LETTER: Proportional representation a win for voters

LETTER: Proportional representation a win for voters

Re: the letter in the July 18 Saanich News, Proportional representation not needed.

It seems the writer is parroting the same nonsense as the BC Liberals and their big money backers, trying to frighten voters without citing evidence. They offer only vague references to scary results of proportional representation (PR), none of which are supported in fact.

Neither the author or the Liberals acknowledge the deeply flawed and outdated first-past-the-post system which has produced such distorted results and undemocratic outcomes.

That’s because Liberals want to keep the old system, because it suits their interests and not the voters, so many of whom might just as well not bothered voting. This will change with a better electoral system. Time after time, our existing system, both provincially and federally, has produced false majority governments, leaving the ruling party with a total lock on power and no voter accountability though often backed by less than 40 per cent of the voters.

Change is long overdue and people will have a democratic say through the fall referendum, something supported by Greens and NDP, who jointly represent 57 per cent of voters in the last election. If PR is the proven winner in the referendum, then voters too will be winners, many of whom will see their vote count for the first time in their lives.

PR voting systems have in fact lead to many benefits including better voter turnout, more women elected and improved minority representation.

Rural voters especially need not be concerned as systems are specifically designed to improve their representation. We will see more stable government policies because of the need to collaborate and co-operate more, to ensure broad-based support in the legislature. This will also lead to more civil behaviour there than has been true in the past.

The current system actually rewards the hyper-partisan rhetoric and deliberate misinformation which so often dominates political discussion. This explains why the Liberals are so desperately trying to scare voters because Liberals know that with PR, they will no longer rule with the tyranny of false majority governments, backed by a minority of voters. Instead, they too would have to change if they are to ever get majority support and form governments.

It’s not complicated to learn the essentials of PR as well as the flaws of the existing system. Voters may want to get better informed – and it’s the responsibility of all to do just that.

Mark Jeffers