Oct 112018

The local paper published my letter-to-editor re Proportional Representation.  But there’s much better!

Common Ground, October Issue  has excellent articles that draw on actual RESEARCH by, for example:

  • Arend Lijphart who has a long career in studying and comparing the outcomes of various political systems.
  • Susan Delacourt‘s book, “Shopping for Votes“.

Time for one article?   I’d suggest    Kinder, gentler democracies  by Sonia Furstenau.

Time for more?   flip through  Common Ground, October Issue

On the Thanksgiving Weekend just past,  I approached people I did not know, young ones especially (politely, of course!):

Excuse me,   I am doing my own little poll:

Do you know that Elections BC will be mailing you a ballot, soon?   It’s about changing our Voting System. 

Some people did not know.

WITHOUT FAIL:   Every person or couple I approached was receptive and happy to chat.   I can’t think of one person who did not express thanks for the information I then passed along.

(Elections BC starts the mail-out of ballots on Oct 22nd.   If you haven’t received a ballot by November 1st, you should contact Elections BC.  The referendum is extremely important.  What happens in BC will set the tone for all of Canada.  The ballot is simple:  answer the first question.   (Are you in favour of changing the voting system or not?)


The ONLY way we are going to win this Referendum to change the Voting System, is for ALL of us to exercise our jaw bones and/or the “Send” button on email.

If you don’t live in BC,  you may know people who do.  Do not take it for granted that BC citizens know about the Referendum.  And if they do, that they appreciate the importance of mailing their ballot back to Elections BC.  They will be doing it for all Canadians.


Go to Who is opposing ProRep?   subtitle in   Now is your chance to modernize BC’s voting system  (Common Ground.)

As Press Progress recently reported, the opposition to ProRep is largely funded by BC’s wealthiest people and our province’s entrenched power brokers. Some of the major donors to date include a mining tycoon, a venture capitalist, the billionaire founder of Future Shop, a corporate lobbyist, several developers and realtors, and six separate members of the Rogers dynasty. And a lumber tycoon apparently personally funded front page ads on newspapers across BC prior to the official start of the campaign.   . . .  more


RELATED:   (There’s now a “category” for “Voting System . . .” with these postings in it:)

2018-10-01  Thanks to Karen:  Proportional Representation ballot. Please Vote and encourage others to do so.

2011-04-12  What are some answers for our system of governance?

2011-03-25  Fair Vote Canada announces federal election results

2010-10-30  I am a conservative, liberal, democratic, green. (Is that how to say it, Mike Fornssler?)

2010-01-22 ANTI-PROROGUE: update

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With thanks to Greg:

More info on PR:     https://fairvotingbc.com/

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With thanks to the Wilsons:
Subject: Look who’s for PR!


(The Text is copied at the bottom of this posting.  Tells you all you need to know.  It’s getting a lot of circulation.)

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From: Barb

Interesting.  May I ask what is your preference regarding the upcoming vote?

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From: Sandra

I definitely favour  Proportional Representation.

And am pitching in on the effort to mobilize young people especially, to vote in the referendum.   It’s their future.

The present system makes it way too easy for Big Money to be the Government.  Which is what they are doing, IMHO!

(INSERT:  The article,  Kinder, gentler democracies  by Sonia Furstenau, explains things.)

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From: Barb

I definitely want reform, hope the referendum voting is as simple and easy to follow as possible.  It is not easy to understand the choices and consequences from what I have seen.

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Hi Barb,

They’ve  made it easy for the Referendum.

In order for your vote to count,  you only have to answer the first question:  do you want change?


The way I see it,   the second question doesn’t matter at this point (and it is optional).


If the vote for change doesn’t get a majority vote,  we won’t be changing anything, END of story!


I sent appended letter-to-editor.   (It was published, Oct 10th).

I should have” (!)  stated the case better:

We have major challenges in the 21st century.  Why aren’t we making better progress in working out solutions?    . .  .  we’re using a 19th century system.

