rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

The new yokels of the Liberal party ridicule math and evidence in the House of Commons

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Image: CPAC

"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.

Please chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Image: CPAC

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.