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Posted: September 29, 2018

Proportional Representation or First-Past-the-Post?

Letter to the Editor

The upcoming referendum on whether to abandon the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) electoral system in B.C. will have a profound impact on our province.

Here are some facts that voters should consider before voting (by mail) in the referendum in late October/early November:

  • In the last 65 years in B.C., the NDP have had political power for only 13 of those years – moving to Proportional Representation (PR) is about giving them power more often, without their party having to earn the most votes, as is necessary under FPTP;
  • When the BC Liberal government held two previous referendums on the same topic, recognizing the population imbalance between rural and urban B.C., we gave rural ridings the same influence over the outcome as highly populated urban ridings – the NDP has not done this;
  • Of the three choices you have on the referendum ballot, two have not been tried anywhere in the world – apparently, we are guinea pigs to the NDP;
  • If you vote yes to PR, up to 40 MLAs will be appointed by political parties, not elected as individuals – this makes MLAs accountable to parties rather than constituents and political parties already have too much influence;
  • Our riding of Kootenay East will disappear, to be replaced by a super riding that covers most or all of the Kootenay region – it’s good bye to local representation;
  • Since the Second World War, PR in Italy has resulted in one election per year on average, in Greece, one election every 1.5 years and in Belgium, one election every two years. Do we really want more elections?
  • PR inevitably leads to smaller, fringe and often extreme parties having disproportional influence. Sweden right now has a Neo-Nazi party that the larger parties must satisfy if they want to govern;
  • Majority governments get more done than minority governments. I can say without hesitation that even with a majority, it is very difficult to get things done in government. Under PR, it would be hopeless

Bill Bennett,


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