An open letter to Rob Oliphant, new Liberal MP

Dear Mr. Oliphant,

Congratulations on your victory in our 42nd election. Your campaign was hard-fought and well-fought, with door-knockers showing up twice at my apartment, the second time with just 40 minutes to go before polls ended. That’s dedication!

Congratulations are due as well to your national team, who helped usher in an astounding and unexpected Liberal majority. A clean sweep of Atlantic Canada heralded a trend for the rest of Canada, signalling that the 42nd parliament would look nothing like the 41st.

Finally, Congratulations to your party leader and our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. From the outset of the campaign, he responded with positivity against the continued negative attacks of the Conservatives, rejected the narrative that he wasn’t ready, and proved that the Liberal party had a vision that Canada agreed with.

All that being said, election 42 exposes a terrible and dangerous flaw in our democracy that was also present in election 41: Only 40% of Canadians voted for the Liberal party, but this somehow translated into a majority parliament. This echoes the result in 2011, where only 40% of Canadians voted for the Conservative party, and that also translated into a majority parliament.

For the last four years, 60% of Canadians have had to suffer through the policies of a government they did not choose. For the next four years, 60% of Canadians will have the same problem. But it doesn’t have to be that way for election 43 in 2019.

I want to remind you at this time of Liberal Policy Resolution 31 (https://www.liberal.ca/policy-resolutions/31-priority-resolution-restoring-trust-canadas-democracy/). Electoral reform is an issue near and dear to my heart and the hearts of a great many Canadians, and I hope that the majority parliament your party has been granted doesn’t dull the passion professed for it during the campaign.

Now is absolutely the time to make a push on this issue! Witness the riding of Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, which had only 24k Conservative votes, but 21k NDP and 21k Liberal votes each! Our current system assigned a riding to a Conservative MP that only a third of the population wanted. With a more fair system, an NDP or Liberal could be in that riding, or potentially a stronger Conservative mandate. At the least, voting intentions would be made more clear, which is ultimately more satisfying for all involved.

Make no mistake: while the Liberals were handed a hefty mandate, it is not necessarily a mandate for Liberal leadership, it is a mandate for CHANGE. The reason for the surprise majority is because a great many Canadians — myself included — voted strategically, changing our votes to help defeat the Conservative representative in our region. So, so many of your votes come from disappointed and disenfranchised NDP voters, who were heartened by your victory at the expense of the Conservatives, but heartbroken by your victory at the expense of the NDP.

Please remember your promises regarding electoral reform. Please work to your utmost to make sure that such reform is studied, proposed, and enacted in time for the next election. This is absolutely your moment to help modernize our democratic processes for the 21st century and ensure that our next election is more fair and representative than any that have come before.

With luck and hard work, next time I’ll be voting strongly Liberal because you’ve earned it, and not because of ABC politics.


Dan Hulton

I’ll be sending this by mail as soon as they have the parliamentary mailing addresses sorted out, and I heartily encourage you all to do something similar.

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