BC’s election reform, here soon?
The next few weeks in BC will impact our Quebec voting system. The CAQ, our new government, has pledged election reform; Premier Legault promised a proposal for reform before the end of his first year. BC is doing the same thing, election reform, but much sooner, and BC’s experience could easily influence our own – what we are offered as alternatives to first-past-the-post and how the choice will be presented to us.
This last point is essential: how the choice of election reform is presented. Previous attempts at change have faced over-whelming opposition in the corporate media, at the service of its financial backers. Basically, opponents to change have frightened voters by insisting the choices and the resulting system are much too complicated for us ordinary folks to understand. Better to stick with the system we know. Opponents trot out examples of hung parliaments, as if this proves their point. They fail to mention that most democracies do not use the First/post system, nor that these governments operate smoothly.
In any discussion of reform we have to remind ourselves that we do have brains and can figure out something much of the world already uses. We will not be frightened by corporate media – or by troll-farms.
It is the CAQ’s early days, and we do not know what they will propose, but it is also important – along with our determination not to be frightened off – that the public be given the choice. Our people are intelligent. We are capable to figuring out the best of two or three alternatives. To suggest otherwise is hypocritical. The choice of new voting methods, a new system, should be left with the voters, not politicians. Voters are the ones who will use it to express their wishes.
The problems with the present system, winner-take-all, is that we end up with legislatures which do not reflect the will of the voting population. The old system gives us majority governments, usually, who have near-absolute rule without representing more than 38-40% of voters. A “false majority”. The idea is to use the political wishes of the entire voting population, not just the goals of those who happened to have voted with the winners. We want our wishes respected, all our wishes. So if Party X gets only 40% of the vote, Party X will have about 40% of the legislative seats.
Let’s wait until we see the CAQ’s proposal before we look at details. Meantime, we can absorb the BC arguments and decide if they fit Quebec’s reality. We can also insist that media fear-mongering and insulting claims that ordinary people cannot make a choice or cannot understand a reform be rejected. If someone tells us the details or the consequences of a reform are too complicated to sort out, we note that they are trying to hoodwink us into refusing change.
BC’s mail-in vote on election reform is November 30.