Letter: MLA Meeting was a farce

Liberal MLAs Milobar and Stone are busy touring towns and cities in the region hosting  ‘MLA Meetings’ where their main objective is to spread lies about Proportional Representation and convince people to keep our current First Past the Post electoral system.

They are ‘toeing the party line’ as they know that our current electoral system makes it easier to have all the power with only 40% or less of the vote. Our current First Past the Post system makes it easier for lobbyists to have influence and reduces the influence of the average voter. In fact, the leaders of the NDP, Greens and the BC Conservative Party are all supportive of Proportional Representation. Under PR no matter where you live in the province and no matter what your political preference, when you vote your vote counts. In our current First Past the Post elections approximately half of our votes are wasted and don’t elect anyone.

According to Arend Lijphart, Professor Emeritus, University of California, who has studied political systems around the world for many decades, Proportional Representation countries tend to have better health, education and score higher on the Yale University Environmental Index. Moreover, countries that use Proportional Representation tend to have more collaboration and longer term planning, and as a consequence you don’t get huge swings in government policy after an election. This is because the parties forming government must represent at least 50% of the voters. In contrast, the two MLAs lied and stated that PR leads to “Short term planning, poor decision making.”

Moreover, nine of the 10 top democracies in terms of GDP per capita are countries with Proportional Representation, and these same PR democracies tend to have lower taxes and lower national debt. In contrast, the MLAs lied and stated that PR is “More expensive gov’t – $13 Billion/year more spending in BC.” These MLAs were quoting an article published by the Fraser Institute, which is a group that is funded by lobbyist billionaires like the Koch Brothers.

Health, education and the environment are concerns of ordinary citizens, yet our MLAs stated that “Power would be given to extremist groups (only 5% of vote would be needed to obtain seats in BC Legislature).” In fact, extremism is the end result of First Past the Post systems that tend to favor two dominant parties that are more accountable to lobbyists than to the average citizen. Just look to our neighbors to the south – people are so angry and fed up with both parties which listen more to lobbyists than to the average voter.

MLA meetings are supposed to be an opportunity for people to come together to discuss ideas, not to hear partisan lies. Imagine the next MLA meeting under a Proportional Representation government: there would be a good chance that there would be two or maybe three MLAs from different parties attending the MLA meeting. Because PR democracies are more collaborative there is a good chance that the MLA meeting would be about ideas and solving local, regional and provincial challenges rather than about partisan lies.

Rob Purdy,

Kamloops, BC

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