--> Getting It Right: Voting Yes for STV Gives You Greater Choice

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Voting Yes for STV Gives You Greater Choice

During the 2001 provincial campaign, the BC Liberals promised a thorough study of our electoral options – they knew that British Columbians were getting tired of the polarization and massive swings inherent in our “first past the post” system.

And, to be fair, the BC Liberals were also still smarting from 1996 when they won the popular vote, but they still lost the election in the seat counts.

Shortly after 2001 election, a Citizen’s Assembly was authorized by the BC Legislature to study and review how governments are elected around the world. Following that study, the Assembly was then tasked with recommending a system that would give voters the most choice in the election of their government.

The hue and cry that has followed their recommendation of a BC STV electoral system has been nothing short of breath-taking and, above all, unbelievably hypocritical.

Average men and women from all 79 ridings in British Columbia have spent over a year of their lives considering a system that they feel will best ensure the people’s voices are heard – not the special interests, not the politicians, not some union boss.

The people’s voices. Remarkable concept, really. Kind of what democracy is all about, last I checked.

So, let’s see who is lining up against electoral reform, because to me that is one of the most compelling arguments to vote “Yes” for a reformed system.

First in line, we’ve got the trade union bosses. They don’t like the changes because they know that under a reformed system, their opportunity for special status is diminished. The fact that it gives their membership a far greater voice in electing their government representatives is irrelevant to a group that is looking out for the well-being of their organizations ahead of their members.

Next, we’ve got Adrienne Carr and the Green Party elite. They are upset because their own favourite brand of electoral reform, MMP, was rejected by the Citizen’s Assembly in favour of a system that doesn’t give special power to political party appointees.

Right behind Adrienne Carr is a whole raft of political hacks, has-beens and wannabes. These folks have a certain whiff of arrogance about them – they are quite convinced that voters are stupid and they really need politicians to tell them what they want and how they want it.

So, let’s sum up. On one side we have special interests frothing at the mouth to keep some measure of power for their little group of pals. On the other, we have 158 randomly selected, non-partisan, average BC voters mandated to find the best solution to an often perplexing and frustrating electoral system.

Visit www.stvforbc.com. Learn about STV and the power it gives back to voters.

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