LETTER: Vote yes to PR and restore power

LETTER: Vote yes to PR and restore power

Re: Change can be a scary thing (Victoria News, Our View, Oct. 26)

Yes, change is scary but this isn’t a case of ‘better the devil you know, than the one you don’t’. Looking around, two more provinces are now ‘ruled’ by recent false majorities, elected with 40 per cent of the votes or less, yet locked on to power for four years. Earlier B.C. elections have yielded such absurdities as second-place parties forming so-called called ‘majority’ governments or near total sweeps of the legislature. These events all occurred with first-past-the post (FPTP). How can change be a bad thing if the electoral system works this poorly? Due to the way FPTP awards seats, roughly half the voters could stay home with no change in the election outcome and MLA’s can be elected with very low support. That’s not how democracy should work.

The real problem has been the outdated FPTP and BC has begun a mail-in vote on modernizing this archaic system. Proposed proportional representation (PR) systems for BC could preserve an element of FPTP but award some seats based on the proportion of the total votes. This will much better represent voters intentions, and the increasing diversity in our society. With a real chance to affect the outcome, more voters would participate in elections. PR would represent different viewpoints, beginning long-overdue reform of our democracy by promoting collaboration, cooperation and civility – all too scarce in our existing political reality.

PR would also greatly weaken the influence of corporate lobbyists who’d no longer be able to push their agenda through governments backed by a minority of voters. We’d eliminate the familiar, old-style autocratic regimes elected by a small minority. Foremost to remember , FPTP serves the interests of politicians and parties who are looking to preserve their jobs and maintain the status quo. They’re promoting false claims of referendum manipulation, unfairness and pending democratic chaos – unless we keep their old system. Let’s show them that at least voters know better and can change. Let’s all take the opportunity to retire some of outdated politicians now and restore hope and power to people by voting ‘yes’ to PR.

Mark Jeffers