De­ci­pher­ing pro-rep merit dif­fi­cult to do

Penticton Herald - - LETTERS -

Dear ed­i­tor: Facts about the po­ten­tial af­ter­math of B.C.’s pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion (PR) ref­er­en­dum have been dif­fi­cult to sort out, with min­i­mal in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the BC NDP/Green gov­ern­ment.

Premier John Hor­gan ad­vised us all to “go Google it” if we wanted more info, so I did that. I dis­cov­ered on so-called Fair Vote sites as well as in B.C. and na­tional me­dia, con­flict­ing facts, in­ad­e­quately de­tailed “myth­busters” and bi­ased factchecker sites abound.

Hor­gan has fur­ther ad­vised ci­ti­zens not to worry, and “take a leap of faith” re­gard­ing var­i­ous undis­closed de­tails of our new elec­toral sys­tem.

A point ad­vanced by the Yes side is that all MLAs will def­i­nitely be de­ter­mined by vot­ers, not po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Our premier has also stated this.

Per­haps he has not read At­tor­ney Gen­eral David Eby’s re­port on this ref­er­en­dum. Pages 71 and 74 of Eby’s lengthy re­port re­veal lists of im­por­tant de­tails to be de­cided af­ter the vote. Among those de­tails, the op­tion re­mains for top-up/pro­por­tional MLAs to be de­cided by po­lit­i­cal par­ties via their own lists and not, in fact, by vot­ers. (That el­e­ment of our new sys­tem will be de­cided post-ref­er­en­dum by a par­ti­san leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee rather than an in­de­pen­dent body).

Would MLAs selected from a party list, rather than by vot­ers, truly be ac­count­able to lo­cal con­stituents and not their own po­lit­i­cal party? I doubt it, if they in­tend to keep their MLA jobs in fu­ture elec­tions.

Fair Vote sites also claim the rea­son new rid­ing bound­aries won’t be known un­til af­ter the vote is that the process of re-draw­ing rid­ing bound­aries for all three op­tions would be too ex­pen­sive.

Eby has pub­licly claimed that there was just not enough time to re-draw the bound­aries be­fore the vote. Eby did not men­tion the costs of that task as a fac­tor.

The Yes cam­paign ig­nores our at­tor­ney gen­eral with re­gard to the above and other im­por­tant facts.

In the ab­sence of de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on the three PR sys­tems from which we are meant to choose, I fol­lowed our premier’s glib ad­vice and Googled. I read his min­is­ter’s re­port. I re­ceived the BC NDP robo-call push­ing me to vote for PR.

Cast­ing my ref­er­en­dum bal­lot in fa­vor of re­tain­ing our cur­rent FPTP sys­tem, I’m not pre­pared to agree to Hor­gan’s re­quest for a “trust us” leap of faith. The canyon of miss­ing de­tail is just too wide to take that risk. Lo­raine Stephan­son, Pen­tic­ton

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