British Columbia NDP MP Nathan Cullen takes electoral reform campaign to Stoney Creek

News Apr 28, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

New Democratic NDP MP Nathan Cullen says the Liberals made a mistake when they scrapped their promise to reform Canada’s voting system for the 2019 election.

And he has over 130,000 signatures to prove it.

Cullen, who was in the Hamilton East-Stoney Creek riding held by Liberal MP Bob Bratina April 23 at Wesley United Church, urged Canadians to pressure their local Liberal MPs to back his proposal to get electoral reform before Parliament again.

“I think (the Liberals) misjudged the issue (when electoral reform was stopped),” said Cullen, a British Columbia MP who was co-chair of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform.

The all-party committee submitted a recommendation to Parliament advocating for the introduction of a proportional representation system by the 2019 federal election.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February scuttled the idea of changing the country’s voting system after campaigning in 2015 he would eliminate the first-past-the-post system. He said there was no consensus on a replacement system.

Cullen is using some parliamentary rules to introduce a motion requesting the House of Commons to accept the committee’s recommendation. If passed, electoral reform would be returned to Parliament’s agenda.

Cullen said he needs up to 20 Liberal MPs to support the motion. He said the other parties have already indicated they will back the motion, including the Conservatives, Bloc Québécois and Green Party MP, Elizabeth May. He expects to introduce his motion later in May.

“I want a vote on this,” said Cullen. “If the vote passes, it becomes a clear order of the House of Commons. That’s what we are aiming for. It will put some energy back into this thing.”

Cullen has tabled a petition with 130,000 signatures in support of changing Canada’s voting system, and is over halfway through his cross-country “Keep Your Promise” town hall meeting events. At the Stoney Creek venue, hosted by the Hamilton Chapter of the Civic League, Council of Canadians, and Fair Vote Canada, about 30 people turned out on a Sunday evening, including NDP MPs Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain), David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre) former NDP MP Wayne Marston, and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner.

Schreiner said he has talked to Cullen about electoral reform and has offered the Green Party’s backing of the MP's proposal.

“This shouldn’t be about partisanship,” he said. “We want to keep up the momentum.”

Cullen said during the nearly two-hour event that he has invited local Liberal MPs, including Bob Bratina, to his town halls. So far none have appeared.

“It wasn’t just Justin Trudeau who campaigned on this promise,” said Cullen. “Anybody who ran on this promise as far as I’m concerned they made the promise. If they are willing to break it, then they have to be willing to stand up in front of their constituents.”

Bratina said in an email statement that he already held a town-hall meeting last year on electoral reform in Stoney Creek and received “minimal response or interest. Only a few showed up.”

“It should be obvious to Canadians where our priorities lie right now,” said Bratina.

Cullen is a proponent of eliminating the current first-past-the-post system, where parties win majority governments with a minority of voters. He supports a single transferable vote system.

“It’s not like it’s rocket science,” said Cullen. “We have dozens and dozens and dozens of countries doing it for decades with stable, strong governments that make progressive legislation.”

Cullen said minority governments have proved benefit to Canadians. Under minority governments, health care, social insurance, unemployment insurance and even the creation of Canada’s flag were all introduced and are now part of the country’s institutional landscape.

He said the fundamental difference with minority governments is every MP has inherent power and “has to be spoken to.” In a majority government, the power remains with the prime minister and his cabinet, he said.

Cullen isn’t a fan of holding a referendum. He points to Ontario’s 2007 failed referendum on changing its electoral system with its confusing question. What happens in referendums, he said, is misinformation is spread and it’s not clear to people what they are voting for.

Cullen said despite what the Liberals are saying that Canadians are not interested in electoral reform, his town meetings have proved them wrong.

“People are very much hopeful of this,” he said. “It’s a basic requirement of the (MP) job. If you won’t stand in front of the people you work for, then who do you work for?”

British Columbia NDP MP Nathan Cullen takes electoral reform campaign to Stoney Creek

News Apr 28, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

New Democratic NDP MP Nathan Cullen says the Liberals made a mistake when they scrapped their promise to reform Canada’s voting system for the 2019 election.

And he has over 130,000 signatures to prove it.

Cullen, who was in the Hamilton East-Stoney Creek riding held by Liberal MP Bob Bratina April 23 at Wesley United Church, urged Canadians to pressure their local Liberal MPs to back his proposal to get electoral reform before Parliament again.

“I think (the Liberals) misjudged the issue (when electoral reform was stopped),” said Cullen, a British Columbia MP who was co-chair of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform.

The all-party committee submitted a recommendation to Parliament advocating for the introduction of a proportional representation system by the 2019 federal election.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February scuttled the idea of changing the country’s voting system after campaigning in 2015 he would eliminate the first-past-the-post system. He said there was no consensus on a replacement system.

Cullen is using some parliamentary rules to introduce a motion requesting the House of Commons to accept the committee’s recommendation. If passed, electoral reform would be returned to Parliament’s agenda.

Cullen said he needs up to 20 Liberal MPs to support the motion. He said the other parties have already indicated they will back the motion, including the Conservatives, Bloc Québécois and Green Party MP, Elizabeth May. He expects to introduce his motion later in May.

“I want a vote on this,” said Cullen. “If the vote passes, it becomes a clear order of the House of Commons. That’s what we are aiming for. It will put some energy back into this thing.”

Cullen has tabled a petition with 130,000 signatures in support of changing Canada’s voting system, and is over halfway through his cross-country “Keep Your Promise” town hall meeting events. At the Stoney Creek venue, hosted by the Hamilton Chapter of the Civic League, Council of Canadians, and Fair Vote Canada, about 30 people turned out on a Sunday evening, including NDP MPs Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain), David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre) former NDP MP Wayne Marston, and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner.

