Yes, it is true. Proportional representation fairly represents voters’ views in the Legislature: 40 per cent of the vote equals 40 per cent of the seats. Unlike our current voting system that turns losers into winners, 15 of our last 17 elections awarded a party that earned only a minority of votes with a majority of seats in the Legislature.
And yes, it is also true. If more than 5 per cent of voters support a party that some might call extremist or fringe, that party will receive the appropriate number of seats in the Legislature.
Consider these questions:
1. Who decides which views are worthy of representation, and which are not? Once upon a time CCF/NDP views were (and by some still are) considered extremist. Are the BC Conservatives a “fringe” party with a much smaller percentage of the vote than the Greens?
2. Extremist views are not going away. Is it better to have these views out in the open and its proponents participating in the Legislature where they can be challenged, and their ideas perhaps modified, and solutions found through discussion, cooperation and compromise? Or better to have these views fester and grow, hidden within a big tent party? Or ignored until their proponents create chaos on the streets?
With our current voting system, a few votes can swing a riding, and a single riding can swing an election — Courtney Comox in the 2017 election. In the age of social media manipulation, our current system is wide open to abuse and manipulation by extremist and other elements. This would not be the case with any one of the three proportional representation systems on offer in the upcoming electoral reform referendum, where all votes go towards electing an MLA.
Proportional representation fairly represents all our views in the Legislature. It does not create or aggravate them. To quote one pundit, if you oppose proportional representation because you are afraid of a certain party getting into the Legislature, you don’t have a problem with a voting system. You have a problem with democracy.