Trudeau defends ‘turning his back’ on election reform
YELLOWKNIFE — Justin Trudeau is defending his decision to abandon his Liberal government’s promise to change how Canadians choose their federal leaders.
Speaking in Yellowknife, the prime minister said he turned his back on the promise — his words — because he feared proceeding would foster political discord.
He also said he’s prepared to accept the political consequences, whatever they may be.
Trudeau appeared to be expanding on remarks he made Thursday when he cited Tory leadership candidate Kellie Leitch as an example of someone who ought not be given too much sway in Parliament.
He made those remarks in Iqaluit while conversing with a woman who wanted to know why he did not believe a system of proportional representation should replace the current first-past-the-post voting system.
Leitch, an Ontario MP, has proposed screening would-be immigrants and refugees for “anti-Canadian values.”
On Friday, Trudeau was asked by a person in the crowd about why he abandoned the electoral promise. “It is because I felt it was not in the best interests of our country and of our future that I turned my back on that promise,” Trudeau said.
“I know people will be disappointed, yep,” he continued as boos echoed from the crowd.
On Thursday, a live microphone picked up Trudeau’s conversation with a member of the crowd as the two discussed the question of proportional representation, a system advocates say would be more reflective of the will of voters.
“Do you think that Kellie Leitch should have her own party?” Trudeau was heard to say.
The woman suggested Leitch was part of a different conversation, but Trudeau insisted it was not.
“Because if you have a party that represents the fringe voices ... or the periphery of our perspectives and they hold 10, 15, 20 seats in the House, they end up holding the balance of power.”