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['Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely']
['Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely']

Frankly Speaking with Frank Likely

2015 will be the last election held using the first past the post system.

The promise by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau couldn't have been any clearer.

Yet here we are, going to the polls in 2019, again using the first past the post system.

This election campaign Trudeau is making no promises regarding electoral reform, but this might indeed be the election which could bring those reforms about.

If the polling trends continue, it looks like Canada will end up with a minority government on Oct. 21, with Trudeau's Liberals holding onto power. While the Conservatives and the Liberals are in a virtual dead heat in the polling, the distribution of seats and support would appear to give the edge in seats to the Liberals.

The key issue then will be who will hold the balance of power. Again, the Greens and the NDP are in a virtual tie for third place, so either could hold the balance of power. And both of these parties are advocates of electoral reform. Thus, the opportunity to hold Mr. Trudeau to his 2015 promise to bring in reforms.

While neither party has yet addressed the issue, I would certainly like to see them declare now that they will insist on electoral reform legislation as a condition of supporting a minority Liberal government. Hold the government to a promise I believe was instrumental in getting them elected in the last election.

Unlike in many jurisdictions, minority governments have seemed to work well in Canada. Much important, progressive legislation has been brought forth by minority governments at the insistence of the junior partner.

Currently four of the 10 provinces are governing effectively with minority governments. Minorities require compromise which generally leads to better legislation.

Perhaps this election which was supposed to be the first under a new proportional system might actually become the last under the old first past the post system.

Frank Likely is a retired Anglican minister who lives in Springhill.

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