Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Photo: Bill Metcalfe

LETTER: Proportional representation, because it’s 2021

From readers Ann Remnant and Sjeng Derkx

This February marks the fourth anniversary of Justin Trudeau’s broken promise on electoral reform. It was a key campaign issue, repeated over 1,800 times, then abruptly abandoned. Trudeau was by no means the first politician to break his electoral promise.

William Lyon Mackenzie King promised that 1921 would be the last election under FPTP. Pierre Trudeau said “I would support a system of proportional representation.” Conservatives Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney once spoke passionately and eloquently in favour of electoral reform. The Alberta NDP, led by Rachel Notley, ditched proportional representation just months before they won the election.

Politicians of all stripes have supported electoral reform while in opposition, only to abandon it when they get a taste of the raw power of majority government. In contrast, decades of opinion polls and studies have shown strong and consistent majority support for electoral reform from regular Canadians, across party lines.

BC’s Citizens’ Assembly of 2004 managed to break the stalemate between citizens and politicians. The result of a citizen driven process, which was transparent and kept politicians at arms length, was supported by almost 60 per cent of British Columbia voters. Citizen assemblies across the globe have proven the effectiveness of that type of deliberative democracy.

A century of broken promises tells us that politicians, on their own, will never deliver electoral reform. It will take an independent, transparent, and non-partisan national citizens’ assembly to finally realize the fairer democracy we all deserve. Let’s not wait another century!

The issue of electoral reform is not going away. The next generation of Canadians is now picking it up. If you have three minutes, please watch this fun, catchy music video, written and produced by young performing artists from Edmonton, and share it if you like it. Because it’s 2021.

Ann Remnant and Sjeng Derkx


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sherpas Cinema films Imagination in the West Kootenay. Photo: Jake Dyson
New Kootenay film commission unveiled

The Civic Theatre and Kootenay Rockies Tourism have partnered on the initiative

Old tennis courts in Salmo are going to be renovated thanks to a School District 8 initiative. Photo: Submitted
Salmo tennis courts, skate park to be revitalized

School District 8 is partnering with other organizations on the $135,000 project

Hannah Deboer-Smith (left) and her sister Avery Deboer-Smith are involved in myriad activities in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
The women who make Nelson great

We celebrate some of the women who make impacts big and small on our city

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. File photo
COMMON’S CORNER: Challenging the government on vaccine availability and more

The first of a quarterly column from Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

Ravi Kahlon is shown in Surrey, B.C. on Monday, May 8, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. eases requirements, extends deadline for small business recovery grants

Businesses must now show a 30 per cent drop in revenue in any one month compared to the year before

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read