LETTER: Proportional representation — it’s almost time for champagne

From reader Ann Remnant

Hats off to the NDP minority government for introducing legislation on electoral reform. BC will hold a mail in referendum by November 2018 following public consultation. The threshold will be 50 per cent plus one vote and both the NDP and the Greens will campaign in favour of proportional representation. The first step has been taken and it shows commitment from the government. Not quite champagne yet, but definitely a celebratory glass of wine. Cheers!

There is good support for proportional representation (PR). A recent poll shows that 65 per cent of BC citizens support PR. Over 90 countries worldwide use PR systems, with Canada, USA and England being the three notable exceptions. Not one country has ever chosen to go back to first past the post (FPTP).

In spite of 100 years of petitions, referendums, endless studies and commissions, culminating in Trudeau’s recent broken promise, governments are loathe to drop FPTP because it gives them 100 per cent power on a fraction of the vote. Then there are the mainstream media ‘merchants of fear’ who obstinately defend a voting system so undemocratic that it consistently shuts out half of the voters.

There are challenges ahead, but having elected the first minority government in 65 years gives us a rare window of opportunity to improve our voting system, right now, right here, in B.C. Let’s not waste this chance, and yes, you can help: sign the B.C pledge, spread the word, volunteer.

We get one chance, every four years, to have our say. Nathan Cullen, federal NDP Democratic Reform critic, said in a recent visit to Nelson, “I want my vote to count, and I want my neighbour’s vote to count too.” Isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t that the whole idea of democracy?

I look forward to that day. My champagne is on ice.

Ann Remnant

Fair Vote Canada

Nelson

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