Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fearmongerers are wrong: Electoral reform is not dead

The results are in, and BC-STV failed miserably, winning only 40% of the vote and failing to garner the majority of voes in 78 of the 85 provincial ridings. According to STV advocates, this has effectively killed any chance of electoral reform in BC, let alone the country, for at least a generation. These people are wrong.

They are being blinded by their commitment to STV. The fact is that they are assuming that all of those of us committed to electoral reform would vote for STV. Although I am not yet old enough to vote, in the BC student vote I voted against STV, and this for a perfectly good, reform minded reason. If we selected STV, it may have been a generation until we changed to a more proportional, less problematic system. The one I would advocate is MMP.

There is no reason why electoral reform cannot happen, and relatively soon. Carole James alludes to this, as she said that if the referendum were too fail, she was still committed to a referendum on MMP if we so desired.

So there is will on the political side of things to continue this process of electoral reform. Just because STV wasn't chosen doesn't mean we cannot advocate, and pass, MMP soon. We need to make it known that our will for electoral reform has not died, and that we want a referendum on MMP.

And, this time, why not bring forward the referendum to a separate day. There is no law that it must be on election day. Let's push for a referendum on MMP within two years, and that way, we can use MMP in the next election.
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  1. MMP was just as soundly rejected in Ontario in 2007. Not sure why it would fare different in BC, the arguments against MMP are much stronger actually - all the list candidates would ONLY be beholden to the party and not local voters. STV inspired far more accountability.

  2. It was argued that MMP's campaign was significantly underfunded, which cannot be said of the STV campaign. It would seem that was more to blame, as the public were uneducated, which once again was not the case with STV.

  3. Electoral reform is something to look at, but this system was not acceptable. For one thing, the geographic areas were too large. It was too complex, such that the most educated would not be able to discern where their vote went after the first ballot. Thirdly, we do have a healthy number of "fringy one-issue parties". These peoples' special interest voices in Parliament would not help, as they have way too much influence as it is. B.C. is not a good place to try this out. B.C. needs a serious party to oppose the Liberals and STV would not do this.

  4. Let me tell you that if the BC NDP held a referendum on MMP, the organizers against STV would switch to campaigning against MMP. Their main argument would be that MMP gives party hacks from Victoria/Vancouver the power to control the lists. MMP constituencies would be about double the size. There would be a loss of local representation in places like Kamloops, Kelowna, and Dawson Creek. People can argue if this would actually be true; the perceptions matter more than the reality when voting in a referendum. Strangely enough, the organizers who would probably run an anti-MMP campaign would actually be the party hacks themselves.

  5. I realize that there will be the same people opposed. Which still doesn't mean that electoral reform is dead.

  6. you have a BLOG?!
    Marc... you're.. wow...


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