Blaine Calkins
Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe

2016-08 (August)

Electoral Reform = Referendum 

 

When Canadians went to the polls last October the Liberals were promising Real Change, a 96 page document that promised everything from modest budgets, small business tax cuts and more money for middle class Canadians.  Buried in that document was three sentences proclaiming that this past election was going to be the last election under First-Past-The-Post, a system we have been using since Confederation.

Democracy is about the people and for the people; blood has been shed by our soldiers to protect our freedom and democracy.  The Liberal Party and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believe they have a divine right to our democracy and they have used many misleading tactics to push their desired outcome on Canadians.  One of those tactics is using their failed candidates to host Electoral Reform Town hall meetings; another is leaning on their organized labour friends to help gerrymander the process. 

In July, I received a letter from Hassan Yussuff, President Canadian Labour Congress demanding to know when and where I will be holding a town hall meeting on Electoral Reform. At a time when the unemployment rate is over ten per cent in Red Deer and Alberta has lost over 100,000 good paying jobs, the Canadian Labour Congress seems to be more interested in interfering with the way we elect Members of Parliament than advocating for workers in the labour movement.

Similarly, the Liberals are more interested in repaying favours to their big union friends, ignoring the economy and taking selfies.  Canada lost over 71,000 jobs in July but the Prime Minister has been missing in action for weeks.  Almost 1,000 Canadian Public Service workers have gone months without being paid because this government ignored warnings to delay the roll out of a new pay system.  Yet the top priority of this Liberal government is to change the way we vote.

Canada has elected federal representatives using the First-Past-The-Post voting system since confederation, it is simple and people understand how it works.  In jurisdictions around the world that employ a Mixed Member system or Proportional Representation citizens wait days and sometimes months to find out the results of their elections. 

Abraham Lincoln said “Elections belong to the people.  It’s their decision. …” Elections and the system we use to elect Members of Parliament form the foundation of what our country is built on.  Changing the way we vote, should be the priority of citizens’ not political parties, union bosses or failed Liberal Party candidates.  The Liberal government must call a referendum if they are intent on changing the way we elect MP’s.

This is not the time to have an agenda driven by the squeaky wheel or union bosses; the Government should be focused on creating jobs, building a stronger economy and keeping communities safe.

 
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Blaine Calkins - Member of Parliament for Red Deer - Lacombe