Changing Canada’s Electoral System by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

This is the title of a press release by MP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, Scott Reid. Reid is a critic for Democratic Institutions and he was responding to the Hon. Maryam Monsef, the minister of Democratic Institutions, on their plan to change Canada’s electoral system. Details of the plan are sketchy at this time but it appears that such measures as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting are being considered but the public at large will not be consulted since there will be no referendum on any of the changes.

As Reid points out in his press release, “Liberal party governments in British Columbia (2005 and 2009), Prince Edward Island (2005), and Ontario (2007) put their proposed reforms to a referendum. In peer countries New Zealand (1992, 1993, and 2011) and the United Kingdom (2011), the people were similarly consulted by way of referenda. Modern democratic history overwhelmingly supports the use of referenda when changes to an electoral system are proposed.”

According to Wikipedia, Reid believes in referenda as a means of consulting constituents on important issues. He has held six constituency referenda since he was first elected in 2000. So it comes as no surprise that he would be one of the first to use an e-petition, a new system through which Canadians can create, sign, and monitor e-petitions on the Parliament of Canada website His petition calls on the “Minister of Democratic Institutions to hold a referendum on any changes to Canada’s federal electoral system.”

To sign this e-petition or for more information, see