Ship has sailed for proportional representation in B.C.; wave goodbye

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
April 20, 2017 - 4:52am

KAMLOOPS — Why is it that B.C. politicians think they have to keep promising to change the electoral system in this province?

In recent days, both NDP leader John Horgan and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, for reasons possibly known only to themselves, have dropped electoral change into their platforms. Well, to be fair, they’ve been committed to it for awhile, but now that we’re into the campaign, it’s been added onto other platform announcements like a tagline.

Horgan promises to “move towards a proportional voting system,” whatever exactly that means. Will we have yet another plebiscite on proportional representation? That seems to be his intent.

Weaver also wants proportional representation plus, of all things, the right to vote for 16-year-olds. The latter idea is simply inexplicable, so let’s set it aside for another day and stick to prop rep.

People, this ship has sailed. It’s day is done. Stick a fork in it.

Justin Trudeau promised the end of first-past-the-post, until he figured out it was a really bad idea, that it simply wasn’t anywhere on Canadians’ priority list, and had to reverse himself. Alberta’s NDP once promised to do the same thing, and came to understand the party would probably never achieve power undr such a system.

Here in B.C., under the Liberals, voters have twice — not once, but twice — rejected the single transferable vote, an incredibly complicated variation on proportional representation.

It’s no wonder the Greens like proportional representation — it might actually get a few members elected. But the public at large just doesn’t buy all the bafflegab about “no wasted votes” and “more democratic” and “better government” and “coalition building” and “fairness” and all that.

First past the post works, and works well, yet, almost as an afterthought, the Greens and NDP feel some sort of obligation to pay lip service to proportional representation.

Give it up. Stick to the stuff people care about, like jobs, integrity in government, and health care. Proportional representation is a chestnut that’s over-roasted, and needs to be retired to the colony of bad ideas that fortunately never became reality.

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