Did Justin Trudeau create a party that really doesn’t need to be in power?

Photo If Canadians were given a vote, the majority of them would likely side with the Liberal Party in next year’s federal election, even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has never held a seat…

Did Justin Trudeau create a party that really doesn’t need to be in power?

Photo

If Canadians were given a vote, the majority of them would likely side with the Liberal Party in next year’s federal election, even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has never held a seat in Parliament.

But a new poll suggests that this electoral mandate isn’t working as planned. Mr. Trudeau has brought his Liberal Party back to power twice in less than four years, with the help of the votes of francophone voters in Ontario, separatists in Quebec and aboriginal voters in British Columbia. But there’s something seriously wrong when the three governing parties in that region have a combined total of 45 of 158 seats.

The problem isn’t just that Canadians aren’t getting an adequate representation in Parliament. It’s that without these “home-zone” voters, Mr. Trudeau’s Liberal Party is less likely to win a second mandate.

But the way to remedy this problem is by giving all of Canada’s 338 constituencies equal representation in the House of Commons. This concept, known as the Rough Draft Accord, was introduced after the last federal election by the federal Liberal Party. The accord means that the terms of the Bloc Québécois’ current Bloc Québécois-Québécois coalition with other parties will be scrapped, and the rules governing seat distribution will be revised. The accord applies only to 2019, and has been endorsed by various parliamentary committees. But the House of Commons needs to sign off on the reform before it can become law.

This would be the big mistake that MPs from Toronto and other regions will make, because they’ll continue to emphasize their local electoral strength as they push to keep the accord intact in the next Parliament. And in the long run, this is going to wind up hurting them. The Rough Draft Accord will only make it harder for the party that gains the most seats to form a government, especially if the party finds itself on the losing end of a split vote. The result will be that parties will focus on fighting over only a few seats in a particular region of the country rather than on winning broad support across the country.

Given the staggering ease with which the Liberal Party has recently replaced the more pro-Western, federalist Bloc in Quebec, it would be impossible for this reform to succeed if it were made retroactive to 2019. It would punish voters from other parts of the country in the name of building a more coherent country.

The Conservatives, meanwhile, would block the accord out of self-preservation. Even though they have been out of power since 2015, Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals will continue to rely on their political dominance in Quebec to win at least some seats in the next election. The fact that the Rough Draft Accord would make that possible will only make the Tories and the NDP even more determined to thwart its passage.

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