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NDP now willing to back national referendum on electoral reform

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair answers a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 16, 2016.

Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS

New Democrats say they're now willing to support a national referendum on electoral reform.

The move appears aimed at forging a united front among opposition parties in favour of a proportional voting system, putting pressure on the governing Liberals to go along.

The opposition parties hold the majority on an all-party committee that is supposed to recommend an alternative to Canada's first-past-the-post voting system by Dec. 1.

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Committee members have been holed up behind closed doors this week, attempting to reach a consensus which has so far proved elusive.

The NDP and Greens support a proportional voting system but Conservatives have said they will not support any change unless it is approved by Canadians in a referendum.

Liberal members have not tipped their hand on what voting system they prefer, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has in the past expressed a preference for a ranked ballot system.

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