To the editor:
One of the more controversial issues in our province’s referendum on electoral reform is the dreaded party list.
A party list is that list of candidates nominated by our political parties to compete for the 87 seats in our provincial legislature.
Political scarecrows often refer to the party list as being one of the many things wrong with proportional electoral systems, the root of many evils, used and abused by party hacks to manipulate the nomination process to stack the deck in favour of their chosen candidates.
What they don’t tell us is that we have been using this very same party list for as long as we have been having elections and that it is because of its corrupt nature we will be voting in a referendum to change it.
The list they are referring to is called a closed list because it is generated by our political parties, using a nomination process that includes party members only.
It is a process that has become extremely corrupt, as federal and provincial party leaders and backroom power brokers have gained complete control of the candidate nomination process.
In other words – the corruption the scarecrows are warning us about is already alive and well, and deeply embedded in the electoral system we have been using for years.
That is also one of many reasons we need to replace it with a proportional system that uses what is referred to as an open list, a list of candidates that are ranked by voters, not party brass.
An open list is being used in many countries to make sure the nomination process is transparent, open, and honest.
While some countries are still struggling with electoral corruption, Denmark has used open list PR for decades, and their governments are so stable they abolished the Senate in 1953.