Wednesday May 10, 2017
For immediate release
A majority of BC voters have voted for parties that support proportional representation, says Fair Vote Canada.
“The NDP and Greens will, together, have a majority of MLAs who ran on a platform commitment to electoral reform. We are very pleased at this broad support for making every vote count” says Terry Dance-Bennick, Co-chair of Fair Vote Canada’s Victoria Chapter.
“We call on the BC-NDP and BC Greens to form a governing coalition or accord, to ensure implementation of proportional representation by the next BC election in 2021” says Rick Habgood, also Co-Chair of FVC’s Victoria Chapter.
It makes no difference which big party has more seats than the other. In Ontario in 1985 the Progressive Conservatives had four more seats than the Liberals, but the Liberal-NDP Accord ousted the previous PC government.
FVC strongly urges the NDP and Greens to form a stable administration that will govern BC for the next four years. This will give the new government time to consult the public on the design of a PR model and, with public support, do whatever is needed to have the new voting system in place for the 2021 election.
It is up to those two parties to determine whether this will be a coalition or an accord as seen in other jurisdictions. For example, in New Zealand which uses proportional representation, many stable governments work for full terms under negotiated “confidence-and supply agreements,” while others are stable coalitions. Either way, the country is not saddled with one party holding unbridled power.
Fair Vote Canada congratulates the new government and the voters of British Columbia for demonstrating their commitment to equal, effective voting.
The BC-NDP garnered 40% of the popular vote. They have promised to hold a referendum on proportional representation and campaign strongly in favour of a yes vote.
“First-past-the-post – save for one election in 2001 – has always seen a minority group of votes get an absolute majority of the power. They call it seats but at the end of the day, it’s power. I believe power-sharing is best for our democracy and province, and that’s why I want to see proportional representation implemented,” John Horgan told Fair Vote Canada’s Victoria team in April 2017.
17% of British Columbia voters chose the Green Party, which promised to implement a proportional system for 2021, meaning a strong majority of BC voters chose parties committed to electoral reform.
Andrew Weaver told Fair Vote Canada in April: “I’d love to work with the NDP to assure we can get a system we can both get behind. The fact is we need PR and we need to work together to find the best form. Having a form of PR is better than having no PR at all.”
“John Horgan and Andrew Weaver both promised to bring in proportional representation by 2021 in a video-taped interview with Fair Vote Canada’s Victoria chapter in March. They also pledged to work together to achieve this long-awaited goal in BC. It’s our third time up to bat and voters are ready for a home run. BC can now lead the country by ending our undemocratic first-past-the-post voting system,” says Terry Dance-Bennink, co-chair, FVC Victoria.
Across the province:
88% of Green Party Voters couldn’t elect a representative
40% of NDP voters couldn’t elect a representative
100% of Conservative Voters couldn’t elect a representative
42% of Liberal Voters couldn’t elect a representative
With proportional representation, over 97% of voters would an elect an MLA from the party of their choice, and policies would be passed by governments reflecting a genuine majority of BC voters.
Under a Proportional system the seat count would be:
Liberals 37, NDP 35, Greens 15 (not including minor parties receiving less than 3% of the votes).
“British Columbia voters are ready to see their votes reflected in the legislature. They are ready for more collaborative decision-making on issues critical to the future of BC, says Fair Vote Canada Executive Director Kelly Carmichael. “As the government moves forward with its agenda, we urge John Horgan and the BC-NDP to get down to work with citizens, experts and groups such as Fair Vote Canada to make its electoral reform promise a top priority.”
Fair Vote Canada is a multi-partisan, National citizens’ campaign representing almost 70,000 Canadians advocating for voting system reform. FVC promotes an introduction of an element of proportional representation in elections at all levels of government and in civil society.