Mark Holland Lampooned For Saying 'Absolutely Nothing' On Electoral Reform

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Barbs continue to fly on Parliament Hill over the government's handle on electoral reform.

Three MPs sat down with CBC “Power & Politics” host Rosemary Barton on Monday to discuss the legitimacy of the government's new electoral reform online survey, which was earlier ridiculed online and in the House of Commons.

But after the discussion wrapped, a hot mic caught Conservative MP Scott Reid giving Mark Holland a sarcastic job well done for “talking out the time” during the segment, saying “absolutely nothing.”

“Brilliant,” Reid said.

Holland, parliamentary secretary to the minister of democratic institutions, faced a barrage of criticism from Reid and NDP MP Nathan Cullen over the launch of MyDemocracy.ca.

Both Cullen and Reid are opposition critics on electoral reform and blasted the survey for not asking about specific voting systems or whether a referendum is needed.

The Liberal responded by saying the tool will help his colleagues extrapolate “very clearly” what voting system best represents the values and preferences of Canadians.

Fate of Canadian system riding on faulty survey

The website asks Canadians to answer more than 30 questions, quizzing respondents about the “values” and “preferences” they want to see in a new voting system. But some apparent oversights have been noted with the website.

It currently allows for multiple submissions from the same computer and its open to any non-Canadian in the world with Internet access.

The survey launch follows Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef’s dismissal of an all-party committee’s report outlining its recommendation for how the government should go about its promise of electoral reform.

maryam monsef
Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks during question period on Dec. 1 with a copy of the so-called “Gallagher Index” on the back of her notes. Props are not allowed in the House. (Photo: Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)

Monsef apologized the next day.

“I’d like to sincerely apologize to the members of this House, to Canadians and to the members of the special all-party committee on electoral reform,” she said Friday.

“In no way did I intend to imply that they didn’t work hard, that they didn’t put in the long hours, that they didn’t focus on the task at hand. I thank them for their work.”

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