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

City of Nanaimo to issue alert as it moves to new emergency information system

Municipality will send out reminder Thursday, Nov. 21, asking residents to switch to new system

Front Street becomes permanent location for bus exchange

Nanaimo city council will look at safety upgrades, will work with RDN on design

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ indigenous educator tells Nanaimo court in case of smudging at school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court, case continues Wednesday

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time for a ban on leaf blowers

Loud noise can cause heart attacks, deafness and mental disorders, says letter writer

Nanaimo’s Kirkwood Academy presents 20th production of ‘The Nutcracker’

More than 150 dancers of all ages to participate in classic Christmas ballet Nov. 22-23

B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite and New Democrat MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert appear in the documentary

1898 Yukon gold rush photo featuring Greta Thunberg look-alike sends internet into tailspin

Jokes erupted this week after a 120-year-old photo taken by Eric A. Hegg surfaced from archives

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Distracted driving tickets not for ICBC revenue, B.C. minister says

Minister Mike Farnworth calls SenseBC analysis ‘nonsense’

CN Rail strike and lack of trucking alternatives stoke forest industry fears

Companies calling on the federal government to ‘do everything in its power’ to end the strike

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils new Liberal cabinet

Pivotal role in his new cabinet for a minority-government era goes to Chrystia Freeland

B.C. mom, kids on bike turned away from Tim Hortons drive-thru

Car-free for years, Charity Millar ‘felt gross’ being denied service

B.C. woman puts call out for 10,000 personal, heartfelt Christmas cards for the homeless

Christmas Card Collective enters into third year of making spirits bright

No turn signals, double-parking among top concerns for B.C. drivers: poll

Two-thirds of B.C. drivers said that not using turn signals was their biggest pet peeve

Most Read