Electoral reform is what BC needs, but won't get

Two & Out
By James Peters
April 28, 2017 - 4:00pm

KAMLOOPS — It's the cruelest joke on BC citizens: the one thing our democracy needs the most to function properly is the one thing it won't get after this election, and maybe not any other. 

Witnessing the cantankerous all-candidates forum this week made that abundantly clear.

Good ideas were expressed on all sides of the political spectrum, and on almost every issue. 

Methods of saving taxpayer dollars or spending them wisely are being formulated all the time by people dedicated to serving the public as politicians. 

But when a party is elected government on May 9, only one set of ideas will be implemented, representing the will of only a portion of the BC population. 

All of the other smart ideas will be left on the sidelines.

So what we need first and foremost in BC, and across Canada really, is electoral reform, and some form of proportional representation. 

If representatives from different parties could come together in a collaborative way, rather than competing for supremacy in the halls of power, better decisions would be made. 

It's not going to happen, though. 

At least not when the foremost champion of electoral reform, Justin Trudeau, even turns his back on changing the process. 

Governments in power tend to want to stay in power, so changing the system that brought them to power is far from the top of their priority lists. 

And it's not as if there is a ton of popular support for the notion, either. 

When British Columbians voted on electoral reform in 2005, the outcome was 58 per cent in favour — not enough to change the system, but enough to keep the conversation going. 

When they voted again in 2009, support dropped to 39 per cent. 

That loss of momentum resulted in the conversation being all but abandoned. 

Good on the BC Greens for committing to keeping the conversation going. 

Electoral reform is still a good idea, despite a majority of British Columbians saying otherwise in 2009.

People tend toward the status quo, so it will take education to get the public on board.

More than that, it will take a whole lot of political will, and judging how this issue is barely being discussed by politicians during this campaign, it's unlikely that political will exists.