Editor, the Times:
It’s not so much a better method of accounting votes and assignment of seats system people want in electoral reform.
What people really want to see is fundamental change in the mentality and the culture of the current system toward something replacing domination by cynical partisan warfare and grating rhetorical assaults, a useless, cartoonish legislature, double talk answers to simple questions and politically stilted decisions.
It needs to be, and can be, replaced with something that’s based more on reason, study of issues, and application of methodical intellect to accomplish everyday governance.
Parties yes, compete yes, but to a healthy and smart degree, not destructively so.
If there’s merit in the present system it’s very hard to see. The legislature’s been made useless and laws are written and announced in advance and are never altered in the legislative process.
We have to watch this painful, empty process as if it had some real meaning, but the harsh reality is the legislature could be gone tomorrow and nothing would change.
The iron fist militancy of party discipline robs the public of democratic representation because the party leadership demands the elected members role is to solely support party platforms and policies no matter what the representative may personally think or feel on an issue.
Thus you as a constituent are robbed of true democratic representation.
We’re further robbed of representation by FPTP when it’s shown in the last three elections governments were elected with a 43.4 per cent average of the total vote, which means 56.6 per cent of the electorate are unrepresented. This majority gets only fringe seat onlooker rights and have no weight in government decisions.
These extremes need to be adjusted through a new system that lowers the power of the party leadership few and raises the power of elected members of the legislature. Free voices are absolutely essential to good decisions and progress, for innovative solutions to long standing neglected problems, and we’re bereft of this.
I’m sure people aren’t so naive as to think politics can be all sweetness and light, but certainly a method to provide a better balance to our status quo is vital to better governance.
Also be aware there are certain vested interest groups trying a full court press to defeat any change. They use scare tactics and try to create uncertainty and are betting we have no courage. They’re not saying who they are when they buy expensive media and use cover names, but you can probably guess who they are.
So British Columbians, if you believe cooperation is always better than conflict, you’ll have a chance to make comprehensive, remedial change in the upcoming referendum on electoral reform. You’re indeed obligated as citizens to do your part. This isn’t a tiny, optional exercise, but one vital to your own interests given the enormous bearing of government in your daily life.
I’m afraid this is your last chance and you should treat it accordingly.