05 February 2009

BC NDP and Electoral Reform - P4

Response received. Well, sort of, and perhaps more revealing than intended. None of the questions in my email were answered directly. Here is Carole James' short response, received today, the last sentence the most revealing:
Dear Chrystal Ocean,

As I wrote before, I think this crucial debate is too important to get mired in partisan politics, so I will not be commenting on STV prior to the referendum.

However, I am firmly committed to implementing STV if the referendum passes. And, if it does not pass, I remain committed to offering British Columbians the opportunity to vote on MMP.


Carole James, Leader
Official Opposition

My legitimate questions concerned what James' party would do about the following issues if it formed the government:
  • the STV referendum, should the result show a clear majority of voters in favour of the reform, but it falls short of the 60 percent threshold imposed by the Liberal government - a threshold supported by the opposition NDP. NB: We achieved 58 percent in favour of STV in 2005 and a majority in all but two of our (then) 79 ridings.
  • quoting James, the "open and democratic process" she would propose to follow "to work for an electoral system that is fair and balanced." I asked her if she would convene a new Citizens' Assembly followed by a referendum with a 60% threshold, or if she would move more directly towards implementing some version of MMP.

BC voters have a right to know the NDP's answers to these and other questions I asked in my follow-up email BEFORE we vote in the election and referendum. Waving the flag of false concern for "partisan politics" to weasel out of answering them doesn't cut it.

With James' final response above, let it be known that I'll not be voting for the NDP in May. I'll also be campaigning HARD to make other voters aware of the party's undemocratic position.

As has been recognized by other feminists and I have written elsewhere, electoral (and democratic) reform both provincially and nationally is the most pressing issue of our time. Without true democratic representation, issues of importance to voters, rather than issues of importance to those in power and their corporate backers, will continue to be ignored.

Recommend this post