Gateway Gazette

Proportional Representation on BC’s Front Burner!

British Columbia voted for change and it would appear John Horgan and Andrew Weaver have found common ground to deliver real change. They have signed a Supply and Confidence Agreement and intend to work together for a full four year term making BC the most exciting jurisdiction in Canada’s political landscape. That kind of time and commitment will be needed to implement proportional representation.

“It’s very encouraging to see these two leaders determined to show that cooperation and compromise are key to a functioning democracy,” says Terry Dance-Bennink, Co-Chair, Fair Vote Victoria. “False majorities across this country have proven to be antithetical to democracy and progressive policy. BC citizens have a rare opportunity to show us how it’s done and we can’t wait.”

“What sets this Government apart from others who have promised reform is we have two leaders who will stand-up for democracy and campaign to make the system fairer through equal and effective votes. That means citizens will have an opportunity to truly make an informed decision through an honest, open, transparent debate. It will be a breath of fresh air.”

“Fair Vote Canada will offer its help to provide the necessary education materials that were absent in the one-sided debate offered by the federal liberals” says Kelly Carmichael, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada.

The BC election was a referendum on the last false-majority government. It’s important to remember that 57% of BCers voted in favour of PR on the first referendum and 57% of BCers just voted for either the NDP or Greens! Citizens coalesced their votes around; amongst other things, a promise to end first-past-the-post voting and an historic opportunity to have a truly democratic voting system that will make all our votes count — only proportional representation can deliver on that promise.

Although we don’t agree that a referendum is a necessary requirement to usher in voter equality and acknowledge that most countries with PR have not used one, we understand the desire to get endorsement from the BC public.

Carmichael adds “Reformers and allies will join forces to win the 2018 referendum on proportional representation. We are confident the electoral reform movement will have another major breakthrough like the PEI plebiscite win. Things have changed since the last BC referendum. We believe politicians have underestimated the size and growth of the electoral reform movement and the tide has turned on this issue. The electoral reform movement has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 4 years. We now have social media that provide a counter-balance. We have leaders who will actually lead on the issue. We have anger over the broken federal promise. And we have a massive grassroots network in BC ready to mobilize, educate and win.”

We hope the leaders of BC will tap into the wealth of knowledge available through previous commissions and studies. We also recommend strong citizens involvement, an expedited process and a robust education program. Let’s get this one right!

Rick Habgood, FVC Victoria Co-chair adds “As one of our volunteers pointed out ‘Lacking a majority, the government has to resort to the quaint expedient of winning the argument. How refreshing!’

Fair Vote Canada

Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a grassroots multi-partisan citizens’ campaign for voting system reform. We promote the introduction of an element of proportional representation into elections for all levels of government and throughout civil society.

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