Trudeau disappoints following electoral reform decision (Opinion)

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Canada isn’t as democratic as we think it is.

For sure, there are democratic elements in Canada: near annual elections, the rare moments where municipal, provincial/territorial, and federal governments actually set out to do what they pledged they would set out to do, etc.

At the end of the day, however, Canada still isn’t as democratic as we think it is.

During the last federal election in 2015, Trudeau and the federal Liberal Party gained a larger number of seats in the House of Commons than Harper had in 2011, yet did so with less of the popular vote.

Such is not a rare occurrence: Jean Chretien won all three of his majority governments during the 1993, 1997, and 2000 federal elections with less than 45% of the popular vote.

Think about it this way: the last time an election was won by what we would think are democratic means (i.e. 50+1 of the popular vote) was when Brian Mulroney gained 211 seats in the House of Commons in 1984, taking over fifty percent of the popular vote and 6.3 million Canadian ballots.

It’s been over thirty years since Canada has, in sum, been truly democratic.

Thus, like many Canadians, I was elated when Justin Trudeau announced that the 2015 federal election would be the last election in which the first-past-the-post electoral system would be used.

Which means that, like many Canadians, I was depressed to learn that this promise will not be upheld.

Like all other politicians, Trudeau has excused himself from taking away the system that enabled him to become Prime Minister.

Unlike with the approval of several pipelines, Trudeau seems to need the enthusiasm and support of a majority of Canadians to implement democratic reforms to Canada’s undemocratic electoral system.

Thus, the hopes of millennials for a more representative and democratic Canada have been dashed by a man with slipping approval ratings and an ever-increasing debt ridden change purse.

Perhaps the Prime Minister will keep his promise for electoral reform in the future. Who knows?

Maybe he’ll actually get rid of the system that kept him and his father in office without the consent of the majority of Canadians.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.