December 06, 2018

BC: Why proportional representation could be the Left's worst nightmare

Keean BexteRebel Contributor

It is the third electoral reform vote in British Columbia in a generation. I suppose you have to give them credit, perhaps persistence is key. 

The latest polls have suggested it is a coin toss. This is the closest BC has ever been to fundamentally change their democracy.

Look, I have never been a fan of proportional representation. I think it is convoluted, confusing to voters, and neglects the huge role geography plays in the lives of Canadians.

Coalition governments, consisting of parties all with their own agenda and promises: a bridge here, public art there, research grants for everyone, they all end up at the budget table. Proportional representation is a disaster for anyone who cares about limited government.

A study by the Frasier Institute showed that countries governed by PR systems engaged in more deficit spending than traditionally elected countries. The study showed that compared to a nation's GDP, proportionally elected governments spend almost 25 per cent more than their counterparts.

Now you’re looking at me saying, Keean, what does BC have to lose? They are almost $68 billion in debt, and with their state-run insurance company haemorrhaging cash, their financial future is grim.

So, let’s talk about the positives of proportional representation:

The current political establishment in BC is entirely behind a carbon tax. Every province west of Ottawa, including Ontario, has fallen out of line with Justin Trudeau. Everyone that is, besides BC. It wasn’t even a "left-wing" government that implemented it. It was the farthest right option, the BC Liberals, a solidly centrist party.

Right-wing British Columbians have strategically voted for the BC Liberals for years. They knew the Conservatives were unelectable their last legislature representation disappeared during a floor crossing in 2012.

If proportional representation passes in BC, the Conservatives, which have polled as high as 16 per cent in the non-metropolitan areas of the province, stand a significant chance of sending members to Victoria in the next election.

The only party standing against Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax currently does not have a leader – they will elect one in late February. No candidates have put their name forward, presumably to wait for the results of the referendum which wraps up tomorrow, which will determine the electability of the party.

Right now, all we have are rumours. A likely candidate, Aaron Gunn, spokesman for BC Proud, and the keynote speaker at the latest BCCP convention delivered a staunchly pro-pipeline, anti-carbon tax address to the members.

Aaron Gunn also ran the campaign to keep a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald standing in Victoria, after the Mayor ordered the statue Canada’s founding father ordered it be removed.

I spoke with attendees from the last Conservative convention in BC, and they characterized Gunn’s address as “a warm-up speech, exploring how BC Conservatives would react”. In other words, he hasn’t said yes and he hasn’t said no.

I am continuing to weigh my options and look forward to the results of the referendum. Regardless, British Columbians are tired of the same old policies that have made B.C. an unaffordable place to call home. It’s time for bold new ideas that respect taxpayers, build this province and get the cost of living under control.

All this is to say, if proportional representation passes in BC, the left might be in for a rude awakening, getting a little more than they bargained for.

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commented 2018-12-09 02:09:49 -0500
My proposal is to have a system like jury duty. No elections. Your name comes up and you serve. No wasted money on elections. No glad handing and currying favour to get voted in because you will never be in again. No professional politicians. B u t one would have to control the bureaucracy to prevent them from becoming an unelected deep state. It couldn’t be any worse than they way we do it now.
commented 2018-12-07 20:49:50 -0500
Henry Reardon…Yes , the Swiss rule by Referendum. The good part is the people make the decisions, but what happens when the people are politically ignorant like in Canada and Australia. ? I am not saying the people are stupid, it’s just that they push politics aside for Baseball, Hockey and beer.

If there was a referendum to change Canada’s voting system, would you trust the University students that Menzies interviews; the same ones that voted for Trudeau because he has cool socks.
commented 2018-12-07 14:35:34 -0500
I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the historical precedents. Several countries have – or had – proportional representation with rather dubious results. Did you know that Germany had proportional representation in the years after WW I and that Hitler came to power democratically under proportional representation by forming a coalition with a smaller party? Did you know that Italy had proportional representation for many years after WW II and that governments survived an average of only 11 MONTHS before having to be reshuffled? (I believe they changed their system a few years back and now have far more stable governments.) Did you know that Israel has had proportional representation for many years and their governments have pretty much always been coalitions of several parties that always seem to be teetering on the brink of falling?

