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“For too long our old, outdated voting system has led to polarization and extreme partisanship,” Premier John Horgan told the room.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

Surrey Community Leader Awards winners revealed

The 16th CLA awards, presented by the Now-Leader, recognized Surrey’s un-sung heroes

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

MPs meet with Surrey council to discuss RCMP, LRT

Federal government to have quarterly meetings with Surrey

Hogg curious if a new recreation centre is needed in Grandview Heights

South Surrey-White Rock MP to host a Town Hall Meeting tonight

Talent show: Cloverdale girl, 8, memorizes entire periodic table

Grade 4 student Maya Lakhanpal heads to B.C. talent show finals with unique talent

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read