If Trudeau has the tenacity, his achievements in democratic reform could easily overshadow those of Chrétien. Were Canada to adopt an electoral system that results in proportional representation, such a monumental change would mean the end of false-majority governments and strategic voting, as well as the dawn of a parliament that reflects the true, aggregate will of the country’s electorate. Enacting proportional representation would also usher in a new era of consensus politics in which political parties would be compelled to cooperate with each other to pass legislation, curtailing the venomous parliamentary debates that achieve little other than vacuous, defamatory theatre.
A less courageous option for Trudeau would instead be to adopt ranked ballots, also known as “instant-runoff voting” or “alternative vote.” This is a relatively obscure electoral system, currently used by Australia’s lower house, and previously utilized provincially in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia between the 1920s and 1950s.
Many political cynics, myself included, expect that the Liberals will choose ranked ballots instead of proportional representation, because doing so would be in their self-interest for two reasons. First, ranked ballots tend to favour centrist parties, and would likely produce favourable election results for the Liberals.