Reason to vote No

Letters

Editor:

Re: “No side pushes falsehood,” Letters, Nov. 2.

I am not sure what Bette Chadwick or Fair Vote Canada has been reading – I suggest she more closely examine the government’s three proportional representation proposals, two of which have never been used anywhere in the world.

Under mixed member proportional, which is used in four countries, 40 per cent of the MLAs in the B.C. Legislature would come from party lists, not geographic ridings as all MLAs are currently chosen under our first-past-the-post system. Those party lists will be determined by parties, not voters. The government MMP proposal says there will be “regions” but does not say how many. Will it be two regions? Three? Five? That will be decided by a legislative committee after the referendum – a committee with a majority of BC NDP and Green MLAs! MMP means existing ridings will have to grow by 40 per cent to create the party-list MLA pools. If that’s not reducing local representation, what is? And party-list MLAs will not have constituencies they were elected to represent – they will be beholden to the party leader and party bosses.

Under the untried second system, dual member proportional, ridings will be doubled in size and add a second MLA. That inevitably means all parties will focus on the largest urban population centre in each riding – because that’s where the votes are. Again, local representation will be dramatically reduced as a result.

The untried third system, rural-urban proportional, would combine in urban areas the single transferable vote – rejected by a 61 per cent vote of all B.C.ers in 2009 – with MMP in rural areas. One or the other would be used in “semi-urban/semi-rural” areas but no one has any definition of any of the three areas! STV means ridings of up to seven members in cities like Vancouver – with ridings seven times bigger. MMP again has to create party-list MLAs so it means larger ridings again.

We also don’t know how parties will create their list. Will there be quotas for different racial background, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, regional locations – or will it be whichever set of candidates gets the most votes in the nomination process, even if they all come from an urban part of whatever undefined geographic “region” is eventually picked?

I will not respond to the personal attacks except to say that I have led opposition to proportional representation in the past two referenda, have a master’s degree in political science and have worked in government in the premier’s office – and I still find all this complicated and confusing. Good reason to vote No and keep our simple, stable and successful first-past-the-post system.

Bill Tieleman, No BC Proportional Representation Society

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