Under PR system, no vote goes to waste

Re: “B.C. voters should reject proportional representation,” editorial, Nov. 16.

The editorial claims that “PR leads to endless and ever-changing coalitions” and, in some cases, policy “dictated by fringe parties who would never be elected to govern.”

article continues below

This is not true for Germany, where I grew up with the mixed-member system. This means two votes, one for your preferred local candidate who can win on the same path as in the first-past-the-post system, and one for your preferred party to ensure each party receives seats according to the popular vote (with a list of candidates elected by party members from your part of the country).

This has produced stable coalition governments. (From 1949 to 2017, Germany had 10 two-party coalition periods formed by different combinations of four parties, i.e., they governed, on average, close to seven years). There was never a fringe party in power during this period. I am not aware of any major initiative to change the German voting system in the last 69 years, presumably because most Germans are happy with the system.

I found out many positive things about Canada after moving here. Learning, however, that this country of smart and educated people has accepted for so long a flawed system where less than 40 per cent of the vote can result in 100 per cent of the power was a big disappointment.

I strongly encourage B.C. voters to try out proportional representation. I expect you will never want to go back after testing a system where no vote goes to waste.

Jens Wieting

Senior forest and climate campaigner

Sierra Club B.C.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist