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Civic Elections Prove First-Past-the-Post Works!

October 26th, 2018 · 36 Comments

An impressive province-wide result of BC’s civic elections was the degree of change we all witnessed: new mayors, new councillors, new parties with new ideas winning new popular support, new school board and new park board commissioners, and many new political results, rankings, rises … and falls.

Think about it: isn’t that PROOF POSITIVE that first-past-the-post voting works???

Even small, previously unheard of party organizations … and individuals … found themselves winning seats and a say in their communities’ future.

Living in Vancouver, I could not help but notice the MAJOR changes the voters opted for … substantially changing the political face of city governance for the next four years.

Amazingly,  in Vancouver,  an INDEPENDENT was elected as Mayor! The party that controlled/dominated the Mayoralty,  Council, the city’s various boards and for 10 years the city’s direction/ideology/policies … Vision … was almost obliterated; the NPA winning 5 seats on Council, the Greens capturing 3; COPE 1 and a new party, One City 1 seat. The park and school boards also saw similar CHANGES.

In other municipalities as well, other incumbent politicians were toppled; new leaders and representatives were given chances to govern and set policies, agendas, directions.

ALL under the first-past-the-post  electoral system: those who received THE MOST VOTES for the number of positions available WON!!!

Simple … and clearly effective!

No convoluted handing out of legislative seats via party lists; no complicated mathematical vote weighting system that few understand; no fears that people allocated seats through votes in other parts of the province can have powers/impact the balance of power, affecting you; and, no unbalances, where some ridings will have one MLA and others two (never tried before in any democracy anywhere in the world).

First-past-the-post … contrary to the propaganda put forward by those pushing the complicated, potentially blackmail-encouraging balance of power proportional systems … does give smaller parties and even independents a better chance of achieving victories and even power.

Just look at the BC civic election results only a week ago!

Harv Oberfeld

(This vote is important. I hope readers will pass this blog on …  http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/civic-elections-prove-first-past-the-post-works/ ….  for others to read before they cast their ballots. h.o)

Tags: British Columbia

36 responses so far ↓

  • 1 e.a.f. // Oct 26, 2018 at 11:54 am

    First past the post works from my perspective, because Dave Barrett was elected as the first NDP Premier of the province. Jack Layton got the NDP to Official Opposition status. If a party works hard enough, they will eventually get there, if they have a message which resonates with the electorate.

    Elizabeth May finally found a riding and has been an M.P. for some years now. It may take a long time, but eventually the Greens, on a national basis, will get there. Too many wrong turns by other parties and she could make it to Official Opposition leader. Had Layton not died when he did, he might have made it to P.M.

    Personally I want to elect the representative for my area, Not some one from another area. Now it maybe my area representative won’t vote the way I want them to, but then its up to me to get rid of them and I know that can be done, with a little/lot of help from another political party.

    What I would like to see if a run off system, if an elected representative doesn’t achieve 50% of the votes. This is the one way, in my opinion, that politicians will be less likely to adhere to the party line, if it isn’t going to work for the people they represent.

    No one would be elected with e.g. 35% of the votes. there would have to be a run off and that would enable voters to have a second look. If I can’t have the red one, I might want the Green one or if I can’t have the Green one, I’ll go with the Blue one. Whomever gets elected will know they had 35% but to get over the top they had to pick up those other votes along the way and they will keep that in mind when they vote on legislation.

    The civic elections demonstrated people who had a message which resonated with the electorate, got elected. Surrey was rather amazing, how the various groups came together to elect who they did. In Burnaby, the Mayor went but his council stayed. Vancouver, a rather interesting mix. It looks a bit more like it did back in the day, way back in the day. Jean Swanson made it on to council, just as Bruce Erikson did back in the day. There is something in the city of Vancouver, which has people voting for some one who represents people outside of the main stream, because of the lack of money. It went away, and now its back.

    In Comox, the incumbent mayor lost to a much younger councillor. The demographics in a city/town change, so must the politicians.

    After years of dysfunction, Nanaimo may have a less dysfunctional council.

