South Asian com­mu­nity lead­ers launch NO cam­paign on pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion ref­er­en­dum

Asian Journal - - FRONT PAGE -

Sur­rey: A num­ber of re­spected and in­flu­en­tial lead­ers in BC’S South Asian com­mu­nity have thrown their sup­port be­hind the “NO” cam­paign when it comes to chang­ing the vot­ing sys­tem in our Prov­ince. Dr. Gulzar Cheema, a for­mer MLA in Man­i­toba and Bri­tish Columbia and a prac­tic­ing fam­ily doc­tor and Puneet Sand­har, a lawyer and a com­mu­nity ad­vo­cate will be lead­ing the South Asian cam­paign for the No BC Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion So­ci­ety.

They join for­mer BC At­tor­ney Gen­eral Suzanne An­ton, QC and Mr.bill Tiele­man, both di­rec­tors of the No to BC Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion So­ci­ety, to en­cour­age vot­ers to re­ject Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the ref­er­en­dum be­ing held this month. “Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion has been proven to give ex­trem­ist par­ties an easy ac­cess to power all over the world,” said Sand­har. “These groups bring with them di­vi­sive pol­i­tics that of­ten tar­get im­mi­grants and mi­nor­ity groups. There is no place for that in BC, and that’s why we must choose to con­tinue with our cur­rent sys­tem that gives rep­re­sen­ta­tion to peo­ple not power to ex­trem­ists”. From Oc­to­ber 22nd, vot­ers started re­ceiv­ing a mail-in bal­lot on the fu­ture of our elec­toral sys­tem, ask­ing whether they would like to keep the cur­rent First Past the Post sys­tem, or re­place it with Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Prorep is a form of vot­ing used in some coun­tries in­clud­ing Swe­den, where a re­cent elec­tion saw anti-im­mi­grant, far­right ex­trem­ists elected into gov­ern­ment, where they now hold the bal­ance of power. “Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion would see the loss of lo­cal MLAS around BC, a loss of ac­count­abil­ity, & the rise of sin­gle is­sue and ex­trem­ist par­ties.” said Cheema. “Prorep would end BC’S sim­ple-to-un­der­stand vot­ing sys­tem, a sys­tem which has led us to hav­ing one of the most sta­ble & suc­cess­ful ju­ris­dic­tions in the world”.

To vote in the ref­er­en­dum, vot­ers must be 18 years or older as of Novem­ber 30th, 2018, a Cana­dian cit­i­zen and a BC res­i­dent for at least six months prior to Novem­ber 30th, 2018. Vot­ing pack­ages need to be com­pleted and re­turned by Novem­ber 30.

Puneet Sand­har

Dr. Gulzar Cheema

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