In the last election Justin Trudeau stated unequivocally that if the Liberals were to form the government that he would end our traditional first past the post system. He said that it wasn’t fair that the Conservatives should have a majority of the seats in the House of Commons when they did not win a majority of the votes. After the Liberals won a majority of the seats with less than 40% of the votes, Mr. Trudeau discovered that the first past the post system wasn’t quite as bad as he originally thought. Upon further reflection, he decided that the first past the post system was not without its charms and that we would be better off sticking with it for now.
This was the most blatant breaking of a promise since Jean Chretien decided he didn’t really want to abolish the GST, and I am more likely to vote Liberal in the next election because of it. I like the first past the post system. I was OK with the Conservatives having a majority government with less than half of the votes and I’m OK with the Liberals forming a majority with less than half of the votes. I’m not alone in this. Justin Trudeau didn’t win because of his electoral reform promise; he won because a lot of Canadian swing voters with tired of Stephen Harper and/or were turned off by their barbaric cultural practices snitch line.
Canadians, with good reason, are largely satisfied with the first past the post system. We have been consistently ranted at or near the top in all the global standard of living rankings. Even if you hated the Conservatives and Steven Harper you will have to concede that the country didn’t fall apart after almost a decade in power. The country isn’t going to fall apart if the Liberals are in power for the next decade either. The fact is that first past the post forced all candidates to seek a broad consensus. If you are unable to attract at least a large minority of votes you are not getting elected. Opponents of the system often point that the NDP and Green parties tend to be underrepresented in Parliament in relation to their vote totals. That may be true, but first past the post also prevents a potential “Keep Muslims Out” or “We Hate Gays” party out of the House of Commons. Proportional representation proponents like to talk about how the Green parties get more seats in Europe, but they gloss over how the fascist, anti-immigrant parties also get representation. Canadians are happy with the status quo and for good reason.
The only people who feel betrayed are the NDP voters who switched at the last minute in the hope that Trudeau had the best chance of defeating Harper and would bring in proportional representation that would give the NDP a greater presence in the House of Commons in the future. They can get as mad as they want because Justin Trudeau doesn’t need them anymore. If he does a good job in the next few years, or even if he does a bad job and the Conservatives elect a terrible leader, he’s going to win again next time around. If he has a rough couple of years and the Conservatives elect a sensible candidate, he’s going to lose.
The NDP knifed their respected, competent, and moderate leader in the back after the election but almost a year after deciding they don’t want him to lead them into the next election they don’t have a single candidate lined up to replace him. That’s not a good sign that they are going to have a superstar candidate next time around. The NDP have no leadership candidates, and the Conservatives have a bunch of unelectable candidates with a chance of becoming leader, so Justin Trudeau will pay absolutely no price for breaking his election promise.