To the Editor,
In John Stewart Millâ€™s essay â€œConsider- ations on Representative Governmentâ€, Mills states that in true representative government, â€œA majority of the elec-
tors would always have a majority of the representatives, but a minority of the electors would always have a minority
of the representatives.â€ In our present system, the minorityâ€™s â€œ… fair and equal share of influence in the representation is withheld from them, contrary to all just government, but, above all, contrary to the principle of democracyâ€.
In BCâ€™s last election with FPTP (First Past The Post), the Liberals earned 20 of the 24 rural Interior and Northern seats with only 51% of votes! 49% had no representation. Joseph Nusse wrote in Oct 18thâ€™s Goat that this is the result of the Liberals reaching a broad consensus of voters. Consensus, however, is a term that refers to everyone accepting and sup- porting a decision. A consensus is rarely achieved in politics and, in my opinion, is a huge stretch to use the term in regards to FPTP.
With the DMP (Dual Member Propor- tional) system the Liberal MLAâ€™s in rural B.C. would be balanced by a voted pro- portional number of NDP MLAâ€™s. With MMP, NDP supporters would have access to their member. Most people would actually have a representative in govern- ment that shares their values.
In B.C., at present 68% of ridings are considered â€œSafe Seatsâ€ -they always go to the same parties; FPTP assures them a majority win. With â€œSafe Seatsâ€, a party can also parachute a member into aÂ region that he or she will be guaranteed to win (like the Liberals did with former Premier Christy Clark in a 2013 Kelowna byelection ). As a contrast to Safe Seats, the main parties focus all of their time, money, and energy doing everything necessary to sway the vote in â€œSwing Rid- ingsâ€, where there is a chance that the vote could go either way.
All of this politicking takes precedence over caring what the entire province or all constituents in a given riding want, or even being accountable to do what they, as candidates, say they will should they be elected. Consensus? Hardly. There are not even checks and balances, as many people who would have a voice through PR are completely silenced presently under FPTP.
Take the time to read the Voterâ€™s Guide that should have arrived in your mailbox from Elections B.C.
If you are more inclined toward an interesting video on the subject, check out Elizabeth Mayâ€™s 17 minute Ted Talk on Youtube: tinyurl.com/mayprorep
While I am no strong supporter of the NDP, I personally put my trust and faith in our Attorney General, David Eby, the former Executive Director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, who also previously worked tirelessly in Vancou- verâ€™s Downtown Eastside with the Pivot Legal Society. He is the NDP MLA for Vancouver Point Grey. A summary of his report can be found online here: tinyurl.com/ebyreport
Rob Mercereau Dunster, BC