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MP Fuhr disappointed with own government's decision on electoral reform

FILE PHOTO - Federal Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr joins his supporters following his election win in Kelowna-Lake Country, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015.
February 03, 2017 - 11:24 AM

KELOWNA - Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr says he is disappointed with his own government after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau backed away from a key election promise.

Trudeau declared his 2015 election victory would be the last under the first-past-the-post voting system, but stuck a fork in the idea yesterday, a little more than a year later. It was a campaign promise Stephen Fuhr spoke about often and he maintains that proportional representation is not only his preferred system but also those of his constituents.

“I strongly advocated for it. I still believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said this morning, Feb. 3. "I don’t know if people know how things work (in Parliament)… I have a voice and I used it and did everything I could do to advance the idea but in the end I don’t get to veto a decision.”

Fuhr’s candidacy was an anomaly in the federal election because he was also backed by the local Green Party constituency association, largely based on Trudeau’s Liberals’ — and Fuhr’s — stand on proportional representation.

“I am disappointed,” Fuhr said. “I wish this hadn’t happened.”

He stopped short of apologizing for his government, as other Liberal MPs have done, but he was critical of his party’s decision. Trudeau said he didn’t see broad support from Canadians for electoral reform and declared his party had no mandate to pursue it further. Fuhr said he’s not sure how far that reasoning will go with voters over a clear policy statement made before the election.

Fuhr says he understands his government’s position, but can’t agree with it.

“Please do not mistake me,” he said. “I am not trying to justify. The government made a decision and they have a reason. I still think that we should have moved forward on this and I am disappointed that we didn’t.”

Fuhr’s election was unexpected in a riding that seemed assured to elect another Conservative. He says he is aware Kelowna-Lake Country voters were looking for something different.

“Lets face it, that electoral win was unexpected,” he says. “It was a huge upset. I fully appreciate for a lot of people I wasn’t the first choice, I was a necessary choice. I want to deliver on what I said I would do.

“When that doesn’t happen, I take it personally. I care about this, and I take that seriously. I did everything I could do.”

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