B.C. Attorney General David Eby (left) and Premier John Horgan revealed the choices available in the referendum on proportional representation set for this fall, May 7, 2018. (Black Press files)

Proportional representation means more B.C. parties, coalitions

Fraser Institute study examines voting patterns in 30 countries

Expect more political parties, some driven by single issues, more coalition governments and more waiting for final election results if B.C. voters opt to change to a proportional representation system this fall.

Those are the main findings of an international survey of 30 countries, comparing how B.C.’s current voting system stacks up with options being offered in a mail-in referendum set for this fall.

Jurisdictions like B.C. that use first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting systems elect an average of 2.5 parties each election, compared to 4.6 parties on average with proportional representation (PR) voting systems, the Fraser Institute reported Thursday after reviewing election data from 30 countries between 2000 and 2017.

Coalition governments happen 87 per cent of the time in PR systems, but only 23 per cent of elections under FPTP systems, the survey found. Forming coalitions is one reason why results take an average of 50 days under PR, and 32 days after ballots are counted under a mixed PR system.

“Voters should be aware of the trade-offs of each electoral system before making such an important choice that could fundamentally change the way governments are elected and run,” said Lydia Miljan, associate professor of political science at the University of Windsor and co-author of the study.

“Moving to a form of PR would fracture the provincial legislature and lead to increased uncertainty, not only for voters but also potential investors who may look for more stable jurisdictions.”

VIDEO: Visualizing a new voting system for B.C.

COLUMN: No time for maps in rush to referendum

B.C.’s NDP minority government is holding the mail-in referendum to meet the terms of its governing agreement with the B.C. Green Party. The three-MLA Greens are not in a formal coalition with the NDP, but have agreed to support Premier John Horgan’s government as long as the terms of their deal are kept up.

This year’s referendum has been arranged by B.C. Attorney General David Eby, who determined the ballot and the rules. There no minimum turnout required to have a valid result, a simple majority of votes cast required, and no regional requirement weighting for sparsely populated rural areas as B.C.’s previous two referenda had in 2005 and 2009.

Elections B.C. has selected an official ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ committee for the vote, to persuade people during the voting period, which starts Oct. 22 and ends on Nov. 30. Each committee has been provided with $500,000 to make their case, and allowed to fundraise an additional $200,000.

The first referendum question asks voters if they prefer the current FPTP system, which declares the candidate with the most votes the winner in each constituency, or a PR system. The second question offers a choice of three new systems, designed to make the share of seats more closely match the share of total votes.

The PR options are:

• Dual member proportional, where neighbouring pairs of districts in B.C. would be combined into one two-member constituencies, except for the larger rural districts, which would remain unchanged.

• Mixed member proportional, which combines single-member districts with party list candidates, added to give each party the number of seats determined by their share of the province-wide vote in an election.

• Rural-urban proportional representation, with multi-member districts for urban and semi-urban areas, with voters choosing their MLA on a ranked ballot. In rural areas, a mixed-member proportional system using candidate lists chosen by parties would be used.

Voters will not have an official map of the new voting districts when they make their choice. If voters choose to change to a new system, the district boundaries would then be determined by the independent Electoral Boundaries Commission.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Western Canada’s only Military Tattoo returns to Vernon

The 6th annual tattoo is slated to take place July 27-28 at Kal Tire Place in Vernon.

Athletes helping athletes

While the Vernon Christian basketball team have their own games to play this weekend, they took time out of practice Tuesday to volunteer.

JUNO nominated band visits Vernon and Penticton

Tim and The Glory Boys will perform in Vernon March 9.

Special Olympic B.C. Winter Games continue in Vernon

Events conclude today. Check out what’s happening.

Nearly 200 new businesses for Greater Vernon in 2018: Chamber

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce says nearly 200 new businesses in 2018

Athletes hit the slopes for the final day of SOBC

The awards ceremony for all alpine skiing events took place this afternoon at the SilverStar Village Podium.

Lehner posts 4th shutout as Isles blank Canucks 4-0

Vancouver drops third game in a row

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

One of B.C.’s newest citizens reflects on the value of immigration

“People who come by choice to another country will do everything to contribute to that country.”

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Team BC sitting 4th at Canada Winter Games after 1st week

Team BC ringette featuring Kelowna’s Brooklyn Keller finished 4th

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Most Read