Voters in B.C.have until Nov. 30 to return mail-in ballots in the proportional representation referendum. —Image: contributed

B.C.’s leaders to debate proportional representation: The case for switching to PR

Premier John Horgan and Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson will square off at 7 p.m. on TV tonight

  • Nov. 8, 2018 4:40 p.m.

By Wayne Broughton

If B.C. voters judge on merit, proportional representation (Pro Rep) should trounce the current system in the upcoming referendum.

There’s expert consensus on Pro Rep.

Canada is being left behind: most advanced democracies use Pro Rep, and experts agree it’s more democratic. Polls show citizens with Pro Rep are more satisfied with their governments, because those countries tend to have:

• Higher scores in health, education, and standard of living

• Lower debt, lower corporate taxes, and better long-term economic growth

• Greater civil liberty and better privacy protections

• Less government corruption • Better environmental stewardship

• More women/minorities participating in politics.

RELATED: To change, or not to change, that is the proportional representation referendum question

Why does Pro Rep produce these benefits?

Decision-making is better when everyone’s at the table and co-operation is necessary.

Under FPTP, a party can win a majority of seats and 100 per cent of the power with a minority of votes. Almost every B.C. government since the 1950s has been a “false majority” like this. Each government dismantles the previous government’s programs, creating rollercoaster policy swings.

With Pro Rep, a party that wins 40 per cent of the votes gets about 40 per cent of the seats. Parties must cooperate to develop policies, which means better decision-making and more stable policy.

Under FPTP, it’s normal for over half our votes to be wasted.

If you didn’t vote for the sole winner in your riding, then your vote didn’t help elect anyone. With a Pro Rep system, most votes do help elect someone—so more citizens are represented.

In the past, you may not have bothered to vote because the result in your riding has been a foregone conclusion. With Pro Rep, when your vote doesn’t help elect the front-runner, it can still help elect the second or third most popular candidate.

So Pro Rep means you don’t have to vote strategically. You can vote for who you like, knowing your vote will matter.

RELATED: B.C.’s proportional representation referendum: The case against switching to PR

Why does the No side have any support, then?

First, “Big Tent” parties are worried about losing votes to smaller parties that many of their current supporters actually prefer.

Second, Pro Rep hampers the ability of wealthy elites, who dominate the No side’s funding, to swing elections with expensive attack ads.

Opponents of Pro Rep with vested interests in the status quo have scare mongered with false claims.

Here’s the truth:

• Pro Rep will maintain the regional balance of power because no region will lose MLAs.

• Candidates will not be “dropped in” by parties; they will be nominated in local/regional meetings, just like today.

• Moderate parties will dominate because they need five per cent of the vote to elect members.

• Pro Rep is sufficiently simple for 80 per cent of advanced democracies. We’re smart enough too.

For more information go to prorepfactcheck.ca.

Please help improve our democracy and vote Yes on question one: We need proportional representation. All the Pro Rep systems in question two are moderate and vastly better than FPTP.

The choice is clear: Voting for proportional representation is voting for real democracy.

Wayne Broughton is an associate professor of mathematics at UBCO and a spokesperson for the Kelowna chapter of Fair Vote.

Just Posted

Three UBC Okanagan students awarded women in tech scholarships

Computer science and math students hope the award will inspire others

Missing Kelowna woman, Cassy Miller found dead

Miller went missing Nov. 6 and was found 10 days later

Rockets break four game losing streak in Edmonton

The Rockets defeated the Oil Kings 3-1

Okanagan Floral Design students create elaborate Christmas arrangements

The students are making the floral arrangements as part of the Homes for the Holidays tour

Reduce, reuse, recycle: Repair cafes gaining popularity in Kelowna

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan’s cafe was held at Okanagan College Saturday

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

South region forestry workers nearly in legal strike position

Talks broke down between USW and IFLRA, resulting in booking out of provincial mediator

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Most Read