To the Editor:
What a wonderfully robust debate swirls around the Pro Rep Question. We are formally challenged to consider changing BC’s election system.
There is some devilry at play in any democracy –“the worst of all systems except for all the others,” quipped Winston Churchill.
‘Better the devil we know’ is a common phrase given play in defense of the status quo.
In BC General Elections, First Past The Post plainly depicts the status quo system and Proportional Representation plainly depicts an alternative on offer.
The devil we know is a First Past The Post system that delivers governments where the actual vote takes a back seat to individual outcomes in our 87 districts. The Party that wins in more districts than the others gets 100% control even with as little as 35% of the popular vote.
The devil we don’t know is Proportional Representation. We know it is a system at work in Scotland, New Zealand, The Netherlands and elsewhere worldwide. We know that it turns out governments in which the different political parties tend to work harder to sort through legislation.
In a Proportional Representation system sudden sharp shifts in policy are less common. Voters don’t have to “burn down the house to clean the carpets” as one commentator put it. The balance of power shifts between parties who are continuously challenged to work together to get things done. Negotiation and compromise are the watchwords in Proportional Representation.
The BC Referendum options are set out in our mail-in ballots. As usual, watch out for statistical subterfuge, fear mongering,
bandwagons, special interests, conspiracy theorists and political hack packs.
Consider that both leading BC parties have presented the proportional representation alternative over the past 20 years. Evidently both see
something worthwhile in it.
Dig as much as you can here and there to inform your Referendum vote.
Whichever way you vote on the Referendum Question, get your ballot included before November 30th.