"Evidence-based policy" is a cant phrase that has been around for a while. I first heard it used -- repeatedly -- at Justin Trudeau's coronation in Montreal in 2012. It was clearly a term that was intended to set the Liberals off from the Conservatives, who governed in the teeth of evidence, facts, logic and science.
But once in power, this fresh new approach to governance was not to be. Climate change? Here are a couple more pipelines. And mind your manners, Injuns—we've got police and the military to sort you out if need be, and you've seen that movie before.
For many, changing the antiquated first-past-the-post electoral system was perhaps Trudeau's key election promise. Presently, less than 40 per cent of the electors can push the other 60+ per cent around for four years at a time. Most Canadians want proportional representation: in other words, a Parliament that fairly represents the electorate.
The vast majority of witnesses and submissions to the special Parliamentary committee on electoral reform were solidly in favour of change. The ERRE laboured long and hard, and fulfilled its mandate to a T.
The response from the Liberal government is encapsulated in the above photograph, which is worth considerably more than a thousand words. It's the vapid, smirking face of the Minister to whom the ERRE reported, Maryam Monsef, holding the formula for the Gallagher Index while mocking the Committee and lying through her teeth about its mandate and its work.
For any not already clued in, the Gallagher Index is just a formula for measuring proportionality across systems. It's far from "incomprehensible," as the Minister claimed -- even I can figure it out -- but maybe her math class was tough. It's not a voting system, and it's not something voters even need to know, any more than people out for a stroll need to be aware of gravitational wave theory to get about.
But barely a year after Sunny Justin was elected, we have come to this: a yokel rising in the House to mock mathematics and deride her own Committee and the myriad of experts who made submissions and testified before it. Flashbacks, anyone?
UPDATE: Monsef's apology. Take it as you will.
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