From what I see,  there is far too much money and power (control) consolidated in “the 1%”.   As Leonard Cohen says, “Everybody knows . . . ”.  

The 1% DOES NOT WANT CHANGE, things are perfectly fine for them.  The amount of money that they spend to hold the system of governance to their bidding is formidable.

We have this opportunity, now, to loosen their hold.  I am voting for change.  The mechanics of the new voting system can be worked out.  Citizens of other countries have fought to get rid of first-past-the-post (also known as “winner take all”), and won.   There’s experience to draw on.  If they can do it, we can, too.  Don’t let the propagandists scare or fool you.   Know who they are.

NOTE:  Go to Who is opposing ProRep?   subtitle in   Now is your chance to modernize BC’s voting system  (Common Ground.)

As Press Progress recently reported, the opposition to ProRep is largely funded by BC’s wealthiest people and our province’s entrenched power brokers. Some of the major donors to date include a mining tycoon, a venture capitalist, the billionaire founder of Future Shop, a corporate lobbyist, several developers and realtors, and six separate members of the Rogers dynasty. And a lumber tycoon apparently personally funded front page ads on newspapers across BC prior to the official start of the campaign.   . . .  more


Do not forget the APPENDED:      Look who’s for PR!


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Letter-to- Editor,  Proportional Representation.   Published Oct 10.

We may yet make it into the 21st century!

RE:    PQB News, Oct 2, 2018

Viewpoint,  MLA Michelle Stilwell


I’ve been following Liberal MLA Michelle Stilwell’s directive to get informed for 50 years.

The first-past-the-post dinosaur has brought us to a point where, in too many cases:

  • Governments are accountable to someone, but it’s not citizens.
  • The entities that Regulators are supposed to regulate are instead their “partners”.
  • In Canada the revolving doors between politicians, civil servants, corporate boards and executives are well oiled.
  • If rules that prevent retiring government officials from going almost directly to corporate positions still exist, they most certainly are not enforced.
  • Conflicts-of-interest are not challenged by the media, let alone by opposition parties.   (Be careful if you want the same payoffs when it’s your turn.)


Proportional Representation won’t fix all our woes, but it will be a step in taking back our democracy.


Ms Stilwell did not point out:

There are two questions on the ballot.   You need only answer the first one (yes or no to change).  The other question is optional (which form of proportional representation?  If you’re unsure, you can leave it blank.  Go one step at a time.).


It doesn’t get much simpler than that.


I’d like to thank the Government of Premier John Horgan and our Chief Electoral Officer, Anton Boegman, for the Electoral Reform Referendum 2018 Act.   We may yet make it into the 21st century!

Sandra Finley


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Look who’s for PR!
Politicians on PR

Perhaps no-one is more qualified to explain the problems with our voting system than those who have been elected under it, but some of them are also inclined towards what can charitably be called exaggeration or fear-mongering.

Politicians Explain Why First-Past-the-Post Should Go

Scott Reid, Conservative Critic for Democratic Reform: “We need to build a coalition of parliamentarians, intellectuals and journalists behind the idea that first past the post is not acceptable in a mature democracy and that some kind of electoral reform is needed.”

hugh-segalHugh Segal, Conservative Senator:  “As first past the post elections manufacture contrived majorities – where 38% of electors can elect 60% of the seats – majority governments who classically eschew compromise with other parties get to impose economic policies from the right or left that do not reflect a balanced or inclusive economic policy framework. This can and has led to bad policy, excessive or inadequate tax initiatives, tilted labor relations, excessive or incompetent regulatory régimes. All of these can and have cost Canada and provinces economic slow downs, wild lurches from one economic policy to another and so on. This costs us vital time and setbacks on issues like jobs, investment, tax reform, poverty reduction, and education. These are setbacks that hurt people’s lives, aspirations and economic and social prospects.”

