TEGART: Proportional representation would be bad for rural B.C.

By on November 1, 2017
(Comstock Images/Thinkstock).

 

Our democratic system is built upon the idea that everyone’s voice is equal. That will change if the NDP get their way. The NDP’s bill 6 means to bring in a proportional representation (PR) system to British Columbia.

In order to push this referendum through they have lowered the bar to the absolute minimum of 50 per cent and 1 one vote compared to the previous requirement of 60 per cent plus 50 per cent of ridings. As populations in B.C. are not evenly distributed, the 2.8 million people living in the Lower Mainland would have a disproportionate amount of representation and control over the entire province.

Historically, PR systems often lead to smaller parties and encourages coalition governments. If we look to other countries as examples of PR, Belgium’s coalition government took 589 days to form government in 2010.

During this time day to day operations were completed by government, but big decisions surround migration legislation and the Eurozone Crisis were delayed by over a year. This year the Netherlands took 208 days to form government. If these countries are any indication of what the NDP PR system intend to introduce, government will likely grind to an indefinite gridlock with no one at the helm.

The NDP are also changing the referendum process so that their cabinet, not an independent body, will draft the question that appears on ballots. Thus, they have ample opportunity to hold this referendum in such a way that is not fair to the people of B.C., and ultimately serves their purposes.

B.C. has already voted twice against electoral reform in 2005 and 2009. Unfortunately, the NDP are determined to force a broken PR system on people who have already given them their answer. I encourage you all to watch for further information as this is a vote that could change B.C. forever.

 

Jackie Tegart is the MLA for Fraser-Nicola

4 Comments

  1. Réal Lavergne

    November 7, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    It’s been my experience in life that establishing consensus takes time, but that it is a healthier way of doing things than having the big kid make all the rules unilaterally. It seems, in Belgium, that this is the approach they have chosen rather than having to deal in other ways with the serious linguistic divisions in that country. I respect their choice and understand that it is working well for them, all things considered. In BC, in the last provincial election, we ended up with the sort of result that would be normal under a proportional system, in which no party obtains a majority of seats based on 40% of the vote. This did not lead to gridlock, and but rather to a more collaborative form of government involving two parties that together secured 57% of the popular vote. If that is what proportional representation is all about I say, “Bring it on!” I would encourage MLA Tegart to do the same. We can do better than our current winner-take-all system of politics.

  2. Vivian Unger

    November 8, 2017 at 8:51 am

    This piece starts off with the statement, “Our democratic system is built upon the idea that everyone’s voice is equal.” It may be the idea, but it’s not the reality. With our current system, more than half of votes cast elect nobody. If we want a system that will make everyone’s voice/vote equal, we need proportional representation.

    How does FPTP help rural people? It doesn’t. Rural people cast wasted votes just like everybody else. It’s true that most people live in cities, so if you assume that everybody in the city votes one way and everybody in the country votes another way, then you might feel threatened by cities, but that’s not how real life works. It’s sad to see Jackie Tegart trying to fearmonger and stir up an urban-rural divide to serve what she believes to be her own political interests.

    Most democracies in the world use proportional representation. One can always cherry-pick examples of this or that hung parliament, but by and large, those other democracies work better than ours.

    Can Tegart give us an example of the horrific nature of New Zealand’s government? How about Finland? How about Germany?

    It’s exciting that B.C. is so close to moving from quasi-democracy to genuine democracy. Liberal MLAs who fear for their jobs will spend the next year trying to scare voters away from it. I hope the people will not listen.

    • Michael Ufford

      November 8, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      OK, let’s look at Germany since their MMP proportional voting system is a model for Canadian PR activists. In its October 2017 election, the number of parties in the Bundestag increased to a record number and for the very first time included the right wing anti-immigrant part AfD. The AfD won in only 3 ridings but was awarded an additional 91 seats via the party list. Due to MMP’s complex overhang system, the legislature had to be increased by 79 seats. And, being PR, no clear winner emerged, so private negotiations will be required to cobble together a governing coalition. German political scientist predict a very lengthy process this time with the election not expected to be settled until sometime in 2018. Is this a voting system we want?

      If you prefer the stability, accountability and simplicity of BC and Canada’s current voting system, join our non-partisan Facebook Group: FPTP … It Works for Canada.

  3. Allen Peters

    November 9, 2017 at 8:37 am

    As happens, fear of change drives how many of us think. If we truly believe in democracy, perhaps we should eliminate party politics entirely and build a system in which every riding elects the best candidate for the job. A candidate in every riding who not only wants what is best for their riding but also has vision for the entire province. A system where every vote in the house is based on what is best for the people and not tied to party lines. When I watch the antics of representatives attacking the house leader for trying to build some dignity and respect back into politics, I see a need for change. I say bring it on. To Jackie, please represent the riding, my gut tells me the riding voted for you as their choice and not necessarily your party.

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