MP hosts town hall meeting on how we elect federal politicians

Panel will discuss different ways of voting as parliamentary committee starts review

Feedback from town hall on electoral reform goes back to Ottawa.

Feedback from town hall on electoral reform goes back to Ottawa.

Would you like a new way of voting in your Ottawa MPs or are you happy with the first past-the post system we have now –that is whatever candidate has the most votes, wins?

People can tell Liberal MP Dan Ruimy what system they’d like to see, such as proportional representation or single transferable vote, on Sunday, July 17 at the Open Door Church, at 11391 Dartford St., in Hammond.

Ruimy, along with MP Mark Holland, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institution, will host a town hall on the topic of electoral reform on that day, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Liberals in the October 2015 election, said it would be the last election by which MPs are elected simply by having the most number of votes.

The party has created a committee to look at all types of options, including online voting and compulsory voting. A proportional representation system involves having more than one MP elected in a riding, allowing those elected to reflect the actual proportion of votes for each party.

In the single transferable vote system, more than one MP will be elected, with the politicians will be elected based by order of preference that voters mark on their ballots. That system though was twice defeated in B.C., in 2005 and 2009,  after being proposed by the B.C. Citizen’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

Ruimy is having the round-table on his own initiative, just to get an idea of what people think.

He’ll then forward the ideas to the Parliamentary committee.

“As the minister (Maryam Monsef) has said all along, the first step is to engage people,” Ruimy said.

It’s important people understand the various systems, otherwise how can they talk about them? he asked.

Ruimy was elected last year under the first-past-the-post system, earning 17,673 votes, only a 1,300 more than Conservative Mike Murray. New Democratic candidate Bob D’Eith took 15,450 votes.

That meant Ruimy had 33.9 per cent of the votes with the Conservatives earning 31.4 per cent and the NDP earning 29.6 per cent.

“If we change the system and I lose my seat, I’m OK with that,” he said.

People have talked about changing the voting system for years, he said.  The parliament committee delivers its report in a year and a half.

Ruimy is holding another town hall, same time and place, the next night as well, Monday July 18, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, involving the U.S. and Asia, except for China.

He’s planning another town hall meeting on Canada’s defence policy.

All of the feedback or criticism from the meetings go to the various federal departments.