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister: “We need to know that when we cast a ballot, it counts. That when we vote, it matters. So I’m proposing that we make every vote count.”

Stephen Harper, Former Prime Minister:Our parliamentary government creates a concentrated power structure out of step with other aspects of society. For Canadian democracy to mature, Canadian citizens must face these facts, as citizens in other countries have, and update our political structures to reflect the diverse political aspirations of our diverse communities.”  “In today’s democratic societies, organizations share power. Corporations, churches, universities, hospitals, even public sector bureaucracies make decisions through consultation, committees and consensus-building techniques. Only in politics do we still entrust power to a single faction expected to prevail every time over the opposition by sheer force of numbers. Even more anachronistically, we persist in structuring the governing team like a military regiment under a single commander with almost total power to appoint, discipline and expel subordinates.” “Many of Canada’s problems stem from a winner-take-all style of politics that allows governments in Ottawa to impose measures abhorred by large areas of the country.”

Jean Chretien, Former Prime Minister:  “[T]he federal election system has to be reformed to help end Western alienation, which … has been fuelled by a chronic lack of Western representation in the federal government.”

Why Proportional Voting Would Help

Stephen Harper: “Modernizing Canadian politics would not only be good for conservatism, it might be the key to Canada’s survival as a nation.”  “However, the incentive would change if an explicit coalition of conservative sister parties advocated electoral reform as part of a common platform. The partners would then have to carry through as part of their commitment to each other, and at least some of the partners would also want to, knowing their own futures would become more secure in the process. The NDP should also support electoral reform, allowing even a minority conservative government to pass the necessary legislation”  “voters on the left are as much entitled as voters on the right to effective elected representation” – [article]

Hugh Segal:  “Electoral reform would break this cycle and create incentives for a much broader economic debate where truly democratically representative legislatures and parliaments would make budget, trade, fiscal and tax policy more truly reflective of how people actually voted.  Economic policy only works when it reflects‎ economic and social reality. In a democracy that reality is made real by parliaments that are representative of how people actually voted.”
Party Leaders Know PR Is The Right Thing To Do

Pierre Elliott Trudeau offered to introduce proportional representation if the NDP would agree to co-sponsor it.  The NDP (under then-leader Ed Broadbent) declined. [Winnipeg Free Press article]

Jean Chretien: “Energy Minister Jean Chrétien said … that one of the first things he would do if elected prime minister would be to introduce a system of proportional representation for federal elections. … ‘If I were the prime minister, I would do that right after the election,’ he said.” – [article]

Stephen Harper proposed using the Single Transferable Vote to elect senators (2006) [article]

From the Horse’s Mouth:  Why Politicians Haven’t Acted

Stephen Harper (Conservative Party):it is seldom in the short-term interest of the party in power to carry out electoral reform; by definition, the system worked admirably for those now in power and changing the system might benefit the opponents next time.”

Christy Clark (former Premier of BC, Liberal Party): “The hacks, the backroom boys, and the politicians who are served and elected by our current system … have grown accustomed to the power the current system grants to them. I see people whose interests and in many cases, whose income is dependent on keeping our system the way it is. People who, unlike you, relish the ugly realities that are the consequence of our first past the post system. … If the established interests succeed in defeating this [voting reform], they won’t give you another chance.”

Scott Reid (Conservative Party): “[F]or all the failings of the first past the post electoral system, and they are considerable, there is nevertheless a very powerful interest group that has a strong incentive to keep that system in place. That interest group is us. All 301 members of parliament are here because the first past the post system put us here. It may be that we will be able, through the efforts of high-minded members … to temporarily build a majority within the House that is brave enough or self-sacrificing enough to abandon the status quo for a future that would return only some of us to this place, but it will be an uphill battle.”

Hugh Segal (Conservative Senator):  “As those who are elected under the first past the post regime have won within that regime’s strictures, they are unlikely to want it to change. This strident complacency leads to an unwelcome tolerance for unrepresentative democracy.”

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