Black Press file photo

EDITORIAL: We need to make the most of first-past-the-post

It will be interesting to see if failed referendum impacts provincial politics in the new year

The referendum wasn’t asking if first-past-the-post was a perfect system; however, a clear majority of British Columbians decided that our electoral system is OK for now.

As most expected, the referendum on electoral reform saw proportional representation soundly defeated. We won’t know what role the perceived complexity of the proportional rep systems – or the fact that there were three systems pitched – played in the outcome.

Although first-past-the-post received 61 per cent of the vote, we don’t believe 61 per cent of British Columbians believe it’s a great system. The ‘no’ side won the referendum, we think, because not only did it have the weight of those who opposed the idea of proportional rep, but it also got the votes from those who simply found the proportional rep systems too complicated, plus the protest votes of those who felt the referendum was a waste of time and money.

The referendum could turn out to be harmful to B.C.’s NDP government. Spending millions on a mail-in ballot referendum that was doomed to fail, and then indeed failed by a significant margin, can be viewed as an indication of a government that’s out of touch with citizens, at least on this one issue. The NDP might be able to offer the take that the referendum was done with the right intentions and hope and some will accept that.

We in Nanaimo may be the first to see whether the referendum has a carry-over effect into politics in the new year, because of our coming byelection. The referendum results (54 per cent ‘no’ in Nanaimo) suggest there were citizens here who generally vote NDP who voted against proportional rep, and it will be interesting to see if the referendum created any lasting divisions, or if there is any desire to further ‘punish’ the government.

First-past-the-post is the system we’re keeping, and probably for a long time. It has its problems. But at least a few of its fundamental flaws can be mitigated if we’re willing to participate in every aspect of our democracy, with greater diversity and most importantly, in greater numbers.

British Columbians obviously didn’t want proportional representation. We might not like first-past-the-post either, but we had better ensure we make the best of it.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

Developers withdraw rezoning application for huge Parksville waterfront plan

IAG to create new draft after processing public feedback

B.C. Ferries wants input on what a new Horseshoe Bay terminal might look like

Ferry corporation accepting feedback on terminal re-development design concepts until Oct. 13

Nanaimo Search and Rescue to build a long-term base in Harewood

Group will sign 25-year co-management agreement for Fourth Street rec centre

Nanaimo council decides not to take away free long-term parking for disability permit holders

Councillors agree to rescind motion that had called for changes to 1993 parking bylaw

Mid Island Performing Arts Festival receives donation of 111-year-old piano

Instrument was originally owned by festival’s founder, Andrew Dunsmore

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates try to chart a path to victory

Conservatives, NDP, Liberals set sights on votes needed to unseat Green incumbent

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read