Virtually nobody wants to read a list of 50 reasons why British Columbians should vote for proportional representation (Pro Rep) this fall.
But we assume everyone wants to read a list of three reasons.
- Pro Rep guarantees that we get a government that actually resembles what we voted for. It sounds obvious – almost like some kind of spin. But guess what? This is literally what separates Pro Rep from our current system of voting (“first-past-the-post”). Under Pro Rep, the party that gets 40% of the vote gets 40% of the seats in the legislature, and so on.
*If* that happens under first-past-the-post (FPTP), it is an accident. FPTP only guarantees that the local candidate with the most votes gets a seat in the legislature—but province-wide, the result is usually a distortion of the voting results. Just look at new Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who received 40% of the vote but 61% of the seats…and 100% of the power).
- A representative government means more collaboration, and less confrontation. Most of the stuff voters despise about politics—the double-speak, the empty posturing, the win-at-all-costs attitude—stems from a political culture in which the goal isn’t good governance, it’s demonizing the opposition. Politicians are rewarded for being aggressive, slimy, and duplicitous.
A Pro Rep ion voting system is far more likely to produce a legislature in which no single party governs like a bully with an absolute majority. When parties need each other to pass legislation, guess what happens? Collaboration, dialogue, and respectful debate.
We probably won’t eliminate all of the ugly things about politics with proportional representation, but we can certainly change some of the things that have made our politics so toxic.
- We can change our mind. If the first two reasons look good to you, you should feel comfortable voting in favour of Pro Rep this fall because the government will require a democratic review after two elections. That means, BC gets to go back to the old system if Pro Rep isn’t working for us. It’s the best of both worlds: voters get to decide in a fair referendum on the model they prefer, and they get to vote again after an evaluation period.
Don’t get us wrong—we’re confident that when people see election results that make sense and governments that work for British Columbians, the vast majority of us will vote to keep Pro Rep, as most nations have already done!