Fewer people vote because their votes are meaningless

To the Editor,

Your anti-Proportional Representation editorial of May 23 compels me to respond. You got your wish regarding the NDP publishing their proposed referendum question. Perhaps you have more influence over the government than we thought. More likely though is the fact that the plan was always to publish the referendum question well in advance and there was never any great secrecy involved.

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I understand the fear of a reduction in the number of MLAs in rural B.C. if we move to a new PR system. However, I don’t want to use that as an excuse to continue to elect governments that receive 100 per cent of the power with less that 50% and sometimes less than 40% of the vote. Our rural MLAs have been excellent at representing us, particularly our current representative, and I have confidence that they will continue to do an excellent job. However, an additional part of their work is to represent the philosophy of their party for the province and similarly our job as voters is to understand the different party platforms and vote for the party that best reflects our interests.

In today’s British Columbia, a large percentage of voters are disenfranchised. With the exception of swing ridings, we already know which party will be elected in each riding. Is it any wonder that fewer and fewer people are voting when they know that their votes are meaningless? Personally I would like the opportunity to make my vote count.

Almost every country in the world uses some form of Proportional Representation and in most of them the voter turnout is higher than in Canada. And before we start talking about places like Italy where they continue to have trouble forming a government, keep in mind that Canada has had six national elections since the year 2000 while Italy has had only four. FPTP does not serve British Columbia well and I would encourage everyone to do some research into the benefits of PR and not base our referendum votes purely on the fact that ridings will increase in size. These new riding will also be much more representative of the votes of the people in the riding.


Jim Ryan,

Spences Bridge



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