Trent University has a long history of passionate discourse and debate -- particularly amongst politically active students. Two alumni are in the process of bringing this legacy to a national level as they take sides on one of the most important political discussions facing the House of Commons today.
Maryam Monsef '03 (Biology and Psychology) is the MP for Peterborough and the Minister of Democratic Institutions -- her portfolio contains the potentially nation-altering task of devising and executing electoral reform.
Nathan Cullen '94 (International Studies Development and Environmental Studies/Science) is the longstanding NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley and the Environment and Climate Change and Democratic Reform Critic for his party. He is currently making headlines by challenging Monsef to remove the Liberal majority status on the committee tasked with devising a new electoral system.
In a letter to Monsef, Cullen suggested a committee with five Liberal MPs, three Conservatives, two New Democrats, and one seat each for the Green Party and Block Québécois. He explains that "under the NDP proposal, no one party can direct the outcome." The proposal has garnered plenty of attention, both in parliament and the media.
Monsef addressed the challenge in the House of Commons yesterday, stating that reforms to the electoral system must be “designed to address the needs of all Canadians and go far beyond addressing the interests of the parties we represent.”
She did not, however, agree to the NDP’s proposal. Her office said the matter will be debated when Monsef puts forward a motion to strike the committee at a later date.
Meaning that, in Ottawa, Trent University sparks are going to continue to fly.