VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Don’t let the third time be a charm.
That’s what a new group calling itself No to Proportional Representation in BC is counting on as we wait for a date to be set for this year’s referendum on electoral reform.
BC Liberal –and former Attorney General– Suzanne Anton is heading up the team.
She insists the current first-past-the-post system doesn’t need to be fixed.
“We have a very stable and good system of government in British Columbia and indeed in Canada,” she says. “It’s led British Columbia, it’s led Canada to being one of the best places in the world, we do not need to go to a system like they have in many countries in Europe and other countries in the world that lead to unstable government and very difficult coalitions.”
Anton believes the system is not broken, and claims the alternative is dangerous.
“You can get groups that are very distasteful to most of the population,” she explains. “You can get very far right, anti-immigration groups, for example which most of us would not support, but because they attract enough support around the province they may get people in the legislature.”
“No one voted for them, they get appointed by party bosses, but they’re there and they can have control or say over the agenda. That’s not a good system.”
The non-partisan group includes longtime New Democrat Bill Tieleman who helped defeat past attempts to change the system.
“Both of us believe very strongly in our current, stable democratic system that we’ve got in BC,” Anton says. “We do not need to go to a system like they have in many countries in Europe and other countries in the world that lead to unstable governments and very difficult coalitions. We’ve got a good system now. It’s not broken. It does not need to be fixed.”
Similar attempts to change the current system failed in 2005 and 2009.
“I think when people start to look into it, they decide that they don’t want a change. We’ve gone through two votes now in BC for the STV, they called it, and both times it was rejected by the citizens of British Columbia. In fact in the second vote citizens of BC said ‘no’ with quite a great majority,” she says. “So I think once people start to look at it, they understand the implications of it and they’re less enthusiastic for it.”
Anton adds the current system is easy to understand, and says people know who their representative is and how they got there.
No date has been set for this year’s referendum.