B.C. Legislative Assembly Chamber. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

LETTERS: Proportional representation debate not balanced

From readers Marty Horswill and Steve Fawcett

Expensive, full-page ads opposing proportional representation (PR) recently appeared in most newspapers in the province including the Nelson Star. “No” ads also appeared on TV in the same period.

If you were under the impression that both the “Yes” and the “No” sides in the upcoming referendum were supposed, by law, to be on an equal footing, you might have wondered “Where are all the full-page ads supporting the “Yes” side?”

You might also be wondering, as am I, “Who is behind these costly ads?”

We don’t know their names but one thing is very clear, the secretive donors behind these “No” ads have extremely deep pockets. Full page ads, especially on the front page of the Vancouver Sun, don’t come cheap.

So, I think it is now very clear that the privileged few — dare I say “the 1 per cent” — are opposed to PR. First-past-the-post must be working well for the interests of the extremely wealthy. That’s a good reason for the rest of us to wonder if it is possible for it to work for the 99 per cent at the same time?

By the time you read this the official referendum campaign will have begun and such grossly unbalanced and secretive advertising by either the “Yes” or the “No” side will, thankfully, be illegal. When voting in the referendum, I think we’d be wise to remember which side in this debate had no qualms about using their extreme wealth to try to sway the referendum outcome while it was still legal to do so.

Please, vote for an electoral system where every vote counts and minorities, wealthy or otherwise, can no longer garner 100 per cent of the power in our legislature. Vote “Yes” for Proportional Representation.

Marty Horswill

Nelson

In the June 28th Nelson Star, it’s telling that those in favour of a proportional voting system could only afford the “poor person’s ad” (Letters to the Editor), while those wanting to maintain the status-quo could afford two full-page ads. That indicates to me that those with great wealth and privilege don’t want anything to change, and they use that wealth to keep the average person under their thumbs.

For those who feel unsure about making such an important decision, be aware that there is a back-out clause. This from the “How We Vote” government report:

“Recommendation: That, if the result of the 2018 referendum is the adoption of a proportional representation voting system, a second referendum be held after two provincial general elections in which the proportional representation voting system is used on whether to keep that system or revert to the First Past the Post voting system.”

Steve Fawcett

Kaslo

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