NDP labels any move to ranked ballot 'cynical'

Nathan Cullen says if Liberals push through ranked ballot system, it would be declaration of "nuclear war in politics.''

NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen.

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen.

OTTAWA – New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen says that if the Liberals push through a ranked ballot system, they would essentially be declaring “nuclear war in politics.”

The NDP critic for democratic reform is dropping this bombastic warning a day after the Liberal government released the results of a controversial online survey about electoral reform.

It was the last phase of their consultations on whether – and how – to change the way people vote in federal elections and now the Liberals are studying the results as they consider whether to go ahead with their promise to get rid of the first-past-the-post electoral system in time for 2019.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his preference for a ranked ballot, which some argue would give the Liberals a political advantage, but the Liberals have also said they would not make any changes without widespread support from Canadians.

There has been little support for a ranked ballot so far and the message from Cullen, who says such a move would be “incredibly cynical,” underscores the political risks involved.

The Liberals are expected to unveil their plans within the next few weeks.