EDITORIAL: What happened to ‘Real Change’?

Perhaps the real reason we aren’t going to see this promise fulfilled is because the Liberals benefited too greatly from the current system

Leading up to the 2015 election, there was a resounding sentiment from much of the country that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives needed to go.

Strategic voting became the name of the game in many ridings, with thousands of Canadians voting for the party they felt had the best chance to topple Harper, rather than their actual preferred candidate. Websites popped up telling voters in each riding how they could oust the Tories and who to vote for if that was their hope.

On the West Shore, many voters likely abandoned thoughts of voting for the Liberals or Greens in the newly created Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding, as redistributed results from the 2011 election showed the Conservatives and NDP to be neck and neck. Conservative candidate Martin Baker finished a close third as the NDP’s Alistair MacGregor secured a seat for the not-Harper camp.

Strategic voters saw this as a necessary evil, but took comfort in the fact that both the Liberals and NDP had vowed that the 2015 vote would be the last one under the first-past-the-post system. A win by either of those two parties would allow voters to pick their preferred representative without giving a second thought to strategy.

“Real Change” touted Trudeau, promising a strengthening of the middle class, improved environmental policies and electoral reform.

You can safely throw that last item away, after the PM wrote a mandate letter to Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould stating that consultations have shown Canadians aren’t keen on electoral reform, and not to consider a national referendum on the matter.

Perhaps the real reason we aren’t going to see this promise fulfilled is because the Liberals benefited too greatly from the current system, where they less than 40 per cent of the vote but won more than 54 per cent of the seats.

Regardless of what Trudeau may think we want, Canadians deserve to have the ultimate say on this issue through a referendum. His decision is disheartening and breaks a campaign promise that, as of this week, remained on the Liberal party’s website.

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