    (Response: The runoff system was touted on this blog earlier this month … http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/no-to-proportional-chaos-blackmail-theres-a-better-solution/ It could work, guaranteeing the 50% target for anyone elected. But first comes the referendum …and I’m hoping voters will reject the convoluted proposals offered there. h.o)

  • 2 DBW // Oct 26, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Harvey I know there is no way to convince you that Pro Rep is superior to first past the post So I won’t bother.

    But I will point out the flaws in your defense of FPTP.

    1. using municipal elections is not a fair comparison. The parliamentary system doesn’t apply here. There are no ridings etc.

    2. Political parties outside of Vancouver and Montreal are rarely a factor in municipal elections. Pro Rep addresses the imbalance of giving 100 % power to political parties that receive 40% of the vote. That is not an issue here.

    3. Using the Vancouver election is not the best example either. The new mayor received 28.7% of the vote. Hardly a mandate. Second was 28.1%. Third was 20%. 24% was scattered among the other dozen plus candidates. Who knows what a preferential ballot would have given Vancouver.

    4. Using the results of one year is not a great method either. I am too lazy to research the last three Vision victories in Vancouver but I am wondering how Vancouver Council might have been different if some kind of Pro Rep system had been in place. (STV can work really well in municipal elections.)

    Trying to keep it real.

    (Response: I appreciate the difference between civic elections and provincial/federal votes. However I believe the voting principle is the same as FPTP: those who received the MOST votes WIN … many of those who did not win still received votes and in the case of Vancouver, where I vote, Green supporters could argue they should get extra seats under p.r. because otherwise some of their party support “did not count”… etc. P.R. is simply not necessary, far too complicated, far too divisive for today’s society; gives far too much power to small parties, and certainly would makes things much more difficult and unfair for aspiring independents that f.p.t.p. h.o.)

  • 3 Gene The Bean // Oct 26, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Civic Elections Prove First-Past-the-Post Works!

    If you mean that the appropriate number of people were elected than yes, it works. Total red herring to compare municipal to provincial or federal elections. Comment #2 contains my sentiments in a very well constructed format so lets just stick with that.

    Those in my household all received their PR voting packages today and we will all be voting for a system that is fair to everyone and represents the wishes of the majority, not the wishes of the monied. The Excited States of Trumpistan, Great Britain, India and a handful of African nations are the ONLY ones still using FPTP. Everyone else has already smartened up. Just let that sink in.

    For the constant whining, complaining and bitching about politicians here and just about everywhere else, I’ll say it one more time – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. So put up or shut up.

    I think it is a toss up. Some voters are afraid (like Harvey) of fringe groups, some are afraid of any kind of change in their grey lives, some are afraid of losing their entitlements and privilege, some voters are just morons and then there are people that can see that FPTP no longer represents real democracy and is an abject moral failure at every level. FPTP has morphed into a corrupt system where billionaires, corporations and “news networks” buy their candidate an “elected” position. The electorate, you and me, are being played. Some of you seem ok with that, I’m not. I get it why the Trumpastani’s don’t want it – but normal people…? You are better than that. Evolution provided you with a very large brain – use it.

    (Response” “Handful”? Wikipedia lists 60 nations still using FPTP. And it points out: ” The benefits of FPTP are that its concept is easy to understand, and ballots can more easily be counted and processed than in preferential voting systems.
    First past the post has the tendency to produce majority rule[5] allows a government to pursue a consistent strategy for its term in office and to make decisions that may have socially beneficial outcomes, but be unpopular.
    Tony Blair, defending FPTP, argued that other systems give small parties the balance of power, and influence disproportionate to their votes.” Exactly! h.o.)
    Allowing people into the UK parliament who did not finish first in their constituency was described by David Cameron as creating a “Parliament full of second-choices who no one really wanted but didn’t really object to either.”[7] Winston Churchill criticised the electoral outcomes of the alternative vote as “determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates.”[8]
    Supporters also argue that electoral systems using proportional representation (PR) often enable smaller parties to become decisive in Parliament, thus gaining a power of leverage against the Government. FPTP generally reduces this likelihood, except where parties have a strong regional basis

  • 4 BMCQ // Oct 26, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    I find it very interesting and telling that some here refer to and claim that ‘Only a Handful of Nations still use FPTP”. Of course I am 100% certain that statement is a simple mistake and there was no intent to mislead the “Chattering Classes”, Correct?

