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“For too long our old, outdated voting system has led to polarization and extreme partisanship,” Premier John Horgan told the room.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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Okanagan Mascot Games returning to Penticton this July

HarVee and the Vancouver Canucks’ Fin are among the 24 mascots coming to the South Okanagan

Interior Health appoints administrator at Summerland Seniors Village

Numerous concerns raised about private seniors care facility

Penticton seeking additional downtown input on potential cycling routes

The City has narrowed down the choices to two options and wants public input before deciding

Breaking: Penticton woman pleads guilty to manslaughter of boyfriend

Kiera Bourque pleaded guilty in a Penticton courtroom on Monday

Long-time winemaker retires after 14 years in Oliver

Robert Summers joined the Hester Creek Estate Winery team in 2006.

Okanagan rescue team comes back home from Australian mission

Brad Pattison’s team spent 33 days rescuing wildlife

Kelowna mayor to request RCMP’s ‘unfounded’ sexual assault report

RCMP said the report was completed over a month ago but have yet to release it or make a statement

Criminality not suspected in Ellison trailer fire death

The body was discovered after crews responded to reports of a house fire

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Kelowna youth accused of killing 16-year-old released

The young woman was arrested on Feb. 21 and is facing one charge of manslaughter

Man arrested following suspicious trailer fire in Kelowna

Reports came in about the fire at approximately 11:45 a.m. on Monday morning

Body discovered following vehicle fire on Kelowna property

Firefighters discovered a body in a home on Anderson Road

‘Please be quiet,’ Kelowna Mayor tells sexual assault survivor protesting in council chambers

Forty per cent of sexual assaults reported to Kelowna RCMP in 2019 were deemed ‘unfounded’

Salmon Arm boy is only Para-Nordic athlete at BC Winter games

Thirteen-year-old Kaden Baum competed in three races on his sit-ski at the games.

Most Read