Vot­ing sys­tems mat­ter

Asian Journal - - OPINION EDITORIALS -

This past Sum­mer I trav­elled all across the prov­ince, speak­ing with Bri­tish Columbians of all walks of life. I of­ten raised the sub­ject of this Fall’s ref­er­en­dum on elec­toral re­form and was sur­prised to dis­cover that most peo­ple were un­aware that we were hav­ing one at all.

So I have com­mit­ted to us­ing my time speak­ing with peo­ple in ev­ery cor­ner of this prov­ince to shine a light on the dark­ness that sur­rounds the NDP’S ref­er­en­dum. This is be­cause on some­thing as im­por­tant as chang­ing the fun­da­men­tals of our democ­racy, peo­ple need to know the facts.

Vot­ing sys­tems mat­ter.

The NDP have de­cided to carry out this ref­er­en­dum with mail-in bal­lots. By now, you should have re­ceived one in the mail and you must send it back to Elec­tions BC by Novem­ber 30th to have your voice heard.

The first ques­tion will ask you to se­lect be­tween our cur­rent First Past The Post (FPTP) sys­tem or a new Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion (PR) elec­toral sys­tem. The se­cond ques­tion, which is op­tional, will be a choice to rank three dif­fer­ent PR sys­tems, only one of which has ever been used any­where in the world.

You have real in­flu­ence, your vote de­cides who is in power. Un­der a PR sys­tem you trans­fer that role to po­lit­i­cal par­ties and you lose in­flu­ence. Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion sys­tems make MLAS less ac­count­able to the vot­ers, and more ac­count­able to par­ties. Back­room party bosses draft lists of po­ten­tial MLAS in­stead of trust­ing the peo­ple to choose the per­son they think best rep­re­sents their com­mu­nity. PR sys­tems lead to gov­ern­ment in­sta­bil­ity with con­stant coali­tions and more fre­quent elec­tions. They also open the door to fringe and ex­trem­ist par­ties hav­ing un­due in­flu­ence on our gov­ern­ment. To­day, the Green Party con­trols the bal­ance of power with just 4% of the seats in the Leg­is­la­ture.

Right now, un­der FPTP, your elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives are wholly ac­count­able to their con­stituents. Bri­tish Columbia has an ef­fec­tive elec­toral sys­tem that has suc­ceeded in cre­at­ing the prov­ince we have to­day. Our prov­ince boasts the world’s best health out­comes, among the best ed­u­ca­tion out­comes, and the low­est un­em­ploy­ment rate in Canada. That is the proof of a sys­tem that works, a sys­tem I don’t want to see jeop­ar­dized.

Vot­ing sys­tems mat­ter.

Dur­ing last year’s elec­tion, John Hor­gan made solid prom­ises about this ref­er­en­dum. He said there would be a sim­ple Yes/no choice, de­ci­sions made by an All-party com­mit­tee, and that fair re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tion would be main­tained and pro­tected. All three of those prom­ises were bro­ken.

In­stead, we now have a com­pli­cated and con­fus­ing ref­er­en­dum. From day one, this has been a stacked deck in a rigged game and the NDP are hop­ing you won’t no­tice.

No­body should be left out in the dark when they vote this Fall. We all want to make our democ­racy bet­ter. But this is not the way to do it.

Vot­ing sys­tems mat­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.