    On the other hand comparing the number 60 to the number of feet on a Swarm of Centipedes the number 60 itself is really not all that much, correct.

    I agree with the Blog Analysis by Harvey, it just makes sense to me.

    DBW makes a good argument and I believe many might be convinced by his efforts on this, the NDP Spin Masters of Horgan, Meggs, Eby, and Weaver would more than likely benefit from his work on this.

    Having said that the Province needs to do something about the numbers of Candidates Running in any Municipality.

    We need to demand a $5 K Deposit and it is not refundable unless the Candidates attract at least 5% of Votes Cast in any given Election, we need this cleaned up. We do not need Dogs, Cats, and Super Woman Running for Mayor.

    We also need to find a way to increase turn out.
    Only my opinion with Harvey’s suggestion but we need to Vote Down the Trick Question Eby PR then we need an Honest Bi Partisan Panel to discuss Run Offs for the Future.

    The Run Off Question WILL NOT be a Confusing Trick Question and it will be set by a retired Panel of 3 Judges.

    The Question will then be held on the same Ballot as the next Provincial ?Election 3 years from now, NO silly and juvenile Mail In Ballot, That should be Left for Prize Winning Coupons, not for deciding how a Province should be run.

    Elections are far too important to be decided by only a fraction of Eligible Voters and that is exactly what we will get with the Eby Mail In Ballot.

    A travesty of justice.

    (Response: Runoffs would be the BEST way to ensure the winner has at least 50% of the votes cast…and a lot less dangerous than p.r,, which could give far too much power …and even control …to one or two smaller parties. As for charging candidates to file … I agree: too many people can now run just as a joke or a fantasy, and I believe that if those who conduct elections made the requirements more serious, the voters might take it more seriously also and hopefully take more of an interest and turn out to vote. h.o.)

  • 5 13 // Oct 26, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Trumpisstaniana ? I have not received my biased, poorly conceived, Weaver pay off, sleazily worded, underhandedly drafted, one sided, piece of Eby/ Horgan last gasp power grabbing Ballot. In my house the only vote I can guarantee will be my own. I suspect my wife will vote to keep fptp. I hope my 3 adult sons vote to keep fptp.
    My biggest concern right now is the slow start from the just say NO to pro rep side . I think that most of the province will not vote. I think that the postal dispute will affect the outcome. I think that many that do vote will do so armed with no knowledge of what they are voting to change. The current FPTP is pretty simple to explain the 3 choices are confusing even to those of us that have some interest in the process. I hope that the NO to pro rep side manages to get a few more out to vote.
    My union ( only because I have no choice) has sent me another piece of propaganda telling me how to vote.
    So the NO side is up against 1000s of government employees, private sector unions, the incumbent government, a bare majority of 50 plus one, and no minimum voter turn out. EBYs treachery will not be easy to beat.

  • 6 Richard Skelly // Oct 26, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    I’m inclined to stick with the status ‘First-Past-The-Post’ quo. But even if some form of proportional representation gets adopted, I’m unsure if it would apply to civic/municipal elections.

    Probably just my crotchetiness, but all the prop-rep models on offer seem intellectually unwieldy. My cousin-in-law claims I’d probably be on board if single-transferable ballot was one of the proposals.

    I just fear that, over time, it will lead to pizza parliaments–especially featuring single-issue right wing parties that (in my view) have resulted in Israel forfeiting its favourable reputation in much of the Western world as Likud has formed perma-links with misogynist, Orthodox and virulently anti-Arab parties.

    Meanwhile, Germany couldn’t form a coalition government for several months to liaise with Chancellor Merkel. Just wait til there’s even more alt-right German nationalist parties with sitting members.

