Liberals defeat NDP motion on electoral reform promise
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 14, 2017 4:07PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 14, 2017 5:57PM EST
OTTAWA -- The Liberals have defeated a motion that accused the government of misleading Canadians on electoral reform and demanded they apologize for their broken promise.
The motion put forward in the House of Commons by the New Democrats was rejected 175 to 129 Tuesday.
"Believe me when I say this ain't over," NDP MP Nathan Cullen said Tuesday after the vote.
"Canadians expected more from this prime minister. They believed that he was going to be different, and this betrayal of such a black-and-white promise shows him to be, unfortunately, more of the cynical same," said Cullen, the NDP critic for electoral reform.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in the Liberal campaign platform and in the subsequent speech from the throne to change the way Canadians cast their ballots in time for 2019.
The Liberal government abandoned that idea earlier this month, arguing their consultations on the issue did not produce a consensus on whether to change the status quo, as promised, or what should replace the current first-past-the-post voting system.
During question period in the House of Commons Tuesday, Cullen pressed Trudeau for an apology.
"Canadians voted for a change from a government that had been unable to deliver on economic growth for the middle class, had been unable to deliver the kind of vision for this country that Canadians needed," Trudeau replied.
The Conservatives, the Bloc Quebecois and Green party leader Elizabeth May voted with the New Democrats on the opposition day motion.
Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould acknowledged some younger voters were disappointed with the Liberals' choice not to go ahead with electoral reform.
"I was very heartened over the past couple of weeks to see people register their disappointment, or to engage, because I think it's a hallmark of our democracy that we can both agree and disagree equally as peacefully and have those conversations," Gould said in the Senate chamber during question period Tuesday.
That was in response to a question from Independent Sen. Marilou McPhedran, who said she had seen "a surge of anger, disappointment, heartbreak and . . . a distinctive rise in cynicism returned to the generation" on social media as a result of the decision to give up on the pledge. She wanted to know what Gould was doing to address it.
Gould, 29, pointed out that she too is a young Canadian.