22 April 2009

Anything the Irish Can Do, British Columbians Can Do Too

The following appears in today's print edition of the Cowichan NewsLeader. No online version of the original article is available.

Dear Editor:

After reading Patrick Hrushowy's column (STV will add to confusion of voting, government), I didn't know whether to laugh out loud or scream. I ended up doing both. How stupid does Hrushowy think British Columbians are?

No one arguing in support of the Single Transferable Vote (BC-STV) is claiming it will correct everything that is wrong with our politics and government. However, changing the way we elect our MLAs is one crucial, giant step. Unlike the current first-past-the-post voting system, BC-STV will encourage more co-operation among candidates, MLAs and parties and therefore produce a less fractious political atmosphere. That, in turn, could result in more work getting done to produce policy which aligns with the values of the voting majority, not those of a minority comprised of elite special interests.

Nor will BC-STV "force an over-empowering of fringe political parties." First, how many fringe parties does Hrushowy know that can run candidates in every electoral district and have the money to fund ambitious campaigns? Second, each candidate in a BC-STV electoral district must achieve a minimum number of votes to be elected. For example, if a total of 10,000 votes are cast in an electoral district for which four MLAs are to be chosen, each of the four winning candidates must receive at least 2,001 votes. That's a lot of votes for a fringe candidate to earn.

Finally, Hrushowy calls BC-STV "complicated" and decries the "mind bending confusion" that will befall us should we choose it over the status quo. The Irish have been using STV for almost 100 years. Is he suggesting that British Columbians can't do what the Irish can?

Chrystal Ocean

Recommend this post