    I’m intrigued with the s0-called Proportional Representation Fact Checker giving guidance to bewildered British Columbians. It rates as False the notion that Fringe parties could get seats due to the 5 percent popular-vote threshold. Yet it rates as very close to Mixed True that Extremist parties might get representation.

    I always thought one person’s fringe party was another’s extremist movement. But the Fact Checker seems to imply that an Extremist party is ipso facto better organized than a Fringe…and thus more likely to garner more than 5 percent of total provincial votes cast.

    To be fair, the Fact Checker notes that arguably extremist leaders like Donald Trump and Doug Ford have prospered under conventional voting formats. (Sadly, for Hillary Clinton, she would be President if the United States had a truly first-past-the-post for who sits in the White House.)

    (Response: You’re absolutely right about p.r. leading to many minor parties … even some extreme … that might be needed to form coalitions that give even a major party enough seats to form a government. The Greens control over the NDP are a gentler example of that power being wielded; but imagine if (and over many decades, as Europe is ow showing, politics CAN shift quite a lot) a more extreme party …left or right …wielded that power. No improvement now being touted is worth opening up that potentially disastrous can of worms. h.o.)

  • 7 DBW // Oct 26, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Just to keep it real.

    Yes, there are 60 countries that use FPTP but almost all of them are small island nations (Bermuda, Tonga etc) or African nations (Ghana, Uganda etc). Not that that matters at all except that they like Canada, the US and India are all former colonies of Great Britain.

    And of course that doesn’t matter because it is the pros and cons of the systems we are voting on not which countries use them. Although it is interesting to note that the vast majority of the major democracies use Pro Rep.

    Harvey you quoted from a Wikipedia article the benefits of FPTP but you failed to go beyond that single paragraph and quote the several paragraphs that discuss the problems with FPTP.

    Like

    Tactical Voting. There have been times when I might have voted for a third party but I didn’t want to waste my vote.

    Wasted Votes. Not just with tactical voting but in many ridings the seat is so safe that all votes to the losing side are wasted. In those cases there is no point in showing up. We talk about wanting more voter turn out yet we are more than willing to suppress voters with FPTP.

    Gerrymandering. In FPTP there is more incentive to gerrymander because of the winner take all outcome.

    Distorted Outcomes based on geography. Entire regions of our province or the country are devoid of more than one party. Much of the interior is represented by the Liberals. I don’t think there is a Liberal MLA from Vancouver Island. It is not just individual ridings where voters don’t have representation; it is entire regions.

    Which can lead to governments not paying attention to certain regions because the votes aren’t there.

    And of course there will be false majorities where parities have 100% of the power with less than 40% of the vote.

    Not expecting to change your mind Harvey but there are very legitimate reasons for supporting Pro Rep.

    (Response: “Small island nations”??? How about the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, Austria, India? As for your point earlier that the civic elections are not related to p.r. , have a read: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/proportional-representation-advocate-calls-for-ranked-ballot-system-for-vancouver/ar-BBOY0xj. There it is …p.r. would open a can of worms and result in tiny powers wielding major power to blackmail those with more votes who still need their support to pass laws or bylaws … an unbalanced system we simply do not need. h.o.)

  • 8 Thresher // Oct 26, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    Your analysis makes no sense, Harvey.

    As DBW pointed out, I don’t think you can find a mayor or councillor who actually got 50% of the vote.

    Kennedy Stewart is not some unknown independent; he is part of the NDP machine. Those lesser known parties got one or two people elected only because Vision fell apart.

    When you have many candidates running for several positions, it is not at all analogous to having 2 or 3 candidates running for 1 position as is typical when electing MLAs or MPs. The 21% that voted for Shauna Sylvester likely feel that there votes counted for nothing in the end.

    Prop Rep will make eveyone’s vote have more weight; plain and simple.

