Congratulations on your victory at the polls. I join with many other Canadians in my excitement to see such a large change take place across the country. While I have no doubt that you will do you best to represent your riding in Parliament, I understand that once the excitement of winning is over there are so many conflicting priorities. Many promises get made during a campaign, but a real government has to deal with ever-changing realities and public opinion. Issues that seemed so important before the election pale in comparison to the mountain of work you are faced with afterwards.
During the campaign the Liberal party made a promise. A promise that this would be the last election run under First-Past-The-Post. This is a promise that we as Canadians took seriously. Many took up the cry of “strategic voting… just one last time!” Your seat is in no small part a result of that hope.
To illustrate the problem with our current electoral system, consider your own constituents. Almost half of your riding did not vote for you. Does this mean you cannot represent their interests? Maybe not. But it does mean that they will often feel that way. They voted for “the other guy”, they got you, and they feel as though their voice is no longer part of what happens in Ottawa.
It does not have to be this way. There are many ways of voting in representatives that result in a much closer match between number of seats and number of votes. These systems are not strange or new, but in fact popular and well-tested in many democracies around the world. Systems where votes no longer get “lost” and people no longer feel like there is no one representing their voice. As much as I disagree with, say, the Conservative voters in my riding, I completely believe they deserve to have a representative who agrees with their views. That’s what democracy is all about.
Friends of mine fear that with your party’s large victory, you will no longer feel the pressure of this issue. After all, there are many important issues facing Canada that may seem much more pressing. The next election is quite some time away. You may feel as though the current system got you your seat, and so it may help you again in the future. This promise from a party working to win becomes a forgotten memory. I remind you that you were elected, in no small part, on the hope of this promise. I hope that you will stand with me in working to preserve the right of all Canadians to a voice in their parliament. I hope you will not forget this promise.
Canada is watching.