30 April 2009

STV a Logical Step in Evolution of Democracy

The following was sent off to the editors of the Victoria Times-Colonist, the Cowichan Valley Citizen and the Cowichan NewsLeader. Whether it will get published to those media outlets, we don't know.* In the meantime, here it is, written from the perspective of an Irish-Canadian unassociated with the BC-STV campaign.


STV or Proportional Representation (PR) is just another logical step in the evolution of democracy and in historical terms, will be viewed much like allowing women the vote or the reduction of the voting age to eighteen.

If one looks at the newly emerging democracies around the world - South Africa, the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies, Hungary and many other countries - this progression is clearly evident.

It is greatly to the credit of the current BC legislature that they have agreed to revisit the work of the Citizens' Assembly that brought forward this suggested system and it is a historic opportunity that we as voters should use to vote a resounding Yes to.

I grew up under a PR system in Ireland and saw first hand how this was a more democratic system. One did not have to "hold your nose" and vote for the better of two bad choices or risk wasting your vote. In Ireland it has also given small or new parties a voice. For example, the Greens currently hold the balance of power in Government; a historical first.

With this system you can vote your conscience first and your next best choice can be a candidate you can live with.

Under larger ridings you will always have a representative in government to work for your region and interests and on whose door you can knock, unlike today where you may not have a MLA for 20 or more years.


Frank Ryan


* We have noticed a huge disparity between the number of unique online comments pro-STV vs. those pro-FPTP. The latter often try to fill out their numbers by numerous comments by the same person. Still STV supporters outnumber the FPTP camp by at least six times. Whereas in print it's consistently one letter published for STV, another published against STV. Thus, British Columbians aren't getting a sense, at least through their print media, of the support for STV on the ground.

The other side rarely 'fesses up to the fact that essentially they're backing the status quo. Yet there are TWO electoral systems on the referendum ballot: FPTP and STV, not NOT STV and STV.

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