LETTER: Proportional Representation misrepresented

A letter to the editor by Barbara Hooper

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Dear Editor:

I must respond to the misinformation present in Donna Barnett’s MLA Report in the Nov. 29 Free Press. Donna, I like you. I know you are sincere, but you must get your facts straight. We know you don’t like Proportional Representation and we know why Liberals and Conservatives do not. First Past the Post has been very good to you both. But we are so ready for a more fair and equitable election system!

Firstly, I did not find the referendum ballot “highly complicated” at all. As a retired teacher, I would say they did a pretty good job at explaining it. Of course, being someone who takes my citizenship seriously, I did do my homework. The ballot information just summed it all up nicely for me. Secondly, people “who feel they don’t have enough information on the three models of proportional representation models proposed” must have missed the huge amount of material that has been easily accessible for months now. And yes, I can see why you would prefer that “the ballot be a simple “Yes” or “No” question. That way no one would have the ballot information which I found so informative in allowing me to understand how to vote and why to vote.

When referring to the three proposed systems of PR you state that there were “two of which have never been used anywhere else in the world”.

This is untrue. In the ballot material (from Elections B.C.) it states that Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) is “used in a number of countries, including Germany, New Zealand and Scotland.” Of Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP), which is a combination of Single Transferable Vote (STV) and Mixed Member Proportional (MMP – see above), it states “STV is used in Ireland, Australia and Malta” and again, “MMP is used in Germany, New Zealand and Scotland”.

Finally, this is so ironic I literally “fell off my chair laughing” reading it: You express the concern that, as in P.E.I., if “only a third of voters (here in B.C.) cast a ballot, we could be facing a situation where less than 17 per cent of voters will determine the outcome.” That is exactly the situation we have had under First Past the Post which we are trying to end by bringing in Proportional Representation!

Barbara Hooper

Forest Grove

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