Letter: Electoral reform offers an opportunity to break down walls

Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag

Editor: I would like to add some comments regarding a piece by Dan Ferguson in the Langley Times on Aug. 29, talking about electoral reform and representational diversity.

In it, he quoted me as saying that there were a majority of “old white guys” in Parliament, and to a certain extent, this is true.

Explaining what this means, and why some people see it as a problem is more complex, however.

In our current Parliament, visible minorities compose just over 13 per cent of elected MPs, while fewer than three per cent identify as Indigenous.

This is itself an improvement over past years, but dramatically under represents the 19 per cent of Canadians who consider themselves “visible minorities” and the five per cent of Indigenous Canadians.

Women are the most noticeably underrepresented, composing just over a quarter of the House of Commons, and far below the average of most advanced democracies.

Over the summer, the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, of which I am a member, has been hearing about how we can improve Canada’s democratic system and for many, reform is an opportunity to address the representation gap that Canada’s Parliament has historically displayed.

As the Member of Parliament for Cloverdale-Langley City, it is both my duty and my goal to represent every member of our riding and that is a responsibility that I take very seriously.

As the article quoted me as saying, I too fall into the category of “old white guy,” and although I maintain that age is but a number, I do not think you need to be a man to represent men’s issues any more than you need to be of particular heritage to care deeply about that community.

I do however believe that electoral reform presents a unique opportunity to break down walls to participation that have existed for women, minorities and the Indigenous community and create a system that is genuinely accessible to all Canadians, and this is a worthwhile goal.

John Aldag,

Member of Parliament

Cloverdale-Langley City

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