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“For too long our old, outdated voting system has led to polarization and extreme partisanship,” Premier John Horgan told the room.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

Cubetto teaches kids the building blocks of coding

Fraser Valley Regional Library’s wooden robot coming to Maple Ridge in May

Toothpick speech a Toastmasters win for Pitt man

Stefano Cossalter won the district-level contest.

Along the Fraser: Concerns kokanee smolts left high, dry

Low water level at Alouette Lake due to cold, dry weather.

A Maple Ridge family’s quest to help youth by the dozen

The Garretts are selling eggs with profits going to Foundry Ridge Meadows

ARMS worried about low lake level

Fears thousands of kokanee smolts could be lost.

Parliament Hill 4-20 organizers predict record crowd after legalization

A celebration? Yes, but organizers say concerns remain about the government’s decisions on legalization rollout

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

VIDEO: Giants draw first blood in Western Conference championships

In Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between Vancouver and Spokane, the G-Men emerged triumphant

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, multiple people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Most Read