Letter to the editor

Re: The parties cannot be trusted on electoral reform

Both the NDP and the Liberals have said they will openly campaign for their own preferences on the upcoming referendum on electoral reform. Is this driven by dedicated altruism and principle in trying to influence what they perceive to be the best system for the management of the province and its’ citizens welfare? Given their record of behaviour only the most naive would think so. It is driven in both cases by what they perceive to be in the best interest of their political party.

The NDP has been militantly committed to a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system for decades, largely because under this system their seat counts in the legislature would have been routinely higher due to the proportional aspect of the vote. It must be noted however, that it appears they are approaching the fall referendum in a fair and balanced way.

The Liberals advocate keeping the existing First Past The Post (FPTP) system not because it is best for British Columbians, but gee, take a guess, because it is the best means of continuation as the dominant governing party of BC. In the past they have formed governments not always with a majority vote, but by usually out-margining the NDP in more seats than not. In many cases this resulted in claiming huge majorities of seats despite being only slightly ahead on votes cast. Not very proportional.

But in the past both parties have demonstrated untrustworthy behaviour on electoral reform. On the 2009 second STV referendum, the then Liberal Attorney General Wally Oppal funded two entities; one to oppose it and the other to advocate for it. Unbelievably the opposition group he chose was headed by a Mr. Bill Tieleman who is almost exclusively associated with the NDP and union interests as the principal of a left-oriented, media savvy public relations firm. Mr Tieleman was a strategist in NDP Premier Glen Clark’s government. This hard barking issue spinner set out to smear and demonize STV much in the same manner as the Liberals are now smearing and demonizing anything and everything proportional. Mr. Oppal chose a group called Fair Vote BC to advocate for STV; a hapless and effete organization which was very non-media savvy.

So, with this demonstrable cynicism where they in fact became collaborators to defeat a system outside their preferences, they cannot be trusted. They want what they want, and power is what they want first and foremost and keep in mind MLAs will support the party line as always.

It is clear that we are on our own in this choice, so beware of the parties’ rhetoric and exercise due diligence in informing yourself. Study hard; because if you feel it is time to abandon anachronistic ways and give something else a chance, this will very likely be your last chance.

Roy Roope

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