Trudeau clearly promised that this would be the last “first-past-the-post” election.
It didn’t appear that the Liberal Party had given it much thought though, because it took them a long time to make a move on it.
They finally set up a committee whereby the Liberals had the majority of the votes and the Green and Bloc members didn’t even get a vote! That sure didn’t go unnoticed and I have to give Trudeau kudos for realizing it real fast and fixing it up nicely- the two left-out parties got the vote and the Liberals relinquished their majority.
But now the Conservatives are throwing a wrench into the works by demanding a referendum. It’s too soon for a referendum. We need some discussion on the various systems out there and what would work for us. We need two or three other options as well as first-past-the-post. Then we need a referendum on what system we prefer.
When we had our first referendum in B.C. in 2005 we were given no options and very little information on the one system we were offered. It was a straight yes or no question. I have a big file on this system. I really wanted a change and my daughter and I would discuss it every time we talked on the phone and we both went back and forth – yes, no.
I finally voted no and here’s why.
There were going to be fewer constituencies across B.C. and they were going to get a whole lot bigger but the government hadn’t yet clearly defined the boundaries. Each party could run more than one candidate. The thought was that each constituency would have a team representing them. There were four parties then so that could mean that during an election period there could be as many as 16 candidates all running around trying to get our attention. And at the end of it all, we could end up with four MLAs from Kelowna representing us in the legislature.
I wanted a new system but not that one.
The next referendum in 2009 was a slap in the face. We were offered the same system, implying that maybe we had come to our senses — 60.9 per cent voted no to their offer.
I don’t know how much I trust our federal government to give us some options but if people squawk loud enough like they did when the government tried to fix the committee in their favour, it’s possible that they will do this right and give us a real choice.