We all lose out when the most qualified people refuse to run for office because they know First-Past-The-Post stifles politicians:
Looked at closely, it’s really a question of whether we want coalitions of politicians within the parties (our old system), or coalitions of politicians between the parties (Pro Rep).
The disadvantage of the first is it results in a single leader, like alleged former hash dealer Doug Ford, in nearly complete control; with only modest checks and balances.
The second, Pro Rep, leads to the stability and safety of leadership by 2 or more party leaders, with occasionally less bold decision-making.
Dogwood journalist Lisa Sammartino answers that question in “Who’s afraid of Pro Rep?”.
Opponents have been accusing Pro Rep of setting up backroom people to choose your MLA for you. It’s a myth that Pro Rep MLAs will be selected by backroom deals.(1)
Voters will exercise their right to accept or reject EVERY candidate for MLA.
An insider speaks – Bob Ransford’s seen First-Past-The-Post in action. He worked in Brian Mulroney’s federal government and in a B.C. Social Credit provincial government:
“Most often, provincial governments in B.C. have been handed 100 per cent of the power with less than 50 per cent of voters supporting them. Outcomes like this make it easy to ignore the public … I’ve regrettably seen, close up, democracy cast aside and, instead, party politics and political preservation prevail.”
Now he’s an advocate for Pro Rep.
All three political parties in the legislature called for a referendum on electoral reform – the BC NDP, BC Green Party, and the BC Liberal Party in its June 2017 Throne Speech. The need for improving our politics has been widely accepted for decades, and electoral reform is one element of that.
“Nelson Mandela insisted on Proportional Representation to drain support from the extremists by reassuring minorities that the new South Africa would not swap white dominance for black. He was opposed by extremists on all sides, from Afrikaner diehards who thought First Past the Post could be more easily gerrymandered, to militants who wanted to eliminate white representation entirely.”
Many politicians have supported proportional representation – but not implemented it when they were in power.
Former B.C. Liberal Premier Christy Clark, who supported Pro Rep in 2009 and whose spokesperson referred to that support in 2017, said in 2018 (Aug. 20): “I want to be involved in helping other people, especially women, be successful in politics.” Pro Rep encourages more women to run, and more women get elected with Pro Rep:
(1) This myth, always an exaggeration at best, arose because initially the Pro Rep options did not exclude one option in which the political parties could have strong influence in the choice of a few MLAs by putting certain candidates at the top of their lists without giving voters a vote on those specific candidates, but this option has since been explicitly rejected by the governing party on its website: click on “What are the three systems to choose from?” at the very bottom of their web page, and confirmed by the premier in public speeches.
Technically, in a multi-member district contest, voters would be accepting or rejecting each party’s candidates as a group. As now, there will still be backroom dealing in the candidate nomination process. It’s been argued that there will be less of this type of nomination backroom dealing with Pro Rep, though it depends on many factors.
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