In a recent newsletter to the Red Deer-Lacombe constituency under the headline “Politicians want to change what your vote means,” MP Blaine Calkins says: “This may come as a surprise to you but ….. The Liberal government has declared its intention to ensure that you will never vote in the same way you did in 2015, and in every other election after that.”
He mentions further in the newsletter that “Public input is being accepted, primarily by means of a Special Committee, which will report back to the house of Commons in December.” Later he says…”Canadians could be faced with the prospect of conducting our next election under a new voting system which does not have public support.”
Two issues, among others, seem important to Mr Calkins: 1) The fact of changing the traditional way of voting- the first past the post system; 2)He believes we should have a referendum to decide what system we should use.
Mr. Calkins is consistent in keeping to the tradition of conservatives and the Conservative party that what we did in the past should mostly be maintained. The issue with tradition, however, is that the world and its people keep changing, just like our political structures have changed. For instance, in 1867 we had three provinces in Canada. By 1900, this expanded to six provinces. Today we have 10 provinces with three territories. In the last decade and more, former powers administered by Ottawa exclusively have devolved and now are exercised by the territories themselves.
Another dramatic change occurred in 1921, when women were allowed to vote in Canada for the first time, except, interestingly, for Aboriginal and Asian women. Only in 1960 did Aboriginal people get the right to vote.
I am not aware of any referendum that took place to incorporate the dramatic changes I mentioned above.
Political change involves a learning curve, just as what we learnt in school 30 or 40 years ago needs to be updated regularly. The world does not stand still for anyone.