LETTER: Why an election now?

The fourth wave of COVID-19 is here, and wildfires are devastating our province. This is a bad time for an election, so why was it called?

There are two reasons: polls that indicate Liberals are ahead, and our winner-take-all voting system where a candidate requires only one vote more than the runner-up to win a riding.

Enough ridings each won by a few votes produces a majority. In other words, a small change in voter preference can result in a large change in seats

And there we have it – the Liberals want the absolute power that a majority of seats confers, with no need for the consultation, co-operation or compromise that a minority government requires.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In proportional representation voting systems, the legislative seat count accurately reflects voters’ wishes.

There is no reward for calling a snap election based on polling data. A small change in votes does not produce a large change in elected seats.

This June, a parliamentary standing committee voted in favour of undertaking a study on the feasibility of establishing a Citizen’s Assembly, whose purpose would be to intensively study different electoral systems and make recommendations on changes (if any) to our current system. It would have been a great opportunity to hear from ordinary Canadians on a critical aspect of our democracy.

Sadly, the motion to study this concept died on the order paper; a lost opportunity for citizen input, thanks to this election call.

Sue Young