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Canadians want 'legitimate' democracy: Monsef

Minister for Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef hosted a forum on Tuesday to discuss a democratic system that will replace Canada's first-past-the-post elections.
Monsef won't commit to electoral reform referendum, Tories push for vote

THUNDER BAY – Minister for Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef can understand why some Canadians are leery about what kinds of changes could be made to the country’s electoral process.

At a town hall meeting at the Victoria Inn on Tuesday evening, the Peterborough-Kawartha MP painted the past decade of Conservative governance as exclusive to contrast the expectations of changes coming to the Canada Elections Act under the Liberal government.

“After 10 years of being shut out of their government, citizens in this country have every right to be skeptical,” Monsef said.

“What we got elected on was a promise to do politics differently, to listen before we developed legislation, hear from as many voices as possible and not just listen to the people who think like we do.

"We may have a majority in the House of Commons, which is a reminder the current system is serving us just fine but we’re recognize we’re doing this for Canadians -- for our kids and for our grandkids.”

Monsef’s tour has been underway since Aug. 29 consulting on a plan that will be released in December. She characterized the feedback she has heard from Canadians in terms of values rather than process.  

“What Canadians want is a system that preserves the principles the hold dear; the principles of a legitimate system they can have trust and confidence in. They want a system that’s inclusive and accessible,” she said.

“They want a system that preserves the connection the have with their local representatives and they also want us to take this process really seriously, because where in the world do citizens have a say in how they’re governed?”

Monsef praised the cooperation of the all-party committee studying electoral reform as she encouraged citizens to participate through web-based consultations or organizing their own town hall meetings.

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