70 per cent of Quebecers want electoral reform: poll
Published Friday, June 7, 2019 6:02PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 7, 2019 7:02PM EDT
Just days after the issue resurfaced at the National Assembly, a new Leger poll suggests that nearly 70 per cent of Quebecers are in favour of electoral reform.
The poll was commissioned by Mouvement Democracie Nouvelle, a group pushing for changes to Quebec's electoral system.
“What the survey says is that the majority of people are not satisfied with the current system and they want a system that is more democratic, and a system in which there is more proportionality between the votes and the number of seats in the national assembly,” said Quebec solidaire MNA Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.
The poll results are a good sign, said Justice Minister Sonia Lebel.
“The purpose of this reform is to combat cynicism and make sure that people feel more involved in the way they vote, involved in their system,” she said.
It's also a CAQ election promise.
Last year, the CAQ joined the PQ, Quebec solidaire and the Green Party to sign an agreement committing to electoral reform.
This week, though, some CAQ MNAs started voicing their opposition to it.
Last fall, the party won a commanding majority, but that wouldn't have happened under a mixed proportional system.
“We have a (premier) and a minister of justice who sincerely want this reform to happen, but there are also MNAs inside the caucus of the CAQ that are afraid for their jobs and afraid for their seats, and they're putting pressure on the government to go back on one of its major promises,” said Nadeau-Dubois.
The government is determined to move forward, said Lebel.
“We will respect our engagements, but I mean, we have to allow the space for people to express their concerns (on) why they're not very warm to the idea,” she said.
There are 125 MNAs at the National Assembly.
Under one scenario in a mixed proportional electoral system, only 80 of those MNAs would be elected the traditional way. The remaining 45 candidates would be picked from a list, elected based on their party's overall performance in each of the province's 17 administrative regions.
“If you have two boxes to check, you can vote for somebody in your district, and then cast another vote for the party of your choice,” said Lebel.
For now, only the Liberal Party isn't on board.
“We have a system that is far from being perfect, but we have to make sure that the new system is clearly better. And right now, since we don't know exactly what the government has in mind, we're going to wait until they present something,” said interim leader Pierre Arcand.
Lebel plans to table a bill in the fall in the hopes of making changes to the system in time for the 2022 election.