To the editor:
In November, the provincial government will ask B.C. voters to pick a voting system for future generations to come. To the woe of those seeking change, the selection of an optimal voting system is complex and touches on some mind-numbing topics such as false majorities, strategic voting, and wasted votes. But delivered in the right way, the subject of electoral reform can actually be pretty interesting. A quick search of “Problems of First Past the Post” on YouTube yields some amazing videos that explain the various electoral systems using animated graphics and animal examples. In addition to a vast array of internet content on the topic, one can also learn from the experience of most OECD countries. They have long used proportional representation and so there many examples and much information, both positive and some less so, that B.C. (and Canada) can draw on to help design a made-for-B.C. proportional system.
Make no mistake, in years to come, we can have an electoral system that will provide stable, effective, representative and accountable governments that reflect the will of a true majority of the electorate rather than just the view of the largest minority party. So let actual facts rule the day. Do not be swayed by fear mongering or by worries of possible unexpected wrinkles that modernizing our electoral rules may cause. The path to a more democratic electoral system can be challenging, however other countries such as Scotland, New Zealand and Germany have forged this path already and are the better for it. We need more impartial hard information perhaps in an independent report from Elections BC and less hysterical interpolation from some politicians, party insiders and biased hacks about how evil proportional representation is.
If we had allowed the fear mongers, the worrywarts and nay-sayers to control the agenda in the past, our electoral system would not have secret ballots, would have open buying of votes, people without property, and minorities and women would not have a vote at all. To improve the system, just as we did in the past, we need to not be afraid to move forward.