“This is a pivotal time in B.C. history, to modernize our voting system from the current First-Past-the-Post …” writes Mary Donald.

Referendum a chance to make history

Letter to the Editor from Mary Donald of Riondel

This is a pivotal time in B.C. history, to modernize our voting system from the current First-Past-the-Post, (from the 12th Century), to a form of Proportional Representation.

Winner-takes-all in FPTP and the losing votes elect no one. “Majorities” are now won with less than 50 per cent of the popular vote, causing voter apathy and cynicism and poor voter turn-out. This is erosion of democracy.

In fact, “majority” governments are now representing a minority of the population and “minority” governments are more representative of the majority of the population. With Proportional Representation, the principle is the Legislature should reflect how we vote. 30 per cent of the votes of a party = 30per cent of the seats.

Over 85 per cent of westernized democracies use a form of Proportional Representation. They have higher voter turnout (many over 76 per cent) and higher youth voter turnout. In Pro Rep countries women are better represented, as are minorities and environmental issues.

The former PM of New Zealand, Helen Clark, stated that at first she was hesitant when they brought in Pro Rep, but that she soon learned to love it, stating there was “more cooperation, consensus and transparency”, and in her 9 year tenure they “got so much done” working collaboratively. Others talk of more meaningful dialogue and less confrontation in legislatures. Also, there is more consistency of policies into successive governments which means saving tax payers’ money.

The NO side, backed by powerful wealthy interest groups, prefers one party in power that they can lobby and influence. There has been fear-mongering and misinformation ads about Pro Rep. This is shameful behaviour when it is based on falsehoods. Check out facts at prorepfactcheck.ca

The rest of Canada is keenly watching us!

Mary Donald

Riondel

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