LETTER: How fair is Fair Referendum?

A letter to the editor by Patricia Spencer

To the editor:

I find it curious that an organization called Fair Referendum is already running ads opposed to B.C.’s referendum on Electoral Reform which will take place this fall.

One ad appears to make a personal attack on Attorney General David Eby in its title, “Is David Eby trying to manipulate you?” This type of personal attack is inappropriate. Moreover, there is no evidence of manipulation in the proposed ballot on electoral reform. Rather, it would seem that Fair Referendum is attempting to manipulate voters by running expensive ads that use fearmongering tactics.

I’m suspicious of an organization like Fair Referendum that seems to have deep enough pockets to run continuous, full-page ads in multiple newspapers across the province. Why is this organization using personal attacks and fear tactics to influence our votes?

The proposed ballot is clear and transparent and was reviewed by the Chief Electoral Officer of B.C. The first question asks the voter to choose between our present voting system, First Past the Post (FPTP), and Proportional Representation (PR). The second optional question asks the voter to choose his/ her preferred system of PR (three choices). If a person does not support PR, this part can be left blank.

Over the next few months, it will be vitally important for all British Columbians to have respectful and thoughtful discussions about the way we vote in B.C. We all need to inform ourselves about the differences between our current voting system (First Past the Post) and Proportional Representation. Elections BC will be providing some information. Fair Vote Kamloops (https://www.fairvote.ca/pr4bc/) provides a good comparison of the three PR systems on the B.C. ballot.

Over 80 per cent of countries, including most European countries, in the OECD use some form of Proportional Representation for their voting system. Our current FPTP system is based on a “winner take all principle,” and it tends to create false majorities in Parliament. In a PR system, the share of votes is equal to the number seats in the Legislature.

I urge everyone to give Proportional Representation a chance. It would strengthen our democracy because every vote would count.

Patricia Spencer

108 Mile Ranch

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