NDP to force electoral reform debate Thursday
Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions, makes an announcement regarding electoral reform during a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 11, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Published Wednesday, June 1, 2016 6:46PM EDT
The opposition New Democrats are trying to force the Liberals into moving ahead on changing how Canadians elect their federal government, using their regularly scheduled opposition day to try to force a debate on the structure of the committee that will examine electoral reform.
The NDP is also pushing to change the makeup of the committee that will eventually study the possibilities for reform.
The Liberal government promised during last fall's election campaign that it would be the last one under the first-past-the-post system, but so far have done little beyond setting the parameters of a committee to examine different options. The committee hasn't been struck and no members have been named to it.
The NDP argues the Liberals are showing bad faith by giving themselves the voting majority on the committee by not allowing a vote for the Bloc and Green Party members.
If passed, the NDP motion would establish a committee with five Liberals, three Conservatives, two New Democrats, one member of the Bloc, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, taking away the Liberal majority. The NDP motion would also have the committee start its work within 10 days and would let the Bloc and Green members vote.
The Liberals' minister for democratic institutions suggested Wednesday she's looking forward to the debate on the NDP motion.
Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef referred in question period to the conversation happening in the House Thursday.
"It is our responsibility as a House to ensure that the voices of our constituents are heard," Monsef said. "I am looking forward to this conversation happening in this House in a meaningful and respectful way beginning tomorrow."
A spokesman for Monsef said she was referring to the NDP motion, not to the still-untabled Liberal motion.
The clock is ticking on the end of the parliamentary season, with only three full weeks left before the summer break.