September brings democracy week and there’s no more fitting time to discuss improving democracy. BC will soon hold a referendum on modernizing our electoral system. Judging by recent letters opposing proportional representation (PR), there are widely differing views and understandings about electoral systems. Some writers are clearly uninformed while others seemingly intend to mislead in order to advance their own quite limited viewpoint. They label all others as ‘fringe’, disregarding parties having wide support. In particular, BC Liberals have always sought to block change without any discussion. Readers should be sceptical of all and seek impartial sources of factual information to learn more about PR as well as the antiquated FPTP electoral system.
Some opposing PR are particularly concerning, with their aggressive tone, false assertions and deeply flawed logic. Claiming that first past the post serves BC well is absurd. Look at the 1996 election results when the 2nd place NDP formed a majority government! Next election, the same flawed FPTP system provided for only two MLAS to represent almost half the population of BC that didn’t vote Liberal in 2001. That is not democracy – except to BC Liberals!
The same authors clearly have a strong bias against non-liberal voters, repeatedly referring to them as fringe voters. One in six votes in the last election
were for the Green party. That would hardly count as a fringe vote. A strong majority were non-Liberal and democratically formed our current government. But let’s not surrender the narrative to those who seek to confuse the issue which is quite simply about fairness in our elections. It’s not about left-wing or right wing – it’s about having representative democracy.
Currently, Alberta has an NDP majority government elected by a minority. With PR, Alberta would now have a coalition right wing government. On the other end of the spectrum, Ontario has another false majority government of Trumpesque supporters, constituting a similar minority of voters. The majority in Ontario would have greatly benefited from PR.
Our political world is in crisis and it’s absolutely critical that we make changes to politics and electoral systems. Everyone needs to be concerned and to participate. All voices deserve to be represented in a true democracy. BC has the opportunity this fall to begin the process of correcting historic flaws in one democracy. Please voters – don’t fail us!