Letter: More questions than answers

Thank you for responding to my letter voicing some concerns regarding proportional representation.

Letter: More questions than answers

Thank you, Sue Young, for responding to my letter voicing some concerns regarding proportional representation.

I had no idea so many ridings (59 out of 87 you say) are considered to be “safe seats” in B.C. I agree with you completely that in such ridings voters may see no point in voting because they see the incumbent as being a shoo-in and that for such ridings a person’s election or appointment as the party candidate is what counts. The actual election per se is no more than a formality providing the chosen candidate does not crap in his or her hat as sometimes happens or unsavoury issues about them emerge as sometimes happens too.

I think everyone would agree that a good voter turnout seldom happens in a “safe” riding. Good voter turnouts tend to occur in ridings where the outcome is iffy, a parachute candidate has been floated in or the local party organization has been miffed by interventions made by their provincial organization especially if done by unelected back-room operatives.

I disagree with you; however, that “with proportional representation, there would be no safe seats”. Yes, every vote cast would count towards the overall proportionality calculation but would not the person getting the most votes in a given riding still be elected? MY problem is that is an unknown given the lack of details that have been released explaining how proportional representation would work.

My basic problem is this lack of clarity regarding the workings of proportional representation coupled with my impression that it is deliberately intentional. From my perspective, voters are being given an apples versus oranges choice. The existing model of winner-take-all with all its pros and cons is a specific option but the proportional choices are not; they are more conceptual than specific. I fail to see the logic in being asked to choose between a given and a concept. I easily see the sense of choosing between two specifics or two concepts but I fail to see the logic of being asked to make a choice between a specific and a conceptual idea.

Also, my puzzlement about how the overall provincial vote proportionality entitlements would be awarded except upon the basis of party favouritism was not addressed in your letter.

This is a nontrivial concern and a radical departure from our existing riding based electoral norm. Just who, besides the party bosses who appointed them, would these non-riding specific proportional appointees be beholden? It would NOT be to me or thee.

Of that, I am certain nor would it be to the voters of any given riding since none of them got enough votes to be elected in whatever riding they ran in (assuming they ran at all … and it is not clear that being a riding candidate would be a qualifying prerequisite to make one eligible to be a proportional appointee).

Jim Bodkin