Letters: Variety of voices speak in favour of proportional representation

The Editor, Most of our everyday world runs on one person, one vote, which is proportional representation (PR). How so?

The Editor,

Most of our everyday world runs on one person, one vote, which is proportional representation (PR). How so?

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When union members vote on a new contract, the person with high seniority and the person fresh out of school each gets one equally weighted vote.

When teachers vote on a new contract, the ballot from the teacher nearing retirement carries the same weight as the on-call teacher looking for their first full-time contract.

The same goes for every professional association and trade union.

There is no skewing the votes. No sub-group receives 39% of the votes and magically gets 54% of the decision-making, giving it 100% of the power — which is the exact skewing we regularly see in our first-past-the-post elections. This skewing is currently found in seven provinces and the federal government.

Why do we accept this voodoo magic in our most important forum, our elected governments?

We don’t have to and I’m tired of it. Vote for PR this fall.

Tom Rankin, Kamloops

••••••••••••

IT’S QUITE SIMPLE

The Editor,

I support proportional representation (PR) because it reflects the popular vote: 40% of the votes equals 40% of the seats; 20% of the votes equals 20% of the seats; 30% of votes equals 30% of the seats.

How straightforward, modern and effective. With PR, my vote would finally count.

With PR, the number of MLAs in any area would be at least the same as the current number, or slightly more.

The ballots would also be straightforward — they would look similar to the current ballots, except voters have more choices.

Let’s join the more than 80 countries around the world that use PR successfully, including Sweden, Denmark, Germany and New Zealand, all with stable, flexible and efficient government.

I will vote Yes to proportional representation in the referendum.

H. Helvoigt, Kamloops

••••••••••

LOOK TO ONTARIO

The Editor,

The dust seems to have settled, finally, on the Ontario government’s heavy handed intrusion into the democratic process of Toronto’s civic elections. Now, it should be very clear to all Canadians that under Canada’s constitution, civic government does not exist except at the whim of the provinces.

All it would take for something similar, or even worse, to be imposed on municipalities here in B.C. is for us to persist with our current archaic first-past-the-post electoral system.

This system creates false majority governments that enable a minority of the voters caught up in the passions of the moment to give an extremist party leader with only 40% of the vote the keys to 100% of the power in our provincial legislature, as just happened in Ontario.

Proportional representation (PR) is our best protection against extremists taking control of our government. If the recent Ontario election had happened under PR, Doug Ford‘s PC party would only have won 40% of the seats, not sufficient to form a government. So, to become premier, he would have had to persuade another party with at least 10% of the seats to support him.

Winning the support of another party would have required serious negotiation about his government’s proposed legislative agenda and priorities. During such negotiations, premier-designate Ford would have to have told his negotiating partner(s) of his plan and his reasons for halving the size of the Toronto city council.

I’m confident no responsible leader of any other Ontario political party would have agreed to associate themselves and their party with Ford’s personal vendetta against his former Toronto council colleagues.

I’m enthusiastically voting for PR for B.C. in the upcoming referendum so that everyone’s vote will count equally in all future elections and so that British Columbians will have an effective shield against extremists ever taking control of our government.

Marty Horswill, Nelson

•••••

FINDING SOLUTIONS

The Editor,

I didn’t grow up in a house that prioritized one person over others. I have three brothers, we’re all one year apart and our parents always took the time to listen to us.

Maybe that’s why it is so natural for me to do when listening to my own kids and wife.

This isn’t a unique set of circumstances; most of the people I surround myself with appear to be the same general kind of adaptive listener. I’ll bet many of us can say this.

And this is what has me so confused over the opposition to proportional representation (PR). If we can all demonstrate that having differing viewpoints is an opportunity to find solutions for everyone, why is it so hard to accept that politics would be better off this way? Politicians who win the most votes shouldn’t have a blank cheque to do whatever they want. This got us fast ferries, money laundering, out-of-control real estate, hard-hit forestry and many other avoidable policies.

I don’t see why a third of the province is so rabidly supporting more of that. It’s confusing.
In PR, which we can reverse in two elections’ time if we don’t like it, we would be accepting a system that works in the same solid way our lives do and one that generally leads to happier populations. I’ll be voting Yes to modernizing our electoral system and I hope all of you see the sense in doing so, too.

T. Wharton, New Westminster 

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