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As the Liberals gear up for October’s federal election, there is much talk of reconnecting with Canadians and remaking the party’s policy profile. One of the party’s big ideas is democratic reform. Justin Trudeau ran for the leadership on democratic renewal, including a specific commitment to champion a new voting system: the alternative vote (AV). In a leadership debate in Vancouver in 2013 he declared that AV would “change the tone of politics completely” because politicians would need to reach out to voters of other parties. Since then, other senior Liberals have echoed his views. In August 2014 Deputy Leader Ralph Goodale asserted that AV “requires you to focus on what pulls people together, not just how much you can vilify your opponent. It would have a very interesting impact on the tone of the political debate.”1

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