If First Past the Post truly is untenable – I’m not convinced it is – perhaps we should be looking at a different model of democratic governance. Personally, I’m intrigued by the Swiss system but don’t know quite enough about it yet to endorse it whole-heartedly:
commented 2018-12-07 02:59:34 -0500
The worst part of PR is all those different parties never get anything done, as you may need the help of 3 other small parties . Look at Sweden, its been 3 months and they havn’t passed anything, It’s a waste of Money.
Actually the Fraser Institute did a large study and found PR was much more expensive.
commented 2018-12-07 02:51:03 -0500
I spent hours studying the 3 PR systems that the pamphlet provided; the 1st one never made sense, then I read that it has never been tried anywhere.
Finally I came to the conclusion that it is my duty as a BC citizen to do literally anything to keep the dirty Hippy Green Party out of BC Politics. As they would benefit the most with PR, I voted First past the Post.
Don’t forget BC Conservatives, half of the BC Liberal Party are Conservatives.

Since we likely won’t be commenting on BC Politics again; I believe that our only hope for a truly Con. Party is if a well known, younger (not in his 70’s) Federal Politician moving back here and starting a Party, much like Kenney did in Alberta.
commented 2018-12-06 21:24:40 -0500
BC needs to start by stopping money laundering organized crime from China from buying up all the real estate and politicians.
commented 2018-12-06 20:21:13 -0500
“Stephen E. commented 1 hour ago
If proportional elections goes through, the federal Liberals will jump on this and put forth legislation to make this the way federal elections will be determined.”

Good. Trudeau promised electoral reform, and his failure to do so is one of his biggest failures.

Proportional means voting for a party, and the party decides which cronies get to be the “elected” representatives. Imagine a government made up mostly of Climate Barbie clones.
It also means that voting for a different party isn’t throwing your vote away, so you don’t have to be strategic and vote for the dud to prevent an even bigger dud from winning.

The conservatives tend not to like it because it puts an end to vote-splitting and minority-majorities, which is the only way they win (and would be powerless against the inevitable leftist coalition that would represent the larger segments of the electorate)
commented 2018-12-06 19:00:20 -0500
If proportional elections goes through, the federal Liberals will jump on this and put forth legislation to make this the way federal elections will be determined. The NDP will go with this, and the country will be further screwed and screwed up. It would also mean the Liberals would be forever the government of Canada.

Proportional means voting for a party, and the party decides which cronies get to be the “elected” representatives. Imagine a government made up mostly of Climate Barbie clones.

Add to that dumber than a rock Trudeau wants to give anyone living in Canada, not only citizens, the right to vote. A half a million illegals and refugee claimants would vote for the party that will let them stay no matter what while giving them free money; who do you think they will vote for? It would also mean that visiting students, someone on a work visa (as if that matters anymore) and the person who just crossed the border illegally last week gets a say on Canada. Our idiot PM also wants to give former Canadians the right to vote, so someone who has been living in Spain for the past thirty years will also be voting.

Yep, proportional elections is the slippery slope none of us should want.
commented 2018-12-06 17:51:13 -0500
to me proportional means death to democracy. why have elections-give every party the same number of seats. the hell with the electorate. surprised trudy hasn’t considered it. will the commies win again in bc. so sorry to say yup, because bc are run by dopes.
commented 2018-12-06 17:34:54 -0500
Its confusing. I don’t want more government. I didn’t vote for it. I didn’t consider the silver lining though. God knows we are dying for a conservative presence here.
commented 2018-12-06 16:28:31 -0500
Leftists in PropRep have a big advantage over non-socialist parties. The left is far more likely to form majority coalitions than free market parties can muster. Your facts about gov’t largess play that out. Europe is a prime example of leftist coalitions and high taxes.
In BC, it’s better to stick with First Past the Post. The BC Conservatives should seek a balance of power by focusing on strong conservative ridings where the chances of the NDP coming up the middle in a split right is unlikely. They’re “no-carbon tax” policy is very popular and should give them some seats in strong right-leaning ridings. (And they should also run in traditional NDP ridings to push their platform and maybe even win a few).
But they need a leader that can popularize the party and win seats. IMO, Choe Ellis should be elected leader (young, female, smart, vibrant).

This is her website for the last run at leader (which was controversial and challenged which resulted in an interim leader being appointed)