17 Reasons you might have voted for First-Past-The-Post in BC’s 2018 Referendum

In the run-up to BC’s 2018 referendum, Journalist Rob Shaw tweeted that the Yes to Proportional Representation forces ought to talk about the advantages of BOTH proportional representation AND of First Past The Post, claiming they’d be more credible that way.

Shaw obviously believes in fairness in the media, balanced coverage, equal numbers of debaters on both sides, and maybe angels though we haven’t fact-checked that.

After all, if we let the discussion be biased by the 14 government studies that recommended Pro Rep, what would come next? Jumping to conclusions on climate change without further debate?

So, out of deference to all those skeptics in the media, here we humorously admitted and disclosed the benefits of FPTP (written in 2018):

Are there features of FPTP that could validly be considered advantages to YOU, and other good reasons for YOU to vote for it? YES!

We’ve dug in the back of the electoral cupboard, even looked on the highest shelf, to fetch every last benefit of FPTP, and here they are for the sake of fairness and fun in countdown order!


#17: Somebody you respect advised you to vote for FPTP, such as BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson. Why is he set on preventing Pro Rep, aka fair voting? Could it be he wants to get a majority of MLAs based on only 40% of the votes? Nah, couldn’t be, could it?

#16: We should vote No to Pro Rep to protest the waste of millions of dollars to hold the rigged referendum! Maybe it’s peanuts compared to the $27 million cash plus tax credit supports given to the political parties over four years, less than it costs to get a good CEO, and might result in much improved management of our BC government’s $40 billion annual spending, but it’s still money!

#15: “If in doubt, don’t” is a valid reason to reject any change and stick with what we know, so vote No to Pro Rep. Unless you think it’s wiser to entrust the decision to referendum voters who have bothered to inform themselves about modern voting systems.

#14: FPTP gives you a new government the next day; with Pro Rep it takes two years to form a new government while the place falls apart! Okay, actually on average it takes a couple months with FPTP and only one month longer with Pro Rep, but during that extra month the incumbent government might break tradition and do something really bad, you never know.

#13: Your MLA will be closer with FPTP, for local accountability. Admittedly, on present Pro Rep plans they will be the same distance on average, with an MLA you like being on average a bit closer actually, but you can’t trust that sneaky Horgan and Weaver, they might change the “details” later so the MLA for Prince George is some woman in Nanaimo!

#12: YOU choose your MLA with FPTP; with Pro Rep they’re appointed by the NDP. They do promise all MLAs will be elected, not appointed, but see #13: “you can’t trust that sneaky Horgan and Weaver”, they might set the “details” later differently and then you’d NEVER be able to kick the bums out. They’d probably even cancel the second referendum on Pro Rep to be held in about nine years and we’d have to riot to get them out.

#11: FPTP gives more chances to Independent candidates than Pro Rep systems, which are all party all the time. Although still only a tiny chance. And except Rural-Urban Proportional would give more chances to Independents.

#10: FPTP helps keep extremists like the Greens out, or at least reduced to a few MLAs, though we may need stronger measures going forward like abolishing the per-vote subsidy by taxpayers.

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#9: An even better voting system may come out next year, we’ve only been discussing it for 148 years in B.C. [as of 2018], so it makes sense to wait and discuss it some more. (A reason commonly given in 2005 by people who wanted MMP…though MMP is now on the table.)

#8: FPTP gives slightly more frequent elections, which means the government is accountable to the voters slightly more often, and accountability is a good thing. Though it produces a government accountable to far fewer taxpayers, sometimes only 40% of them…but those other 60% are idiots for not voting for the right party anyway.

#7: Pro Rep results in higher taxation on average, so if you feel your tax dollars are inefficiently and unnecessarily spent and taxes should be lowered, then choose FPTP, though this will gradually backfire because of the 1% lower economic growth with FPTP and the power of compounding.

#6: FPTP is biased toward single-party false majority governments led by strong leaders, rather than the multi-party true majority governments favoured by Pro Rep. So, if you believe it’s better to have a single leader who can make quick decisions and has the power to change course if it turns out to be needed, rather than being better to make careful decisions, then FPTP’s for you. Even though a mountain of scholarly evidence indicates FPTP results in worse decisions than the careful, consensus- and majority-based decisions from Pro Rep.

#5: If you hate everything the BC NDP and Greens currently stand for, then it makes sense to vote against anything they’re pushing, even if it would benefit you in the long run.

#4: FPTP is SIMPLE…though it’s not as simple as Pro Rep if you just want to vote for your preference, instead of having to figure out strategic voting to maximize the chances of your vote making a difference. However, if, like most people, you can’t remember your MLA’s name, yet you still want to have a vote to support a political party, then the simplicity of FPTP may be better for you, thanks to the ballots mentioning the candidates’ party affiliation to help you pick; but if so, you probably aren’t reading a sentence this ridiculously long.

#3: FPTP gives STABLE government…while it’s not as stable as Pro Rep in terms of frequency of elections and stable policy, it IS more stable in leaving the wealthy backroom insiders in control, so if that’s you, then vote for yourself, vote FPTP.

#2: FPTP gives SUCCESSFUL government…not as successful as Pro Rep on average, but if you expect B.C. would imitate the legislatures of the more disastrous Pro Rep places like Italy and Greece, then you should vote for FPTP. Though come to think of it, neither Italy nor Greece have full Pro Rep.

#1: FPTP might give your favourite political party an unfair advantage, if you happen to like one of the two big parties…though in other years it could cheat your party…and hey, no-one will know if you vote for unfair voting in the referendum, so feel free to go for it! Your party might win 100% of the power with 40% of the vote if we can just keep FPTP!

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