November 30, 2023

La Ronge Northerner

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Voting System Reform |  The Caquists “worked hard” for the project to fail.

Voting System Reform | The Caquists “worked hard” for the project to fail.

(Quebec) A former political adviser to François Legault, who worked on a government project to reform the voting system, laments the fact that former colleagues “worked hard to ensure that this reform failed.” Jean-Benoit Ratté and student groups are now on the agenda again inviting people to express their interest in the subject.

During the election campaign, François Legault, leader of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), confirmed that the debate on the reform of the voting system was only of interest to “intellectuals”. However, a survey conducted by the Leger Institute found the opposite: 53% of respondents were in favor.

Mr. Ratte, during the CAQ’s first mandate, served in the Minister du Conseil Executive, i.e. under the Prime Minister’s Department. In the spring of 2021, he left office shortly after it was announced that Bill 39, tabled by Minister Sonia Lebel, had been abandoned – a proposal to adopt a mixed voting system with regional compensation to the electorate through a referendum.

According to him, “People are convinced that advancing the partisan interests of the CAQ is better than the future of Quebec democracy.”.

“Not only did it pass, but in the last election we had a referendum and we had statistics showing that we would have won the referendum,” he said during a press conference in Quebec on Tuesday.

A new event

Jean-Benoit Ratté, now a public affairs consultant and activist for the Movement for New Democracy (MDN), joined citizen mobilization and coalitions for ballot reform. College and university students to invite citizens to demonstrate in front of Parliament on Tuesday, November 29, Parliament’s return day.

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“I can’t say how many there are going to be, but I think it will be a lot more than 200. But [la question du nombre de manifestants], Legault’s argument deflects the question. There is no truth that no one cares about. It interests people, people are talking about it,” pleaded Maël Ferland-Paquette, representative of the MCRS.

According to the groups present at the press conference, distortions between the popular vote and the seats occupied by each party in parliament are undermining democratic debates. Among other things, they resent a party winning a majority of seats even though the majority of citizens did not vote for it. The absence of elected members of the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ) has also been condemned, with Eric Duhaime’s political party recording as many votes as the rest of the opposition.

“Mr Prime Minister, you said to close the door on the question, but it was not your choice. We’re coming to open the door and we’re going to talk about it. Demonstration is a first step. There will be others,” said Mr. Ferland-Paquet promised.

“The only party in a position to reform the voting system is the same party that has benefited wildly from this broken system. […] “The CAQ government, when it realized that the system was in its favor, decided to throw away its own reform of democratic institutions for a strictly partisan and very narrow purpose,” lamented Jean-Benoit Ratte.