    (Response: Not so fast… read the following article: there are already calls for a ranked ballot in CIVIC elections in Vancouver!!! Here’s the thin edge of the wedge: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/proportional-representation-advocate-calls-for-ranked-ballot-system-for-vancouver/ar-BBOY0xj. The better solution, when no one gets 50%, is a RUNOFF for the top two candidates … just a few weeks later. We can afford it and that would allow much greater participation, without opening up the tiny party blackmail provisions inherent in p.r. systems h.o.)

  • 9 nonconfidencevote // Oct 27, 2018 at 8:53 am

    I noticed the (always leaning Left) CBC 6pm “News” spent about 5 minutes promoting the “proprotional rep” agenda the other night….

    Thats enough to make me vote for FPTP……
    The quote from Churchhill was excellent and bares(bears?) repeating,
    “criticised the electoral outcomes of the alternative vote as “determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates.”[8]

  • 10 Hawgwash // Oct 27, 2018 at 9:57 am

    When electing a mayor, in 2018, first past the post worked very well in my small town of +/-8,000 voters and the reason it worked well is because there were only two candidates.

    With a voter turnout of 51% the system clearly worked for the people.
    Candidate 1, the incumbent mayor, received 929 votes. 20%
    Candidate 2, the challenger, received 3740 votes. 80%.

    Contrast that with 2014, where the same two ran PLUS three others and FPTP failed.
    Candidate 1 from above, 1312 votes. 34%.
    Candidate 2 from above, 1180 votes. 30%.
    Candidate 3, 706 votes. 18%
    Candidate 4, 674 votes. 17%
    Candidate 5, 15 votes. .03%

    Candidate 1 had name recognition from the previous council. Who knows what a runoff system would have done. I can guess.

    What followed the 2014 vote was a six member council split right down the middle on most issues and votes, with the mayor constantly being the tie breaker. This resulted in four years of dysfunction which saw abuse of bylaws, variances, borrowing, spending and conflicts with neighbouring local governments.

    The people were the overwhelming winners in 2018 and the seriously spanked mayor has gone on the record saying he believed there was something wrong with the “gulf” in votes and would be asking Elections BC to investigate.
    ——————-
    Two other things;
    Kennedy Stewart is an NDPer and only an Independent by self naming in this instance.
    A large number of incumbent mayors and councillors did not run, so the idea that so many were tossed was/is not keeping it real.

  • 11 DBW // Oct 27, 2018 at 11:45 am

    I realize that it is pointless to even try to convince you otherwise, but facts do matter.

    You appear to be trying to gain debating points by questioning my small islands and African nations comment.

    Can’t swear to this as I did it in a hurry, but of the 61 countries using FPTP, 25 of them are small island nations mostly former British colonies in the Caribbean and South Pacific. 14 of them are small African countries. Of the 22 remaining we have places like the Philippines, Oman, Yemen, Bangladesh, Pakistan.

    What we have left is the handful of countries that you listed UK Canada US and India. The UK right now is in a minority situation with the Conservatives being supported by the fifth largest party in the Commons the Democratic Union Party who I would argue are a bit on the extreme side.

    The United States one of the few countries where FPTP actually should work (2 party system) they are completely divided because of the total bipartisanship that has occurred.

    Even in Canada we have a false majority where the Liberals have compete control of parliament with 40% of the vote much to the chagrin of Pro Rep opponents like 13 and BMCQ.

    But all that aside Harvey, I said that it didn’t matter which countries used which system. We are debating the pros and cons of PR and FPTP. I noticed that you didn’t address any of the points I made about tactical voting, wasted votes, voter apathy, regional disparity on top of the almost always false majorities.

    Instead you told me to read an article that somehow made your point. I agree with the article. There are better ways of electing our municipal mayors and council than we presently. use.

