Christopher Flavelle: Avoiding a referendum on electoral reform would be Trudeau’s first error…


Canada’s two-month-old Liberal government is facing its first controversy, one that highlights an enduring dilemma in public policy: When is it worth going ahead with a good idea that the public doesn’t like?

Among the many campaign promises of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was a commitment to change the way Canadians elect their federal government. As in the U.S., the candidate with the most votes in ridings gets a seat in the legislature (what Canadians call first-past- the-post). But in Canada, the winner usually gets fewer than half the votes, because of an increasingly fractured multiparty system.

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