Benoit Charette had vehemently denounced the voting method
Six years ago, CAQ member Benoit Charette vehemently defended the need for reform of the voting system, both in Quebec and in Ottawa.
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In a brief presented to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform of the House of Commons, the one who became a minister in the Legault government pleaded against « cynicism and the loss of public confidence in politics ».
« The lack of representativeness and the distortions implicit in our current voting system lie, I have the deep conviction, at the root of this democratic evil that undermines our institutions, » said Mr. Charette in this document entitled Dare democracydated October 7, 2016.
The brief did not represent a personal whim of the member for Deux-Montagnes. It was the result of the very first consultation conducted by the CAQ’s Political Commission and was presented on behalf of the party.
In the usual order: Alex Tyrrell of the Green Party, Manon Massé of Québec solidaire, Jean-Sébastien Dufresne of the New Democracy Movement (at the microphone), Mr. Charette, Véronique Hivon, then PQ MP, and Sol Zanetti, at the time Head of National Option.
A few months earlier, the party invited « the political formations of the National Assembly to put their ego and their partisan interests aside » to reform the current « archaic » system.
These past comments clash with Prime Minister François Legault’s refusal to reform the system today, after being re-elected for a second term.
Strong consensus in Quebec
To the federal deputies responsible for studying the promise of Justin Trudeau, Benoit Charette affirmed: “There is a strong consensus in Quebec for a reform of the voting system, unfortunately ignored by the parties which have governed Quebec recently”.
This « negation of the principle of representativeness » leads to a drop in the participation rate as well as « ambient cynicism and a loss of confidence in the political class, which undermine the legitimacy of political action », he continued.
The member recalled that « our current voting system has generated nine false majorities » in 60 years, that is, majority governments that have not obtained more than 50% of the votes. “This eloquently demonstrates the systematic nature of the distortions inscribed in our electoral system,” he said.
The benefits of mixed voting
There followed a plea in favor of the mixed proportional voting system with regional lists, similar to that proposed, then abandoned, by the Legault government in the last term.
This will encourage voters to vote according to their interests, rather than a strategic vote, in addition to obliging MPs to collaborate on regional issues. In addition, this system is « easily intelligible », argued the deputy.
Mr. Charette also rejected the criticism of a lack of stability of governments that it engenders. « We cannot advocate stability to deny the popular will, » he said.
He took the example of Scotland, where the requirement to obtain two-thirds support to dissolve Parliament led to minority governments completing their 4-year terms.
« Worst-Case Scenario »
In conclusion, Mr. Charette used a pithy formula to encourage the Canadian government to reform its voting system, just as the CAQ wanted to do once in power: « The status quo would be the worst scenario for Quebec , for Canada and for democracy,” he wrote.
“The observation is clear, the first-past-the-post voting method does not serve the principle of representativeness. Worse, it betrays it, and with it the feeling that Quebecers can have a real influence on the determinants of their collective future. »
– Benoit Charette
“What do we want: a majority government that receives only the support of the minority, or a minority government whose coalitions and ad hoc collaborations reflect the support of the majority? »
– Benoit Charette