BC Election Update:
Although the recent election is still playing itself out, the following things are clear:
- A clear majority of BC voters supported parties promising action on voting reform and campaign financing
- Barely half the voters have an MLA they voted for; the other half of voters were ignored
- Our current voting system is pathologically hypersensitive – currently, only 9 votes separate us from a majority government opposed to treating all voters equally. With 160,000 absentee ballots still to count (almost 2000 per riding), the outcome is still completely up in the air.
- Our current voting system exaggerates regional differences. Are there really no NDP supporters in the Interior or the eastern Fraser Valley, no Liberal supporters on most of Vancouver Island or much of the inner suburbs of Vancouver, and no Green supporters outside SE Vancouver Island? Of course not!
While we wait to see whether the NDP and Green Party are able to follow through on their expressed commitment to govern together and implement a referendum on voting reform, we encourage you to check out our Charter Challenge website and make a pledge to help us challenge the constitutionality of this voting system that denies effective representation to half the voters. Thanks to our amazing supporters, we now have over $140,000 in pledges and are now asking pledgers to convert those pledges into (tax-deductible) donations. So far, we have received over $35,000 and are proceeding to retain a lawyer to get things going. We’ll need another $100,000 or so to get through trial, though, so please consider helping us out!
PS: Thanks to our friends at 123 Vancouver for collecting commitments from re-elected MLAs Sam Sullivan (Lib), David Eby (NDP) and Spencer Chandra Herbert (NDP) to support Vancouver’s call for power to choose its own voting system. Time to start reminding these MLAs of their promise!
“Each citizen is entitled to be represented in government”
– Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, explaining what our Charter right to vote means
Justice McLachlin once said “the Canadian tradition [is] one of evolutionary democracy moving in uneven steps toward the goal of universal suffrage and more effective representation”. But right now, our current voting system denies over half our fellow citizens a voice in Parliament – including Liberal supporters on the Prairies, Conservative supporters in downtown Toronto, NDP supporters in Atlantic Canada or Green Party supporters just about anywhere.
And just as we now all recognize that it was never right that women should ever have been denied the vote, it is increasingly apparent that it’s not right to exclude half the voters. After all, as McLachlin also said, the purpose of our Charter right to vote “cannot be less than to guarantee to citizens their full democratic rights in the government of the country”.
We invite you to read the sections below to learn more about why change is needed, what the main options for change are, and how you can contribute to the government’s current reform process.