Letter on FPTP calls for a rebuttal

Dear Editor,

Mr. Martin’s letter (Unease over referendum; Oct/11/18) calls for a rebuttal.

The expectation that FPTP “will eventually end up with a system where two parties dominate the landscape” should be cause for worry. The 2016 election results in the United States demonstrate just what a “system where two parties dominate the landscape and switch back and forth as the dominant party from election to election” can produce. We have set a precedent in British Columbia that changing our electoral system should not be left to governments serving narrow political interests. It is and should be the prerogative of voters to decide, by way of referendum, how they wish to elect their representatives.

British Columbia has dabbled in electoral reform before. The Conservative-Liberal coalition replaced FPTP with the Alternative Vote (AV) system. The coalition was worried that the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (forerunner to the NDP) might gain power in the 1952 election.

The expectation was that AV would return either Conservatives or Liberals to majority control in the Legislative Assembly. But that is not how it turned out. AV helped a political novice, the Social Credit Party, to form a minority government, and just one year later, to a comfortable majority.

Social Credit then wasted no time to ditch AV and restore FPTP.

The idea that one political party representing less than half the voting population should be granted the privilege to impose its ideology on everything – economy, environment, education, transportation, health care, transportation, etc. – is a strange idea indeed. An electoral system that elevates a minority party to run the show until enough people are sufficiently upset to empower another minority party to run the show may be many things, but it is neither efficient nor effective, and most certainly not democratic.

Andre Carrel

Terrace, B.C.

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