I recently spent five days on the train to Toronto, doing something I never expected — being illuminated by fellow travellers on proportional representation (Pro Rep). The train was full of tourists from abroad — from Germany, Australia, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand, Ireland, and more. Without our usual distractions, people had real conversations wherever they congregated.
Given the upcoming Pro Rep referendum in BC, the conversations often turned to electoral systems. We didn’t meet a single person from abroad who wasn’t already living under some form of Pro Rep. We heard over and over again how satisfied people are with their Pro Rep systems; they said their systems result in decisions that better reflect everyone’s needs, keep politicians more accountable, and make politics less antagonistic.
An Irish woman old enough to remember living under first past the post said, “If they switched back, I’d emigrate!” But one of the most telling comments of all was this one from a German: “I thought Canada was a first world country. I can’t believe you are still using first past the post.”
More than 90 countries, including 85 per cent of OECD countries, use Pro Rep. Time for Canada to get into the 21st century.