Tuesday, May 12, 2009

As BC Goes, So Goes the Nation

It's election day in BC, and for the third time in recent years a Canadian Province will be voting on a referendum to implement a form of proportional representation - in this case, the Single Transferable Vote system, known to its friends as BC-STV.

My message to all you left coasters out there: DO IT!

When we had a similar referendum here in Ontario, it suffered from a total lack of public education on the issue - a problem which was quite intentionally written into the rules by the major political party that set up the referendum in the first place. And not surprisingly: major political parties have the most to lose from electoral reform. Smaller parties and the voters themselves have the most to gain.

The other thing that sank the MMP referendum was the innate conservatism of the Canadian people. Not 'conservative' as in Conservative - 'conservative' as in 'deathly afraid of change'. But if there is anyone in Canada that has repeatedly shown itself to be willing and able to try new things, it's the good people of British Columbia. You stepped up on gay marriage. You are on the forefront of harm reduction-based public drug policy. You have hybrid cabs.

You can totally do this. And once you do, the rest of Canada can look to the west and say, "Gee. That's not so scary after all. In fact, it's a really good idea."

And once two or three other provinces join the party, it will only be a matter of time before the momentum is there for PR on a national basis and Canada can join just about every other multi-party democracy on the planet.

Go. Vote. Talk to your friends and get them to vote. Vote for BC-STV.


  1. This testimonial by a reformed Deputy Premier is tearing up the airwaves on YouTube. It really puts things in perspective:


  2. That was a good choice of video. I hadn't seen it before, but it is the simplest and easiest presentation.

  3. Well, it didn't work out the way so many of us hoped. I guess a lot of us crazy left coasters got spooked by the negative campaigning or the economy or the crazy math of the thing.

    I'm pretty bummed, but for what it's worth, electoral reform is a table topic among many more people now. We just have to keep hammering at it.

  4. Maybe next time it should be done the way New Zealand did it. First, they had a referendum asking whether people actually wanted a different voting system in the first place, and once that came back with a resounding 'yes' (80%), THEN they had a second referendum asking which system they preferred.