CSU has switched from first-past-the-post to proportional representation for its election of at-large representatives. They will be using Single Transferable Vote (PR-STV), the proportional system recommended in 2005 by the BC Citizens’ Assembly.

In September, 2018, CSU adopted an official policy in favour of proportional representation. A summary of the reason for their policy states:

“The Capilano Students’ Union supports a move to a proportional representation system of elections provincially. The current system, known as FPTP, consistently results in vote totals being wildly inconsistent with the number of seats won. This exists at the individual riding level, within individual sub-regions, such as Capilano University’s own North Shore, and in the province as a whole. The CSU believes that the number of seats that a party is allotted in the legislature should be roughly similar to the percentage of the vote that they receive, ensuring that representative democracy is truly representative of the electorate, and further, that voters should not feel like their vote will not have an impact because of the region they live in.”

Now they’re putting their principles into action.

CSU President Emily Bridge notes:

“We’ve long advocated for the province to get rid of First Past the Post in favour of a truly representative system that can allow all voices to be heard. We believe that everybody’s vote deserves to be counted and systems of proportional representation are the best way to ensure that happens.”

Single Transferable Vote is an easy way for civil society organizations to make their boards more representative of the diversity of their members. In addition to CSU, Wilfred Laurier University’s student union, University of Toronto’s student union, Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association, Waterloo Region Car Share and Fair Vote Canada use STV.

The latest Angus Reid poll shows 72% of voters 18-34 in favour of PR.

“Adopting a proportional system for student councils is important to avoid slates that represent a single ideological perspective from dominating student bodies,” says FVC President Réal Lavergne. “It’s encouraging to see student bodies doing better to ensure the proportional representation of different views than our provincial and federal legislatures.” 

Student unions, credit unions and other civil society board considering switching to PR-STV for their own elections can find more information at https://www.fairvote.ca/prforboardelections/.

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