For the past many years we have used the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system which I think is very much outdated. It was created in the U.K. centuries ago when there were only two political parties, Whigs and Tories – Liberals and Conservatives.
In today’s electoral system, there are three main parties and a few others. This allows what we know as a false majority. The vote could conceivably break down to 33/33/34 per cent, so that the party with 34 per cent of the vote would have a majority of seats – thus all the power.
Majority governments do not need to consult with the other members of the assembly because they have all the votes they need to pass legislation.
But they are not true majority governments. In the last four majority governments of B.C., over 60 per cent did not vote for that majority. This unbalance of power leads to polarization and inefficient governing. One party finishes a file, then the next government may throw it all out because it is not in their interest.
This has got to stop before we get into a situation like the U.S., where they limp from government to government and basically get nothing done.
Proportional representation (PR) is the answer.
There are only three western countries who still use FPTP – that is, U.S., U.K. and Canada. Are all the others wrong?
Opponents will say it leads to many parties and coalitions. Is this bad? Germany seems to be doing alright. The Scandinavian countries have a better standard of living than us, and they use PR. Are they crazy? I think we are crazy to let the status quo stand for as many years as it has.
Let’s get governments that are made up of all sides of the political spectrum, like the citizenry and get legislation that is best for the people not parties.
Third World countries have the problem of corruption; we have the same problem but call it lobbying.
Laurence Gill, Surrey