Re: “Who do we vote for,” by Andy Thomsen (Courier, Aug. 22).
In every election, voters have two areas of consideration; the quality of the local candidate and the quality of the party platform and its leadership.
Party platforms and policy are not developed in a vacuum. As a member of a political party, I can personally attest to the numerous and continuous requests for input from my party for feedback on every policy decision. Parties also have reams of staff-monitoring media and public opinion daily.
Policy is built on collaboration, behind closed party doors, sure, but collaboration nonetheless, from the broadest perspective possible.
And to reiterate; after Justin Trudeau was elected, true to his word, electoral reform was studied for a whole year by a cross-country panel with a registered attendance of 361,000 (1%), Canadians that heard from more than 80 expert witnesses who offered no persuasive argument one way or the other, their only recommendation was “to just go ahead and change and voters will have to get use to it.”
But, warned that voters did not understand how the new voting systems worked and that any change would first weaken our democratic system before it would strengthen it.
Then two things happened at the end of that year, 2016; polls indicated 86% of Canadians were satisfied with first past the post, because it was easy to understand and had in fact provided Canada a vigorous democratic system for 150 years already; and the second was Donald Trump was elected and our established relationship with our largest trading partner changed in the blink of an eye.
The prime minister made a difficult decision and decided that now was not the time for social experiments. So he wisely put electoral reform away and focused on dealing with the new U.S. administration.
And, the faulty ethics report which muddied the water further, because constitutional experts remind us, to seek to influence the decision of another is insufficient to be a contravention of Section 9 of the Conflict Act; talking to ministers and their staff is not only allowed, but is required for government to function properly.
Justin Trudeau shouldered the responsibility of the ethics report findings and promising to do better. As far as thinking men and women are concerned, he is still the best choice for prime minister.