Letter: Saying a big ‘no’ to PR

Letter: Saying a big ‘no’ to PR

British Columbians by now have probably received their referendum ballots in the mail. These need to be received back by Elections BC no later than Nov. 30 for your vote to count. Those preferring the present voting system only need to darken the top oval of Question 1. Those preferring proportional representation can study the three different options and rank them by preference in Question 2. (Richard McGuire photo)

I received the “Voters Guide” a few days ago and decided to give it a good look so I could make an informed choice on electoral reform.

After several reads I determined that the guide raises more questions than answers. It is very convoluted and, while I profess to have a mind that’s capable of understanding most things, this guide appears to be bereft of any kind of straightforward explanation – explanations that I think the voters (taxpayers) of B.C. deserve before this referendum vote goes forward.

1. It states: “… if a pro rep voting system is adopted, the government has said that after the referendum: a legislative committee will determine how some aspects of the new system will work.” Who on earth would want to vote to implement a system that still has blank spaces in the operation manual?  Would you buy a car if the dealership told you that they haven’t figured out how the motor is going to work?

2. It states: “… an independent electoral boundaries commission will determine the number of boundaries of the electoral districts and regions represented in the legislature.” Another blank space that should leave B.C. voters to wonder why are they not given this information before they vote. Kind of like the same dealership telling you that you have to buy the car before we tell you just where you are allowed to drive it.

3. It states: “… the total number of MLAs in the legislature will be between 87 and 95.” Excuse me, before every single political vote I have ever cast – whether municipal, provincial or federal – I always knew exactly how many positions in a government would be filled. Remember that dealership?  It’s like them telling you that you don’t get to know how many people will be available to look after your car until after you buy it.

4. It states:  “… no region in the province will have fewer MLAs than it does now.”  Well, that’s nice to know but I am reading that some regions in the province will have more than one MLA.  So how do I get two MLAs for my region?  And if the candidate I like and trust is one of them, do I just get a “party pick for the second one” and what guarantee is there that the second one will actually be from my region?

5. What it doesn’t state, and likely because they don’t want you to know is, there are many parts of proportional representation that have never been tried in any country in the world. Do you want your province to be a guinea pig for a new voting system that would determine how you are going to be governed?

6. This last point is the real killer in the guide: “If you don’t understand anything in the guide…just go to the Attorney General’s report and you will find your answers” . . . hey honey, stop the packing, hold off on the holidays a few weeks, I’ve got to read the Attorney General’s report to try and figure out what I am voting for.

R. Harris, Osoyoos


  1. The choice that really is not a choice at all. I feel this is very much a targeted and well thought out approach this. It leave the system you know and currently use as the well defined and tested system. Then you have the new systems that are vague, lack major structural details, and can not be fully explained as the alternative choices. The majority of people are very unlikely to vote for those systems based on many unknowns in each of the three other choices. So when you want someone to make a choice you want, you give them your choice and then any numbers of others they are even less likely to fully support.