Dear St. Catharines Residents,
I wanted to take a moment and address the recent decision by our government to not move forward with the reforming our electoral system. I am very much aware of the strong feelings by some residents in regards to this topic.
Our government spent the past year soliciting the input of Canadians. A special committee was struck and toured our country and many Members of Parliament held local town halls, including myself, to hear directly from Canadians. It was one of the broadest consultations conducted by the Government of Canada.
I support electoral reform. I supported the Prime Minister when he made his pledge in 2015, and supported him this week when it was announced we would not be moving forward. While I believe we would be well served by some type of new electoral system, to date there has been no consensus on which system should be selected, let alone a clear understanding of a system that could be presented to Canadians in time for 2019.
As many of you will see in the media, there are many extreme views in regards to this topic. Many will claim that a “consensus” was clear, that is not accurate.
During our local town hall, several preferences were noted but it was clear that there was a significant divide between those who supported a ranked ballot and proportional representation. I have also met with several stakeholders, including the President of Fair Vote Canada. The President of Fair Vote noted several proportional representation and mixed-member options, which could result in St. Catharines not even having a representative in the House of Commons. To me this is not at all acceptable and I could not support any system that resulted in St. Catharines not being represented by a resident of the city.
With the high level of division on changes to the fundamental way we vote, the Government cannot move forward.
My hope is that this allows you to understand the tough decision that was made this past week. Sometimes doing the right thing for the country is not always popular. We listened, we consulted and unfortunately we could not move forward.
I am deeply honoured to serve as your Member of Parliament and am proud of the work our government has done and will continue to do for St. Catharines and Canada.