It’s been more than six weeks since Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef’s electoral reform roadshow wrapped up, and her ministry still doesn’t know how much it cost.
NDP MP Nathan Cullen asked the minister, via an order paper question in the House of Commons, how much the “electoral reform community dialogue tour”—as it’s officially known—cost, how many people attended, and how many people in attendance favoured proportional representation or a referendum.
The minister’s response, submitted by her parliamentary secretary, Mark Holland, claims that the costs “are not available at this time as all claims have not yet been finalized.” Not even an approved budget from before the tour was submitted, to give a ballpark of the bottom line total.
The response said that 1,500 people attended the events, which kicked off August 29 in Iqaluit and wrapped up two months later in Calgary.
But there were more non-answers to what is arguably the most significant part of Cullen’s question—how many people at these events favoured different possibilities.
“Participants at events were not asked to indicate which voting system they preferred,” the document said, later adding, “participants at events were not asked for their position on an electoral reform referendum.”
Monsef previously told Canadians that this national tour was an opportunity for the government to share its process, and for Canadians to weigh in with their own thoughts.
Now, it appears Canadians weren’t asked what they thought at all about two of the key questions connected to the electoral reform discussion.
That, or the government didn’t like the answers, which seems more likely given blowback to the MyDemocracy.ca push poll.
If Monsef wants Canadians to believe that she is genuinely interested in a dialogue, she’ll have to try a bit harder.