In a recent letter to the editor, Willow Arune of Prince George asks: “To be PR or first-past-the-post. Is that really the question?”
Willow is but one of several people that have suggested there are more important or effective reforms that need to be undertaken regarding our electoral system.
Such suggestions include: mandatory voting and making MLAs more accountable to the people and less to power brokers, being less adversarial, etc.
These suggestions seem to speak to low voter turnout and are offered as ways to increase said turnout.
Along with taking big money out of politics, I suggest that proportional representation (PR) is a second step to transforming our system into one that is more representational of voters.
Diverse viewpoints (under PR) will challenge the dictatorial aspects of politics under FPTP. By having more viewpoints represented in the legislature we have less voter disenchantment and less likelihood of “fringe” or “right-wing extremists” getting votes.
This tends to translate into increased voter satisfaction and turnout.
I would suggest that mandatory voting is less of a factor under PR as voter turnout is usually higher (+/- 10 pts).
Mandatory voting could be considered a third reform that can be taken up later.
To sum up, PR is what is in front of us right now and offers the most comprehensive reform to our voting system and to our democracy. Vote Yes to PR!