Letter to the editor: Proportional representation leads to fairer elections

Dear Editor.

Letter writers occasionally challenge the integrity and fairness of the Proportional ballots.

Having lived in a country for about 22 years, where they have used a Proportional ballot for decades, it’s tempting to review some of the main concerns people have, when comparing PR to our current First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) ballot.

While our colonial system does accommodate several political parties, the facts are that the federal Liberal and Conservative parties have alternately formed the federal government for the last 154 consecutive years.

And yes, we have had three referendums on electoral reform in BC.

All three promoted an STV ballot, that was presented to be administered as a preferential, ranked, run-off ballot, without separating the party vote from the candidate vote, which is the main feature that defines any honest Proportional ballot.
The BC Liberals, who do not want democracy, conducted an extremely aggressive campaign, and defeated it.

The population of New Zealand, where they adopted PR some time ago, is about the same as BC, about 5 million.

With 120 elected Members compared to our 87 MLAs only means their elected Members are representing only about 42,000 people compared to our MLAs, each representing about 57,000.

Concerns about size and shape of electoral areas and districts are completely without foundation, as Elections BC and Elections Canada both review and define those electoral areas based on the number and location of the people who live there.

Using different electoral systems will not change that significantly, even when several electoral areas are ‘bundled’ into multi-member districts, and size and shape of province or country is a non-issue.

Looking at the results of the last federal election it’s obvious our current system does not serve us well.

In all of Alberta and Saskatchewan the Liberals did not win a single one of the 42 seats.

Every single vote cast for the Liberals in the two provinces were a total waste.

While those results are extremely unfair and undemocratic, the next election will very likely produce similar results.

Had we used a Proportional ballot that separates the party vote from the candidate vote, not only would the Liberals have elected a few MPs with their party vote, they would also have been free to elect candidates who would be free to respond to the needs and aspirations of the voters, instead of electing MPs who will continue to be manipulated and controlled by party leaders.

Having been exposed to both systems has been an incredible eye opener that clearly demonstrates a desperate need to change our electoral system.