You can tell that the pro-Proportional Representation (PR) people are worried about the issue of local representation, as they are pushing a lot of “black is white” arguments suggesting that PR might improve local representation.
It will not, and here’s why: In B.C., we vote for people, not parties. Local voters in each riding assess the candidates’ records of community service, their character, and their political party, and choose accordingly.
The newly elected MLA opens a non-partisan community office and represents the whole community. As an MLA you try hard for everyone, whether they’re your political supporter or not (most times you don’t know). Community interests are taken to the Legislature where MLAs work to get new schools, roads and hospitals for their constituents.
Under PR, the vote for parties is more important than the vote for people, and the legislature is “proportional” to the votes each party gets. To achieve proportionality, party list members are assigned around BC by a yet-to-be-determined algorithm. Ridings are generally double (or larger) in size. The party MLAs are there because the party wants them, not the voters, and they are responsible to the party not to the voters.
That’s what the PR people call “improved local representation.” At No BC Proportional Representation, we disagree.
B.C.’s electoral system is simple, stable and successful. There is no problem being fixed by proportional representation, but plenty would be created.