LETTERS: Referendum presents a real dilemma

I found the debate on Nov. 8 on the B.C. proportional voting system incredibly frustrating.

The two leaders demonstrated how badly flawed our current system is. The leaders continually interrupted each other, did not listen to the other person’s views, nor answered each other’s questions, and provided no more substantive information on the alternative voting systems, with one person talking theory, the other process. Nothing at all was resolved. There were no “winners” only losers, us the people of B.C.

The ideal of proportional representation appears to be more just and fair as it should better reflect the diverse views of the voters. It will inevitably result in multi-party, coalition governments.

The fundamental question is how will this work in practice? Will we simply end up with several bickering, self-interested leaders pandering to their particular supporters, attempting to hold together unstable governments that are unable to accomplish any substantive progress and making compromises that nobody likes?

The current coalition government is an environmental and economic disaster. By proceeding with Site C, it has sacrificed thousands of hectares of agricultural land, incurred hundreds of miles of downstream environmental degradation and has trampled on the inalienable rights of First Nations in order to generate power that we do not need.

Furthermore, it has cost the taxpayers millions of dollars through ill informed, but popular, opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline, which could have had all of its potential environmental and First Nations concerns resolved positively and expeditiously without the federal government having to buy the pipeline.

Now, the taxpayers of Canada, own a pipeline that in the not too distant future will be obsolete as alternative energy becomes more economical, cheaper alternatives to oil are developed and the demand for expensive tar sands dirty oil disappears. This current government is certainly a terrible example of how a multi-party coalition government would work.

The three proposed alternative proportional voting systems, in my view, are fundamentally untenable because they presume a person is voting for a party not an individual. For many of us who have no party affiliation, it is an incorrect assumption that when we vote for a person, we are voting for a party.

The complexity of the proposed systems is also unnecessary as they have regional representatives who are voted for separately from a single party’s list. I suggest voter participation in this process would be dismal. The benefits of one system over the others are not explained. Why were these three systems selected? I do not understand why the relatively straightforward single transferrable vote proportional voting system was only partially proposed as part of the rural urban voting system. In the STV system the voter is free to vote for individual candidates in ranked order, regardless of their party affiliation.

For me, this referendum presents a real dilemma. I would like to try an alternative proportional voting system, but I am strongly opposed to the three alternatives provided and the single STV system for the whole province that I would like to try is not an option.

I guess no change is better than a bad change.

Don Brown

Sooke

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