LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Electoral reform fair to all parties

Proportional representation is supported by people across the political spectrum, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: B.C. electorate is smart enough to understand a new voting system, Letters, July 3.

One of the things that first attracted me to proportional representation, apart from the fact that it just made sense, is that it is supported by people across the political spectrum.

PR is no more a lefty plot, concocted to keep their side in power anymore than it is a right wing think tank’s solution to solve their electoral woes. That gives it some real credibility. Proportional representation simply levels the playing field so all parties, politicians and voters get treated the same.

In B.C., as we embark on our third referendum in a decade and a half, it’s good to remember that the first two were initiated by Gordon Campbell and the Liberals. Now, it happens to be the NDP and the Greens who are putting it on the ballot.

I’ve talked to lots of people and the most common complaint I hear about PR is way more about the party who promoted it, rather than the concept itself. When Campbell put PR on the ballot, the NDP were against. Now the NDP have put it on the ballot and the Liberals are against. This is nothing more than old divisive partisan politics. And it’s not only tiresome, it’s harmful.

The way I see it, proportional representation keeps all the parties on a leash and it puts the leash in our hands. Isn’t that what democracy is all about? Demos: the people. Kratos: to rule. The people rule, or if you prefer, the people hold the leash.

Ann Remnant, Nelson

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Voting is skewed the way it is

To the editor,

Except for political aficionados I don’t believe the average voter understands, (or would accept if they did understand), the ins and outs of first-past-the-post with its lack of proportionality, its seizure of power with less than 50 per cent of the vote, its vulnerability to computer manipulation, its dependence upon swing ridings which could be won by a single vote, its so-called ‘democracy’ when 60 per cent of votes are thrown away with 60 per cent of voters being unrepresented, its hiding of ‘fringe’ elements within the membership of the two larger parties, its need for tactical voting so often seen where voters don’t vote for the party they want but against the party they dislike the most, etc.

Such a system is extremely complicated, with the teeter-totter always weighted to elitism leaving the slightly knowledgeable voter always trying to balance such defects against the impossible dream they hope a single ideology may provide.

On the other hand, the basic goal of proportional representation is to produce a fair system which maximizes the power of every vote, where 30 per cent of the votes equals 30 per cent of the seats equals 30 per cent of the power. The simplicity and fairness of PR lies in that equation which leads to collaborative government for the benefit of citizens, not politicians. It is not ideological; it is not partisan; it is pragmatic, practical, and fully democratic.

Ian MacKenzie, Kamloops

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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