6) ELECTORAL REFORM: THE NEXT CONTEST

 

People's Voice Editorial

 

            In what may be the last chance in a generation to win voting reforms in British Columbia, the province will hold a mail-in referendum later this year. Voters will choose, either to keep the current first-past-the-post system, or to replace "FPTP" by a form of proportional representation. As longstanding supporters of PR, we urge British Columbians to back a change to elect a legislature which more accurately reflects their range of political views. Such a shift would have two major benefits. "Mainstream" (usually pro-corporate) parties would find it more difficult to win artificially large majorities with far less than fifty percent of the total votes, and then ignore popular protests against their right-wing policies. PR would also give a better shot at electing candidates from smaller parties - such as the Communist MPs and members of legislatures who were among the first voices in Canada to demand old age pensions, unemployment insurance, public child care, and universal health care.

            But while BC's NDP government and their Green partners favour scrapping FPTP, when the referendum is held, the corporate media and the big business Liberals will be predicting disaster if first-past-the-vote loses. Another barrier is also in the way. Two previous referenda on BC's voting system offered the "Single Transferable Vote" option. Whatever STV's  merits or faults, this is not a proportional system. Elections under the proposed BC-STV map would have resulted in very little change, other than the likely election of a couple of Greens - who won three seats under FPTP last spring.

            We urge people's Voice readers on the west coast to take the provincial government's online questionnaire on options for the mail-in ballot. Indicate your strong support for a mixed-member proportional rep option, as the best way to give voters the opportunity to support a strong left-wing alternative such as the Communist Party.

 

(The above article is from the February 15-28, 2018, issue of People's Voice, Canada's leading socialist newspaper. Articles can be reprinted free if the source is credited. Subscription rates in Canada: $30/year, or $15 low income rate; for U.S. readers - $45 US per year; other overseas readers - $45 US or $50 CDN per year. Send to People's Voice, c/o PV Business Manager, 706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC, V5L 3J1.)