Horse-trading between coalitions of parties correlates with a larger portion of GDP being government spending. (Fraser Institute)

Proportional representation grows government, B.C. study finds

Spending, deficits higher in countries where voting system used

Proportional representation doesn’t just lead to more parties and coalition governments, it produces more elections and more government spending, an analysis of its effect around the world has found.

Ballots are being mailed out to registered voters across B.C. next week, offering voters three alternative voting systems for a mail-in referendum that closes at the end of November.

University of Windsor political science professor Lydia Miljian surveyed the international literature on countries that have adopted various forms of proportional representation. Between 2004 and 2015, governments such as Greece, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Portugal, Austria and Norway generally spent more of their Gross Domestic Product than governments such as Australia, France, Canada and the United States.

The difference is related to the larger number of parties, each making demands on the government to satisfy their areas of interest.

“Coalition governments – a staple of PR systems – regularly have to secure smaller, niche parties by funding their pet policy projects, which means more expensive government paid for by taxpayers,” said Miljan, a Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of the study, The Consequences of Electoral Reform in British Columbia.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby has decided the ballot will contain two questions, the first being a choice between the current “first past the post” system for choosing MLAs, and a proportional representation system.

RELATED: Premier agrees to debate on proportional representation

The second ballot question is a choice of three systems, two of which are untried. They are:

• Dual member proportional, where neighbouring pairs of districts in B.C. would be combined into one two-member constituencies, except for the larger rural districts, which would remain unchanged.

• Mixed member proportional, which combines single-member districts with party list candidates, added to give each party the number of seats determined by their share of the province-wide vote in an election.

• Rural-urban proportional representation, with multi-member districts for urban and semi-urban areas, with voters choosing their MLA on a ranked ballot. In rural areas, a mixed-member proportional system using candidate lists chosen by parties would be used.

The complexity of the options means voters will not have an official map of the new voting districts when they make their choice. Eby said if voters choose to change to a new system, the district boundaries would be determined by the independent Electoral Boundaries Commission.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kelowna artist featured on furniture

Shandra Smith’s work is now available on credenzas

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

Man pinned under metal tank in West Kelowna

Emergency personnel are on the scene

Mudslide sends debris into Highway

Highway 33 near Joe Rich had mud spilled on the highway from the slide

Kangaroo Creek Farm hops into season

Lake Country’s popular tourist site has opened its doors for the season

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Sock Hop aims to send dancers back to another time

Writers’ Festival fundraiser in Salmon Arm springs into step for another year

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Penticton SAR team helicopters injured climber to safety

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

Kootnekoff: R v. Sidhu, was he asleep?

Driver in Humboldt crash wasn’t distracted at time of collision with bus,… Continue reading

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Most Read