liberal and/or far left in its thinking (about 55% of the population, and about 75% in the province of Quebec where I live). But if 40% - 43% vote Conservative in a general election .... the probability of a Conservative majority government is all but guaranteed .... with the rest of the vote being split among the other parties. To change that .... which is what many Liberals in the government want .... you propose the system that they have proposed (a formula for proportional representation, and a majority vote in a riding). Fortunately .... the backlash has killed this idea. But I know how these Liberals think .... it is on the shelf for now, but if the moment comes when they think that they can pass it .... expect it to pass and you can then kiss-away an institution that has served this country extremely well for this long.