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Electoral Reform survey debacle: why outsourcing hurts

Canadians still uncertain how government over-reliance on outsourcing fails our democracy need look no further than the federal government’s latest effort to survey Canadians on electoral reform. Rather than ask non-partisan public service professionals to conduct an unbiased public survey, the government chose instead to contract out the job – with predictable results.

The survey at asks more than 30 questions, but at no point directly addresses electoral systems. It does not ask any question about the first-past-the-post system, which skews the popular vote to allow parties to form majority governments without a majority support. Nor does it discuss the alternative, proportional representation, which was recommended by the all-party committee on electoral reform.

Unsurprisingly, Canadians were not impressed and they expressed their disappointment on Twitter using #RejectedERQs.

How did we get here?

It all started when the government decided to spend a quarter of a million dollars to outsource the survey rather than ask its own public service professionals to develop one.

According to government websites, "a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs" got the contract.

The result?

#RejectedERQs: Grits' Electoral Reform Online Survey Mocked Online, In House Of Commons

That's why governments shouldn't outsource our services.



Publish Date: 08-DEC-2016 09:56 AM