    (Response: No vote is “wasted” under fptp: every vote counts in determining who wins and … horrors …who LOSES! Yes, people actually LOSE in elections: get over that. This idea that everyone’s vote must count reminds me of the extreme left politically correct farce we see in some primary schools where if some students gets a “star” for really doing well , EVERY student must get one…so no one feels like a loser. People have to grow up: I have often in my life voted for people who have lost, supporting them on principle even though I knew they would not likely win; I NEVER felt my vote was “wasted” … and I haven’t needed therapy to soothe my hurt. And YOU have not explained how it would help society to have endless coalitions with small parties holding negotiating , even blackmail powers over larger parties trying to grasp government in a multi-party system. I’d much rather see a few people wringing their hands over their “wasted” votes than seeing the whole province held hostage to small parties that win comparatively few votes but are given huge powers under p.r. h.o)

  • 12 13 // Oct 27, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Do you ever wonder what if? What if in the last BC provincial election the NDP had won enough seats to form government without needing the Green party to “form” government. Ill bet that we would need a new subject to debate. Ill bet the sleazy Weaver/ Eby corrupt concoction would just be a bad dream .
    So in order to keep power Horgan has had to sell his soul to the honorable Andy. Andy a man of his word.Andy Anti LNG ( coming to a port near you). Andy Anti site C coming to a flooded valley near you. Andy Anti pipeline coming to a suburb near you.
    (Edited..let’s try to keep the discussion civil. h.o)

    (Response: Interesting thing for me is that I never “feared” the Greens holding the NDP hostage to form government as much as I worry about some of the other more extreme possibilities down the road under p.r. That’s why I believe it is a can best left unopened! And minority government, under fptp, can do much the same ..without the dangers of p.r. h.o)

  • 13 BMCQ // Oct 27, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    DBW – 11 – Harvey – Response – 11

    Many thanks, you both along with several other contributors have illustrated and provided incredibly good arguments in support of the FPTP and PR Debate.

    I can only hope that as many people as possible inform themselves by reading the opinions and arguments posted here.

    We should all feel privileged that we have an Open, Independent, Balanced, and Unencumbered Forum for discussions like this that offer insight and in fact education on how our society functions.

    If it was not for the opportunities a Blog like this offers citizens that want to exchange ideas and opinions our Democracy would be much worse off than what we think it already is.

    Unfortunately NO Democracy is Perfect but On a Tragic and Sad Day like Today we should all be Thankful and appreciate the opportunities provided us by Freedom and Democracy in the Free World in which we Live.

  • 14 D. M. Johnston // Oct 28, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Re: post 11 reply.

    Quote: ” No vote is “wasted” under fptp: every vote counts in determining who wins and … horrors …who LOSES! Yes, people actually LOSE in elections: get over that.”

    Er, no. My vote was wasted, the people I voted for didn’t in. Why bother, with the party system.

    In civic politics it is a lot different than party politics in provincial and federal elections.

    Civic politics is one of the most corrupt form of politics about and with the 4 year election cycle for civic politics, the candy store is open for every crook, elected to gorge on the taxpayer’s dollar.

    In Delta, we elected the BC Liberal Party as mayor and council and in Surrey we elected a 1970’s throw back party, which will cost the taxpayyer’s dearly.

    Vancouver got an inter sting mix of politicians, because Vision(less) Vancouver imploded.

    Corrigan is out because he was acting more as a MLA than a mayor and he got the toss.

    It will be 4 more years, until we go back the well choreographed soviet style first past the post system, which elects little dictators and little.
    else.

    Those who want first past the post, want a quaint colonial style voting system to pretend that they are democratic, but in real terms, is nothing more than a show-case election to keep the elites in power and the money flowing to political friends and insiders.

    (Response: Whenever I have voted for someone who does not win, I never felt my vote was “wasted”. I expressed MY opinion; others expressed theirs …and there were more of them than us. Hopefully there were enough of the same mind as mine that even the winners took note of how close we may have come and may have moderated their stances on some issues; if not, at least I felt I had stood by MY principles …and felt very confident in criticizing/cajoling and condemning the “winners” whenever they screwed up. And on more than one occasion, MY choice won the next time round … proving my vote was not wasted. h.o)

  • 15 DBW // Oct 28, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Neither of us is likely to change his mind but seeing that you asked I will respond to your statement.

    “YOU have not explained how it would help society to have endless coalitions with small parties holding negotiating , even blackmail powers over larger parties trying to grasp government in a multi-party system.”

