To the editor;
A number of people have asked me what I think of, or how I am going to vote in, the present referendum on proposed changes to our electoral system in B.C. Although I am not opposed to proportional representation in principle, I will be voting “No” to the proposed changes, and I will be voting that way for three specific reasons.
First, this will be the third time that we will have been dealing with this idea in the past decade or so. This reminds me of Sunday shopping or Scottish independence referenda. Some “knowledgeable expert” or interest group thinks that is what we should have, so we will keep having these referenda until you get it “right”. I guess I just inherited a bit of perverseness from one of my parents.
Second, the threshhold for success in this referendum is 50 per cent. This vote is on a substantive change in the way we elect our provincial legislative body and those who represent us in that body, therefore it is of a constitutional nature and ought not to be changed on a simple majority. This is how those “knowledgeable experts” and interest groups can maximize their chance of success. In my view, any change of this nature ought to require consensus, and a simple majority that could swing the opposite direction two days later, is not consensus.
Third, proportional representation is being sold as a panacea, for what are perceived as problems with our present system. Be assured proportional representation will have its problems as well, albeit of a different nature. You do not get perfection in this world, and the present system, although not perfect, has served us well and works.
Of course, there is the additional problem of being sold a pig-in-poke: If the proportional system wins, what system will it be?
Glenn M. Andrews