EDITORIAL: The devil you know...

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. British Columbians have voted to keep first-past-the post as our electoral system.

Judging by the numbers, the majority of North Shore voters will be celebrating. West Vancouver-Capilano voters were 71 per cent in favour of keeping the current system. North Vancouver-Seymour voters were a solid 60 per cent. North Vancouver-Lonsdale, the only riding here represented by an NDP MLA, was 56 per cent in support of FPTP. West Vancouver-Sea to Sky was closest but still the majority, 51 per cent, favoured the status quo.

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At roughly 42 per cent voter turnout, we do lament that so many people chose to put their ballots in the blue box rather than the mailbox. One of the promised benefits of proportional representation is that everyone can know their vote counted. This was a dry run for how such a system could work.

We also lament the debate we watched play out in the public. Instead of taking the form of a reasoned discussion about the pros and cons of the various options on the table, it largely took the form of partisan sniping.

What we do not lament is the outcome. This is the third time in recent years British Columbians have said No to electoral reform. The margin of victory for the FPTP side in this vote is almost identical to the results of 2009’s BC-STV referendum.

To those celebrating the status quo, we say congrats. For the foreseeable future, elections will be fought and won using the rules with which we are familiar. To those crushed by disappointment, we say: take heart. If history serves as any record, the next electoral reform referendum is likely no more than a decade away.

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