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Province Ditches Promise to Discard 'First-Past-the-Post' Voting System

One Canadian promise has (much like Trudeau years earlier) abandoned their electoral promise to abandon the incumbent first-past-the-post voting system, used in much of Canada at the federal and provincial levels. In FPTP, voters cast their vote for a candidate of their choice in a riding, and the candidate who receives the most votes wins. In the new system, candidates were set to have two votes: one for their district, and one for the party list. The new system would have encouraged voting for smaller parties rather than the establishment.

This reform was promised by the Coalition d'avenir Québec (CAQ) in 2018. However, Premier François Legault's government has since announced that he has abandoned the idea, excluding this promise from the future electoral platform for the ballot next fall. It will therefore not be discussed during the next electoral campaign, nor during a future term.

"We're putting that aside for good," confirmed a source in the Prime Minister's Office. The issue was discussed in the CAQcaucus, where several deputies feared the effects of the reform for their own seats.

The pandemic has been used to justify the abandonment of reform. "We realized that this is not at all a priority for the population, and it seemed esoteric to get involved in it when we will have for years to pick up the consequences of the current crisis."

The government is therefore renouncing a commitment made with smaller parties on the issue. During the election campaign, the CAQ leader even predicted that the current election would be the last in this form.

"We will not do like Justin Trudeau," he said, referring to a similar broken commitment from the Prime Minister. In his first opening speech as Prime Minister, François Legault had pledged to abandon the first past the post and "table a bill to change the voting method in the first year of the mandate."

It stands to reason that after the CAQ won 60% of the seats, with just 37.4% of the support, the idea didn't seem so terribly good any longer.

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