“The Evidence is Clear” by Ed Broadbent and Hugh Segal

A socialist and a conservative finally agree on something 😁 in this brief Globe and Mail article : our ancient voting system now has problems and needs modernizing. One criticism should be made of their article: the old canard is repeated here by these famous and generally well-informed men, that first-past-the-post worked fine when there were only two political parties. The fact is, our voting system actually caused an uproar in the very first election after Confederation because it caused severe regional misrepresentation. That’s a weakness it’s still prone to in Canada and in every province.

It’s worrisome that the Comments on this article by readers at the Globe and Mail contain so many Trump-like ignorant fabrications about proportional representation. Democracy’s weak point is that it depends on an informed and honest discourse to dominate; it can only withstand FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt sown by competitors) up to a certain point.

Proportional representation (Pro Rep) often leads to sharing and collaboration of two or more parties in a government cabinet, so that a single leader cannot rule as an autocrat. In the early 20th century, Pro Rep in Germany worked better than First-Past-The-Post would have done, to keep Adolph Hitler from getting total power legally, so finally he had to seize it by force. This is an example illustrating why Pro Rep is safer, the very same way that it will, if enacted, reduce our exposure to arrogant premiers making foolish and arrogant unilateral decisions. (History has so often seen this problem that we now have the expression ‘total power totally corrupts’.) Yet the enemies of Pro Rep, who callously want to preserve their party’s chances of winning total power with less than half the vote (called a false majority) continue to cite Hitler as an example of Pro Rep gone wrong – a simple but effective Trump-level lie.

VotingBC offers engaging and honest snippets on the battle for democracy, mostly in graphic images and videos generously produced by others.

Maxwell Anderson, Chair, VotingBC

B.C. Legislature