Voters in B.C.have until Nov. 30 to return mail-in ballots in the proportional representation referendum. —Image: contributed

B.C.’s leaders to debate proportional representation: The case for switching to PR

Premier John Horgan and Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson will square off at 7 p.m. on TV tonight

  • Nov. 8, 2018 4:40 p.m.

By Wayne Broughton

If B.C. voters judge on merit, proportional representation (Pro Rep) should trounce the current system in the upcoming referendum.

There’s expert consensus on Pro Rep.

Canada is being left behind: most advanced democracies use Pro Rep, and experts agree it’s more democratic. Polls show citizens with Pro Rep are more satisfied with their governments, because those countries tend to have:

• Higher scores in health, education, and standard of living

• Lower debt, lower corporate taxes, and better long-term economic growth

• Greater civil liberty and better privacy protections

• Less government corruption • Better environmental stewardship

• More women/minorities participating in politics.

RELATED: To change, or not to change, that is the proportional representation referendum question

Why does Pro Rep produce these benefits?

Decision-making is better when everyone’s at the table and co-operation is necessary.

Under FPTP, a party can win a majority of seats and 100 per cent of the power with a minority of votes. Almost every B.C. government since the 1950s has been a “false majority” like this. Each government dismantles the previous government’s programs, creating rollercoaster policy swings.

With Pro Rep, a party that wins 40 per cent of the votes gets about 40 per cent of the seats. Parties must cooperate to develop policies, which means better decision-making and more stable policy.

Under FPTP, it’s normal for over half our votes to be wasted.

If you didn’t vote for the sole winner in your riding, then your vote didn’t help elect anyone. With a Pro Rep system, most votes do help elect someone—so more citizens are represented.

In the past, you may not have bothered to vote because the result in your riding has been a foregone conclusion. With Pro Rep, when your vote doesn’t help elect the front-runner, it can still help elect the second or third most popular candidate.

So Pro Rep means you don’t have to vote strategically. You can vote for who you like, knowing your vote will matter.

RELATED: B.C.’s proportional representation referendum: The case against switching to PR

Why does the No side have any support, then?

First, “Big Tent” parties are worried about losing votes to smaller parties that many of their current supporters actually prefer.

Second, Pro Rep hampers the ability of wealthy elites, who dominate the No side’s funding, to swing elections with expensive attack ads.

Opponents of Pro Rep with vested interests in the status quo have scare mongered with false claims.

Here’s the truth:

• Pro Rep will maintain the regional balance of power because no region will lose MLAs.

• Candidates will not be “dropped in” by parties; they will be nominated in local/regional meetings, just like today.

• Moderate parties will dominate because they need five per cent of the vote to elect members.

• Pro Rep is sufficiently simple for 80 per cent of advanced democracies. We’re smart enough too.

For more information go to prorepfactcheck.ca.

Please help improve our democracy and vote Yes on question one: We need proportional representation. All the Pro Rep systems in question two are moderate and vastly better than FPTP.

The choice is clear: Voting for proportional representation is voting for real democracy.

Wayne Broughton is an associate professor of mathematics at UBCO and a spokesperson for the Kelowna chapter of Fair Vote.

Just Posted

Councillor trying for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding federal seat

Joan Phillip acclaimed as NDP candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Former Greyhound bus drivers gather in the Okanagan for one last hurrah

Bash kicks off Friday in Penticton and runs until Sunday

New law introduced to make donating “easier for Canadians”

MP Dan Albas introduces crypto currency-favouring legislation

22nd annual Peachland World of Wheels show kicks off May long weekend

Sunday will 500 classic cars and over 10,000 attendees

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

Okanagan adventurer continues motorcycle trip around the world

Vernon local James Leigh recently completed the third of five legs of the journey, travelling through China and Kazakhstan

Riders “step up” their game at Coldstream Equestrian Clinic

Riders from across the Okanagan travelled to Coldstream to train for the 2019 55+ Senior Games, which take place in Kelowna this fall.

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

ICBC urging drivers to slow down this May long weekend

Speed is number one cause of car crash fatalities: ICBC

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read