Schreiner said he has talked to Cullen about electoral reform and has offered the Green Party’s backing of the MP's proposal.

“This shouldn’t be about partisanship,” he said. “We want to keep up the momentum.”

Cullen said during the nearly two-hour event that he has invited local Liberal MPs, including Bob Bratina, to his town halls. So far none have appeared.

“It wasn’t just Justin Trudeau who campaigned on this promise,” said Cullen. “Anybody who ran on this promise as far as I’m concerned they made the promise. If they are willing to break it, then they have to be willing to stand up in front of their constituents.”

Bratina said in an email statement that he already held a town-hall meeting last year on electoral reform in Stoney Creek and received “minimal response or interest. Only a few showed up.”

“It should be obvious to Canadians where our priorities lie right now,” said Bratina.

Cullen is a proponent of eliminating the current first-past-the-post system, where parties win majority governments with a minority of voters. He supports a single transferable vote system.

“It’s not like it’s rocket science,” said Cullen. “We have dozens and dozens and dozens of countries doing it for decades with stable, strong governments that make progressive legislation.”

Cullen said minority governments have proved benefit to Canadians. Under minority governments, health care, social insurance, unemployment insurance and even the creation of Canada’s flag were all introduced and are now part of the country’s institutional landscape.

He said the fundamental difference with minority governments is every MP has inherent power and “has to be spoken to.” In a majority government, the power remains with the prime minister and his cabinet, he said.

Cullen isn’t a fan of holding a referendum. He points to Ontario’s 2007 failed referendum on changing its electoral system with its confusing question. What happens in referendums, he said, is misinformation is spread and it’s not clear to people what they are voting for.

Cullen said despite what the Liberals are saying that Canadians are not interested in electoral reform, his town meetings have proved them wrong.

“People are very much hopeful of this,” he said. “It’s a basic requirement of the (MP) job. If you won’t stand in front of the people you work for, then who do you work for?”

British Columbia NDP MP Nathan Cullen takes electoral reform campaign to Stoney Creek

News Apr 28, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

New Democratic NDP MP Nathan Cullen says the Liberals made a mistake when they scrapped their promise to reform Canada’s voting system for the 2019 election.

And he has over 130,000 signatures to prove it.

Cullen, who was in the Hamilton East-Stoney Creek riding held by Liberal MP Bob Bratina April 23 at Wesley United Church, urged Canadians to pressure their local Liberal MPs to back his proposal to get electoral reform before Parliament again.

“I think (the Liberals) misjudged the issue (when electoral reform was stopped),” said Cullen, a British Columbia MP who was co-chair of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform.

The all-party committee submitted a recommendation to Parliament advocating for the introduction of a proportional representation system by the 2019 federal election.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February scuttled the idea of changing the country’s voting system after campaigning in 2015 he would eliminate the first-past-the-post system. He said there was no consensus on a replacement system.

Cullen is using some parliamentary rules to introduce a motion requesting the House of Commons to accept the committee’s recommendation. If passed, electoral reform would be returned to Parliament’s agenda.

Cullen said he needs up to 20 Liberal MPs to support the motion. He said the other parties have already indicated they will back the motion, including the Conservatives, Bloc Québécois and Green Party MP, Elizabeth May. He expects to introduce his motion later in May.

“I want a vote on this,” said Cullen. “If the vote passes, it becomes a clear order of the House of Commons. That’s what we are aiming for. It will put some energy back into this thing.”

Cullen has tabled a petition with 130,000 signatures in support of changing Canada’s voting system, and is over halfway through his cross-country “Keep Your Promise” town hall meeting events. At the Stoney Creek venue, hosted by the Hamilton Chapter of the Civic League, Council of Canadians, and Fair Vote Canada, about 30 people turned out on a Sunday evening, including NDP MPs Scott Duvall (Hamilton Mountain), David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre) former NDP MP Wayne Marston, and Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner.

Schreiner said he has talked to Cullen about electoral reform and has offered the Green Party’s backing of the MP's proposal.

“This shouldn’t be about partisanship,” he said. “We want to keep up the momentum.”

Cullen said during the nearly two-hour event that he has invited local Liberal MPs, including Bob Bratina, to his town halls. So far none have appeared.

“It wasn’t just Justin Trudeau who campaigned on this promise,” said Cullen. “Anybody who ran on this promise as far as I’m concerned they made the promise. If they are willing to break it, then they have to be willing to stand up in front of their constituents.”

Bratina said in an email statement that he already held a town-hall meeting last year on electoral reform in Stoney Creek and received “minimal response or interest. Only a few showed up.”

“It should be obvious to Canadians where our priorities lie right now,” said Bratina.

Cullen is a proponent of eliminating the current first-past-the-post system, where parties win majority governments with a minority of voters. He supports a single transferable vote system.

“It’s not like it’s rocket science,” said Cullen. “We have dozens and dozens and dozens of countries doing it for decades with stable, strong governments that make progressive legislation.”

Cullen said minority governments have proved benefit to Canadians. Under minority governments, health care, social insurance, unemployment insurance and even the creation of Canada’s flag were all introduced and are now part of the country’s institutional landscape.

He said the fundamental difference with minority governments is every MP has inherent power and “has to be spoken to.” In a majority government, the power remains with the prime minister and his cabinet, he said.

Cullen isn’t a fan of holding a referendum. He points to Ontario’s 2007 failed referendum on changing its electoral system with its confusing question. What happens in referendums, he said, is misinformation is spread and it’s not clear to people what they are voting for.

Cullen said despite what the Liberals are saying that Canadians are not interested in electoral reform, his town meetings have proved them wrong.

“People are very much hopeful of this,” he said. “It’s a basic requirement of the (MP) job. If you won’t stand in front of the people you work for, then who do you work for?”