Proportional representation could change B.C. forever

Proportional representation could change B.C. forever

By Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart

Our democratic system is built upon the idea that everyone’s voice is equal. That will change if the NDP get their way. The NDP’s Bill 6 means to bring in a proportional representation (PR) system to British Columbia. In order to push this referendum through, they have lowered the bar to the absolute minimum of 50 per cent and one vote, compared to the previous requirement of 60 per cent plus 50 per cent of ridings. As populations in B.C. are not evenly distributed, the 2.8 million people living in the Lower Mainland would have a disproportionate amount of representation and control over the entire province. Historically, PR systems often lead to smaller parties and encourage coalition governments. If we look to other countries as examples of PR, Belgium’s coalition government took 589 days to form government in 2010. During this time, day-to-day operations were completed by government, but big decisions surrounding migration legislation and the Eurozone Crisis were delayed by over a year. This year the Netherlands took 208 days to form government. If these countries are any indication of what the NDP PR system intends to introduce, government will likely grind to an indefinite gridlock with no one at the helm. The NDP are also changing the referendum process so that their cabinet—not an independent body—will draft the question that appears on ballots. Thus they have ample opportunity to hold this referendum in a way that is not fair to the people of B.C., and ultimately serves their purposes. B.C. has already voted twice against PR, in 2005 and 2009. Unfortunately, the NDP are determined to force a broken PR system on people who have already given them their answer. I encourage you all to watch for further information, as this is a vote that could change B.C. forever.