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Electoral Reform Is Out and So Is Trust

Sat, February 04, 2017   |   Author: Peter Vogel   |     

A promise that is worth making is worth keeping, even if it will not benefit the one keeping it.

The promise of electoral reform by our Prime Minister was a promise that should have had an asterisk attached to it. The fine print would read: “This is a Liberal promise, subject to sudden cancellation”.

That is the state of many election promises, and it is unacceptable.

After the Prime Minister recently shuffled his cabinet, a rookie MP was handed the electoral reform file (from another rookie MP) and given a mandate to break an election promise. Karina Gould had to go out to the media and announce that the Prime Minister would not be keeping his promise of electoral reform before the next election. A rotten job, no doubt, but probably the price she had to pay to become a cabinet minister. In this way, the Prime Minister himself did not have to face the media directly and face up to his lie.

He was roundly accused of lying by NDP MP Nathan Cullen during a press interview, and by Thomas Mulcair in the House of Commons. But this was not hyperbole; no one forced the Prime Minister to make the promise in the first place; he did it on his honour and did not qualify it with any statements about consensus. So, by breaking his promise he also broke the trust that Canadians had placed in him.

After being questioned during question period, he said that there was no consensus among Canadians on this issue; that’s probably true, but did he honestly think that most Canadians would have the same opinion on the matter when he made his promise in the first place? His excuses are shallow and show him to be a shallow and opportunist politician like so many others — after he had marketed himself as being better and purer.

The bad news is that electoral reform has been dealt a blow.

The good news is that the Liberals won’t be messing around significantly with the electoral system at this time; based on their general lack of integrity, we might want to count our blessings.

Both Michael Harris and Andrew Coyne wrote particularly scathing articles on this subject; they didn’t mince their words. They expected better from Trudeau, and are now expressing their disappointment very frankly. Michael Harris opined that the promise was more about Trudeau’s personal commitment than a party policy, and as such, he will be held accountable by the voters next time. Andrew Coyne told his readers (tongue-in-cheek) that it serves Canadians right for believing the Liberals again after so many lies in the past. Hopefully articles like this cause Canadians to re-think the Trudeaumania that swept the nation in 2014.

As much as we disagree with the NDP, they have shown more integrity than the Liberals, especially on Electoral Reform. The Conservatives were never in favour of it, but held to their commitment to a referendum, which could have been a fair way to resolve the question (though there remain legitimate doubts whether the Liberals would have handled it fairly).

Broken promises like this one should cause Canadians to look for politicians and parties that have integrity. A promise that is worth making is worth keeping, even if it will not benefit the one keeping it.

The CHP does not believe in making opportunistic promises. We believe in keeping our word. We put principles before popularity, and we trust that in God’s time, Canadians will embrace this honesty.

If you believe that honesty should be a prerequisite for politics, support the CHP. If you are not a member, this would be a great time to join. If you have never donated to the CHP, please do so today and if you want to inform your fellow Canadians about a federal party based on principles and ethics, please pass this article along.

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