In his recent column, Tom Fletcher declares that he does not like any form of the proportional representation (PR) voting system, or the transitional taxpayer funding of political parties recently put in place by the new NDP government.
Based on his comments, you have to assume he prefers the current system of first-past-the-post (FPTP) and political contribution rules. So, Tom prefers the frequent FPTP result where less than 40 per cent of voters elect a government and declare a premier that completely dominates all decision-making.
Many FPTP advocates tout such governments as “stable”, but once elected, they are stable in a way similar to how current Russian and Chinese governments are “stable”. No dissent tolerated, one group makes all the decisions.
Today, in B.C., we have the NDP and the Greens, together representing 60 per cent of voters, actively discussing most initiatives. Even the BC Liberals get drawn into these discussions as the Greens and BC Liberals can defeat the NDP on any vote or on a non-confidence issue.
Wow, what a terrible “unstable” situation we have, all political parties actually debating issues and finding common ground for the betterment of all citizens!
On the funding side, we’ve seen what happens when private interests – business, unions, developers – dominate political funding and then in return, demand action on their specific issues. These private interests have dominated the provincial political agenda for years, and in Surrey, huge contributions from the development community have resulted in one party controlling all council seats for the last two elections. We’ve all witnessed the results.
In the U.S., 0.086 per cent of all voters – less than a tenth of a per cent – donate 50 per cent of all political funding. Worse, 2/100 of one per cent of voters contribute 15 per cent of all funding.
The recent changes to U.S. tax law, with huge benefits to the wealthy but opposed by 70 per cent of the population, are considered payback to this very small, but wealthy and influential percentage of the population.
Canada has stronger laws controlling political donations, but the tactics and results are similar.
Take a wild guess who doesn’t want these two systems to change; those parties and their followers that believe they can be elected under FPTP, and those who want to influence government.
No system is perfect, but, Tom, I’ll take my chances that PR results in better decisions that a greater percentage of the population supports, and I’m happy to contribute a few of my tax dollars to ensure that all political parties can be heard and not just those with wealthy backers.
Bob Campbell, Surrey