Justin Trudeau has missed a massive chance to be bold and reforming

Justin Trudeau, MP

There is lots to like about Justin Trudeau, but his backtracking on voting reform is a betrayal.

For context, in the 2011 Canadian election, the Conservatives were returned to government, but Jack Layton’s NDP leapfrogged the Liberals and came in second-place. Four years later, with Justin Trudeau, son of former Canadian prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, in charge of the Liberals, he led is party to victory by jumping right over the NDP and the Conservatives to form a surprise majority government.

Since then, Trudeau has won praise for being a bold, liberal reformer, but when it comes to one particular promise, he is anything but.

The Liberals went into the election promising electoral reform. Indeed, in September 2015 Trudeau tweeted that the 2015 election would be the last to be conducted using the disproportional, archaic voting system of first-past-the-post:

Then in February 2017, the governing party’s stance on the issue changed. CBC reported that the Liberals would no longer be pursuing electoral reform.

As reported by CBC, the NDP’s Nathan Cullen called it: “"one of the most cynical displays of self-serving politics this government has yet to engage in.”

Justin Trudeau Podium

First-past-the-post is a system with many faults. Trudeau’s victory looked like a win for electoral reform advocates across the democratic world. It showed those in Britain that a party could make it into government with a promise of major changes. But now, the party's big reforming promise has been broken.

Criticism is often fired towards the Liberal Democrats over “broken promises”, but they were constrained by coalition compromises. AV was far from perfect – but at least they tried. Canada’s majority government Liberals have a golden opportunity to fix a broken system; let’s hope Trudeau sees sense before the next election.