    Loaded question Harvey. I don’t accept your premise. I believe it is fear mongering.

    Will there be more coalitions? Of course. Will these coalitions be blackmailed by smaller, extremist parties? No

    Maybe I am just more optimistic than you are but let me use a couple of specific examples.

    I mentioned before that the Conservatives in Great Britain are being supported by a small completely regional nationalistic somewhat extreme party. This under FPTP. DUP by the way has 10 seats of the 18 available by receiving 36% of the Northern Ireland vote. Were the UK using Pro Rep this party with less than 1% of the national vote would still have 10 saets, maybe less depending on how ridings would be formed.

    In BC a more typical scenario under ProRep the Greens are not running the show. The NDP have made two decisions – Site C and LNG – that the Greens vehemently oppose.

    Let’s look at Germany. Or Europe where we see the rise of white nationalist parties. Scary for sure. But.

    Few governments are going to risk working with them for fear of losing moderate voters.

    Besides the groups are not there because of the voting system. They are there because people support them. Like DUP, they are winning seats in individual ridings which uses FPTP to get those winners.

    These groups as abhorrent as I find them are not gaining a voice because of a voting system. They are gaining a voice because they are concerned about borders or migrants or whatever else they fear. It is an issue in the US. and to a lesser extent Canada.

    Neither ProRep nor FPTP is going to rid us of the sometimes ugly divisiveness that can occur. But, I feel that ProRep will give us a better way to come to agreement on those issues

  • 16 13 // Oct 28, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    DBW paragraph 7 is for lack of a better name fake news. The NDP have LNG and site C and look even though the greens are vehemently opposed everything is a okay. You might believe that the NDP /Green coalition is working but in reality it is just an ends to a means.
    Not only are the greens running the show they are the show. No greens no NDP government. The BCL would be the show.

  • 17 e.a.f. // Oct 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    In my opinion, in a democracy, no vote is ever wasted. Your team/candidate may not have won, but you participated in an experiment which started in England, so many centuries ago.

    Even though I’ve lived most of my life in non NDP ridings, and having voted NDP my whole life, I never considered by vote wasted. You don’t always get to win. that’s life.

    As to votes not counting, tell that to the NDP MLA in the Comox Valley who won by a few votes in the last provincial election, or tell that to the two candidates for mayor in Peachland–they tied.

    What we need is more people going out to vote. You vote in a civic election you get a $50 reduction in property taxes. Vote in the other elections you get a $50 credit on your taxes. Works for me.

    However, as some have outlined, if there are is more than two candidates, no one really received a “majority”. They just got the most votes and that is why I’d like to see run off elections. It will convince candidates their partly alone can not always get them elected and it may make some politicians a little more responsive to the community at large.

    (Response: Just this evening, the right wing candidate in Brazil’s presidential runoff won with 55% of the vote; the left wing candidate lost with 45% … but I sure would never believe the votes of those 45% were therefore wasted. People win and lose in democratic elections …and I don’t mind the idea of runoffs … BUT there’s no need and it’s not fair to soothe the angst of those who do not win under our current first past the post system …by giving THEM blackmail powers through proportional representation over those who come close to a clear majority. h.o)

  • 18 13 // Oct 28, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    @eaf??? Will the $50 reduction or credits be means tested?
    Im just kidding. Ive been on strata council for a lot of years and have often suggested that one lucky strata owner gets his/her strata fees waived for following all bylaws and rules no late payments etc.
    Apparently that would amount to running an illegal lottery.
    Im on board for the reduction as long as those that dont vote pay a penalty

  • 19 DBW // Oct 29, 2018 at 7:37 am

    I couldn’t have been clear with my wasted vote comment so let me clarify. First of all, of course there will be winners and losers and of course we should support our guy on principle. But for many people, if the outcome is foregone there is no point in wasting their time to vote.

    Consider this scenario. Suppose you owned two pieces of property, one in a safe riding and one in a swing riding. Where would you register to vote… And why? Easy answer: one vote is way more meaningful while the other is essentially wasted.

