Referendum on Electoral Reform

Election after election, a minority of BC voters decides our government and then that government gets a four-year dictatorship. It’s minority rule, plain and simple. And it’s unfair and undemocratic.

The referendum on electoral reform is an extremely rare opportunity to advance our democracy by making it fairer, less prone to special interests and more representative of all British Columbians.

A steady stream of letters to the editor in support of proportional representation (PR) in our local newspapers will help encourage dialogue and raise awareness on the importance of voting in the upcoming referendum.

PR is simply fair
• With PR – a party that gets 40 percent of the vote gets 40 percent of the seats in the Legislature. Power is proportional to voter support and resembles what we voted for.

• With PR – a majority government in BC with a minority of the votes would be a thing of the past – no more 100 percent of the power with 39 percent of the vote, as is the case with the current first-past-the-post (FPTP) system!

• With PR – your vote will count, your vote will make a difference and your vote will give you a voice in the legislature.

• With PR – no more holding your nose to vote ‘strategically’ for a candidate and party you don’t believe in just because they have the best chance of defeating a party you dislike even more.

• With PR – you can choose the parties or candidates that best reflect your values, issue preferences, or belief in their ability to be a good representative. You will be able to vote your true intentions knowing that your vote will not be ‘wasted’. Any system, such as FPTP that discourages people from voting with their true intentions is not democratic or fair.

• With PR – no matter where you live, rural or urban, your area will be represented. Gone are the days, for example, when Vancouver Island or rural BC are shut out of government decision-making because the winning party does not represent them.

• PR – systems address some of the challenges that result from citizens feeling left out of their democracy. It opens the door for those traditionally excluded.

• PR – limits the influence of powerful lobbyists and interest groups of big corporations. It’s not as easy to influence smaller parties and coalition governments. This helps temper big corporate money that has traditionally influenced our major parties. Perhaps why big corporations do not generally favour the change to a PR electoral system.

• PR – encourages more collaboration, less confrontation. Coalition and minority governments are among the most effective governments under which Canada has benefited. Pension plans and our universal health care system were the result of federal Liberal-NDP coalition governments.

• PR – 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 respectful debate is more likely to happen, changing the atmosphere of winner-take-all, which has turned our politics toxic.

• PR – in more than 90 countries around the world PR has led to more satisfaction with democratic institutions, more diverse involvement in elected politics, elected more women and minorities, increased voter turnout and youth engagement – PR gives everyone a voice.

• PR – is the most common democratic system in the world. If citizens of other democracies can figure it out, so can British Columbians.

A Presentation to Understanding the Referendum on Electoral Reform

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referendumBritish Columbians will be voting this fall, from Oct. 22 through to Nov. 30 on whether to adopt an electoral system based on proportional representation (PR) for our provincial elections. The voting package from Elections BC will arrive in the mailboxes of all registered voters between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2, 2018.

In view of the referendum being held on what voting system we should use the CV Council of Canadians is pleased to be hosting an information open house with Barb Berger, Chair of Fair Vote Comox Valley on Sat., Oct. 27 from 1:30-3:30 pm in the Rotary Hall at the Filberg Centre, Courtenay.

Our electoral system in BC is old. Like the rest of Canada, we inherited our first-past-the-post (FPTP) system from the United Kingdom. We didn’t choose it. It was chosen for us when BC joined Confederation in 1871.

With every FPTP election there is increased frustration from people knowing that their votes will not count and nor will their concerns be represented in the legislature. The push back from the public to be heard on issues that affect their lives and their communities continues to grow.

How can Proportional Representation help? What is this referendum all about? Berger will address these questions and discuss the three PR choices on the ballot.

Also, Jamie Deith a systems designer, extremely knowledge on electoral systems will lead us through an enlightening questionnaire he’s designed to help determine what we value in a voting system and if we lean toward FPPT or PR.

Fair Vote Comox Valley and the CV Council of Canadians recognizes the historic opportunity to adopt a system that works for all of us – one that is fair, inclusive and engages all voters.

This fall, with our mail-in ballot, British Columbians can decide to strengthen democracy by choosing an electoral system that allows us all to be heard no matter where we are on the political spectrum.

Saturday, Oct. 27 from 1:30-3:30 pm.– doors open 1:00 pm. Rotary Room, Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Rd, Courtenay. Donations at the door.

Your Values, Your Choice, Your Guide to the Referendum

COMOX VALLEY, BC –Do you want more information about BC’s referendum that will be coming to your mailbox this fall? Do you want to clarify your own position about the choices? Or are you just plain confused?

Here’s your opportunity to clear up all the buzz around this electoral reform referendum, scheduled between Oct. 22 and Nov. 30. Barb Berger, chair of Fair Vote Comox Valley will be presenting an information session on the referendum and the reasons why there is a push for change. The single most important question will be whether to keep our existing electoral system, known as First Past The Post (FPTP) or change to a system of Proportional Representation. The presentation will also involve a closer examination of the voting systems that will be on the ballot.

On the bill as well is Jamie Deith, who has a background in systems design. He has had direct involvement with past referendums and is extremely knowledgeable about electoral systems. Deith has devised a questionnaire that allows participants to clarify whether they support FPTP or PR and rank the choices according to their answers.

As has been quoted by everyone on the spectrum of this debate, “Proportional Representation would be a fundamental change to our democracy.” What kind of democracy do you want to see?

The evening will be held at the United Church, 250 Beach Drive in Comox, on Wednesday, September 12, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The United Church expects a full house at the first-come first-seated presentation. Admission is by donation and baked goods will be available for purchase.

Make Every Vote Count!

March 14th 7 – 9 pm  (Doors open at 6:30)
Stan Hagen Theatre, NIC

Guest Speakers:
Elizabeth May(Member of Special Committee on Electoral Reform, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands)
Rachel Blaney(MP North Island-Powell River)
Barb Berger (Fair Vote BC)
Sheldon Falk (BC Federation of Students, NISU)

For free tickets click here

Come and find out how you can get involved in the Fair Vote Comox Valley campaign.

www.facebook.com/fairvotecomoxvalley
FMI: fairvotecomoxvalley@gmail.com