BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver joins Premier John Horgan and Douglas College student Simka Marshall at a rally for proportional representation in Victoria, Tuesday. (Kristyn Anthony/News staff)

‘Your vote matters,’ BC NDP and Greens host proportional representation rally

British Columbians have until Nov. 30 to vote in favour of transitioning to PR, ending traditional first-past-the-post system

A strong sentiment to summon the youth vote and ensure each British Columbian is fairly represented in government was the message at a rally in favour of proportional representation hosted by the BC Green Party and the BC NDP in Victoria, Tuesday evening.

Hundreds of people filled the Crystal Gardens at the Victoria Convention Centre to show support for change in the province’s electoral system.

“For too long our old, outdated voting system has led to polarization and extreme partisanship,” Premier John Horgan told the room.

Proportional representation (PR) is a system whereby parties gain seats in direct proportion to the number of votes cast for them.

First-past-the-post (FPTP) gives candidates the power, whether they were elected by a single vote or by a landslide, based on representation in the province’s 87 electoral districts.

A self-professed “late convert” to PR, Horgan said under proportional representation, the diversity of the community is better represented in the legislature.

Pointing to the Ontario election where Premier Doug Ford received just 40 per cent of the votes, but holds 100 per cent of the power, Horgan said: “That’s not good for democracy.”

That encourages governments to become arrogant and stop listening to people, he added.

RELATED: Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Residents across B.C. will vote by mail-in ballot with a Nov. 30 deadline, choosing to remain with the first-past-the-post system or transition to proportional representation.

Voters will also select which type of PR they prefer – dual member proportional, mixed member proportional or rural-urban proportional.

The referendum will be the the third such vote in 18 years. In 2005, 57 per cent of voters chose PR and in 2009 only 39 per cent of voters were in favour; in order to change the system, a minimum of 60 per cent is required.

RELATED: Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

“When people say pro rep is a once in a generation opportunity, they’re talking about my generation,” said Simka Marshall, a member of the Ahousaht First Nation studying geography at Douglas College.

A change to proportional representation will inspire young voters, she explained, because the province will be better represented, regardless of which party is in power.

“My generation doesn’t have the luxury of being apathetic,” she told the crowd. “We’re graduating with thousands of dollars of debt, we’re likely to be lifetime renters and we’re watching our Earth and climate change dramatically.

“But we are also the generation of change,” she added.

RELATED: Former B.C. premier warns against change to proportional representation

The B.C. Liberals have made it clear they are in favour of keeping the current past-the-post system, accusing the NDP of “rushing an unfair referendum” to appease the Greens “propping up their government,” according to the party website.

“They’re spreading fear and they’re spreading misinformation,” Horgan said of the Liberals, because they are “petrified of working with other people.”

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver agreed, saying PR gives people the option to vote for what they want, eliminates the need for strategic voting that can lead to wasted votes, and ends the pitting of political parties against one another.

“Under that model, you get to vote with hope,” Weaver said.


@kristyn_anthony
kristyn.anthony@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Holdover fires burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

Hotcakes

On April 6 there was a community pancake breakfast held at the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Most Read