Provincial elections could undergo a dramatic change if a referendum on proportional representation passes next fall.(Black Press files)

Change the system

LETTER: Vernon resident proponent of proportional represenation

I support proportional representation (PR) for many reasons. Good research shows countries using PR do better than countries such as Canada that use winner-take-all voting systems—on income equality, fiscal responsibility, economic and social stability, health, education, environment, and voter turnout.

Eighty-five per cent of the world’s most economically advanced countries use some form of PR. A party receiving 40 per cent of the vote receives 40 per cent of legislative seats, not an unearned majority. A voting system that fairly represents the electorate, requires cooperation among politicians and parties, and promotes the well-being of its citizens. Can this be bad?

You might think so, listening to the fear mongering and misinformation coming from top Liberal brass and big-party partisans, both Liberal (Tom Fletcher) and NDP (Bill Tieleman). Talk about making mountains out of molehills.

Yes, with proportional representation smaller parties such as the Greens and Conservatives will be more fairly represented in the Legislature. Good democracy in my books! But no, neither Neo-Nazis nor Communists will be taking over the province.

All proposed made-in-British Columbia systems will impose a threshold (from five to 15 per cent elsewhere in the world) below which parties will not be given added seats.

Yes, with proportional representation there will most likely be a reconfiguration of MLAs, towards NDP and Greens in rural B.C., towards B.C. Liberals in the Lower Mainland, and towards Conservatives across the province. But no, there will not be a reduction in rural representation. The diverse voices of rural British Columbians will in fact be heard more strongly with this reconfiguration.

No voting system is perfect. The question is which voting system better reflects our values? I’m voting for fairness, cooperation, stronger democratic participation and good governance in the upcoming referendum. I encourage readers to research proportional representation, and join me.

Susan Young


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