Letter: PR system weakens link between voters and MLAs

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick weighs in

To the editor:

You have probably received your ballot by now on the referendum to stay with our current First Past The Post system of electing MLAs or “take a leap of faith” as Premier John Horgan suggests and switch to one of three alternatives with the exact details to be decided later behind closed doors. No doubt many of you have already voted. Thank you. To those who haven’t, here is why I voted to retain our current system. I believe it provides a better government and MLAs that are accountable to the voters first.

Over my almost 20 years of service in municipal and provincial government, I’ve knocked on tens of thousands of doors, working hard to understand what voters wanted for our community or province.

From those consultations, I produced my list of commitments so that the voters would know what priorities would be top of mind if elected and what results, or lack thereof, voters could hold me accountable to come to the next election. If the voters were unhappy with my performance they would replace me.

With any of the Proportional Representation electoral systems proposed in this referendum, we weaken the direct link between MLAs being accountable to the voters and strengthen the link to MLAs being beholden to their political party. How would a community ever replace an MLA they never voted in in the first place? I have voted against my party in the legislature. Do you think an MLA selected directly by the party using a PR list could ever have that freedom to represent the community they are assigned to and vote accordingly?

I fundamentally believe that MLAs clearly elected by their community, for their community, and accountable to their community, is the greatest strength of our current system. That ensures the strongest and best form of accountable government no matter which party wins.

Please provide our children and grandchildren with a legacy of stable, accountable government and vote to keep our current system.

MLA Norm Letnick, Kelowna-Lake Country

BC Health Critic

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