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BC voted for PR

Though Mr. Honickman offers a somewhat balanced view of the matter, he is factually wrong on one point in his piece "The people need their say on proportional representation" (November 13, 2015 1:02 PM ET). I'd also debate him on a few more points.

"... British Columbia had a double referendum in 2005 and 2009. In each case, a clear choice was presented to the people and in each case, the end result was the same: over 60 per cent of the electorate voted to keep first-past-the-post". This is factually wrong. In 2005, BC citizens voted in favor of STV. The hypocrisy of the BC Liberal government at the time had set the threshold to 60%.

Mr. Honickman's cliam that a proportional voting system would "breathe new life into Quebec separatism" does not stand up to scrutiny. FPTP exaggerates the power of political parties that focus their votes on specific regions of the country. Because much more votes would count regardless of where voters live, geographic diversity would actually increase in all parties.

Unfortunately, no debate on proportionality is done without debating the usual spreading of fear, uncertainty and doubt about coalitions: "With proportional representation, we could see an endless stream of fractious coalitions that characterize countries like Italy and Greece". Since Italy reformed its voting system in the 1990s, Canada is actually now the most unstable of the major democracies, with twenty-one elections since World War II to Italy’s eighteen. Currently, most OECD countries use some form of PR system. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland all use proportional representation and they are all doing just fine.

500 Canadian Academics, including former Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, several Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, 29 Canada Research Chairs and two Professors with the Order of Canada, have signed an open letter by Professor Peter Russell, calling on all Parties to work together to implement a more proportional voting system.

It is also odd to argue that a referendum is required. Why should we let represented voters decide if unrepresented ones deserve representation? It's like asking men if women deserve the right to vote.

If we insist on having a referendum, then lets have one 16 years after the implementation of PR. Then voters will know what they are considering. In September 2007, a Strategic Counsel poll found that 47% of respondents knew nothing about the proposed Ontario reform, 41% were somewhat informed, while only 12% were informed.

If we could at least agree that we need a voting system that treats votes more equally or gives to more taxpayers their fair share in representation, then we could have a conversation about what voting system is best. Instead, advocates of equal and effective voting perpetually have to spend time correcting this kind of misinformation and fear.

In a democracy, the right to decide belongs to the majority. But the right of representation belongs to all.

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