Letter: Best path to fair representation

There is a form of PR that is fair, easy to understand, simple to implement.

Letter: Best path to fair representation

This is in response to Jim Bodkin’s letter of July 18 and Jim Miles’ letter of July 20 both on Proportional Representation (PR).

Miles ends his letter that any form of PR would be better than our current system. That is not true. Let’s let Stephen Harper pick who should represent each party, not likely a desired solution. How different is that from having leaders of the different parties choosing who is going to be on the party lists? Having party lists is not democratic. These people do not have to run for office and they are not vetted by local constituencies and not by running for office are not subject to public scrutiny.

In MMP (Mixed Member Proportionality) representatives don’t even have to run for office. This is what happens in some European parliaments. The parties take their share of the vote and reward party faithful with seats. This is a poorer form of democracy, not a better form.

In regards to Bodkin’s letter, although it would be nice that there would be a better turnout if we had PR but countries that switched to PR did not realize a significant increase in voter turnout after the initial involvement (perhaps because they were MMP systems).

Bodkin asks good questions if the representative (if by PR) has to actually run or can the Green Party appoint someone? Fair Vote proponents tell me that it is up in the air. Given how close it is to the vote it won’t help that there is no clarity on the matter. It seems likely party lists will be allowed and as noted in the first paragraph that is not desirable.

For over 20 years I tried to work with the Green Party of B.C. to determine what form of PR they would support. They would not take a position. I tried working through the Policy Committee. I provided spreadsheets showing the benefits of different options by looking at key criteria. I attended their AGMs; I even joined the party, all to no effect. Unofficially I was told they wanted MMP or party lists. They want control over who will be in the legislation, not so good representatives for the electorate.

There is a form of PR that is fair, easy to understand, simple to implement, candidates have to run to be elected and encourages voting. It is known at Candidate Based List (CBL). As noted in Bodkin’s submission there could be the same number of seats with “top-ups” coming from the candidates who did the best.

Let’s say there are to be 100 seats in total and the Greens get 10 per cent of the vote and elected three outright (existing situation). They would be entitled to 10 seats in total, the remaining seven to come from the highest-performing candidates (based on the number of votes accrued). These additional members could be assigned to represent Green (and other) constituents in the province to take the workload off the three presently inundated with requests to help them with issues.

People could vote Green realizing the local candidate may not win but knowing that a Green candidate will be elected. Green supporters may expect representation this way, that will be more effective for them than having a local representative from a party that does not favour their policy preferences.

Although I have to say Eric Foster has been good about forwarding my concerns to relevant Government Ministries.

Terry Vulcano