    Under pro rep whether you vote for the winner or the loser your vote will always have value. That will encourage more people to come to the polls.

    Another example? and this surprised me. 43 seats – about 10% – in the House of Representatives went uncontested by one of the two major parties because there is no chance of winning so why waste time, money and effort.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/politics/midterms-uncontested-candidates/

    State races are even worse.
    https://www.denverpost.com/2017/06/25/candidates-run-unopposed-voting/

    I know that is the US but think of that. Some ridings are so safe that there is no point in running an opponent. There are ridings in BC that are won with more than 70% of the vote. Why bother running a losing candidate.

    With ProRep your party vote would still matter so parties would be more likely to field candidates regardless of obstacles.

    No matter how you spin it Harvey, depending on where you live some votes are more valuable than others. Pro Rep rectifies that.

    Just another reason to support Pro Rep.

  • 20 RIsaak // Oct 29, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Re. Thresher @ comment #8
    Just to correct a false statement above, in Richmond Malcolm Brodie achieved well over 50% support, unlike the majority of elected folks who struggled to get remotely close to 50%. Malcolm was at roughly 60% and there were many candidates running.

  • 21 e.a.f. // Oct 29, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    That is so dumb, not to run a candidate because you’re going to loose anyhow. Of course you will loose, if you don’t have a candidate, but its always good to run some one so the voters know they do have a choice and the other party might just show some interest in what people want. Not running a candidate is neglecting their responsibility as a democracy.

    Some times if you work hard enough you can make change, no effort, no change. At least they might want to run some one who needs the experience of running.

    Back in the day, no one ever thought Bruce Erikson would be elected to Vancouver council. I do believe it took him 3 tries, but he made it.

  • 22 BMCQ // Oct 29, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    I wonder if the attached Global News Report might Build Confidence in the Great Unwashed who are “Looking for Leadership on the Prop Rep Question”??

    I am quite sure that Newly Crowned LNG King John Horgan and his Braintrust of Meggs, Eby, and Gunton are more than confident that they have Very Well Educated, Informed, and Prepared MLA’s in their Party to carry forward the Torch of Prop Rep” !!

    https://globalnews.ca/video/4603877/confusion-surrounds-electoral-reform-ballots-that-have-begun-arriving-at-b-c-homes

    AS to Bruce Erikson being elected to Vancouver Council?

    Shows me that NOT ALL Voters should be entitled to a Full Vote each.

    There should be a Qualifying Test and Eligible Voters should be awarded between 1/4 and a Full Vote each depending on how successful they are in the Test.

    NDP MLA and Minister Mark should be Disciplined and sent to Re-Education. Imagine sending someone to Campaign for your cause who happens to be a Provincial Cabinet Minister that knows absolutely nothing about Her Cause!!

    Sort of like the old Sargent Shultz Character from HORGANs Heroes. Hey wait a minute I like that, “Horgan’s Heroes” !! It Has a nice Ring to it does it not?

    Premier Horgan would be better off with DBW Leading the Charge. I mean that quite sincerely, not Tongue in Cheek.

    In reference to Harvey’s Comment about the Brazilian President Elect being Right Wing.

    I have not followed that Election closely but it does appear that he IS Right Wing.

    Something that concerns me greatly though is how Media and Many Citizens make Reference to Right wing Parties when that Party by Normal Standards of say 10 or 20 years ago are NOT really Right Wing.

    It appears to me that today that “The Swimmer” Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and say Joe Clark might be Labelled “Right Wing”.

    To illustrate that point I laugh when Media here in North America and the EU refer to Germen Chancellor Merkel as a Conservative. Give me a Break, Merkel is no more Conservative than our Good Friends e.a.f. and Mr. Bean !!!

    Again, I am not saying the President Elect of Brazil is not someone Far Right but I do not know. I do know however know for sure that Cngela Merkel is “Sure As Hell Not a Conservative.

    BTW – Merkel has finally been shown the Door !!

    Unfortunately Far Far Too Late for the EU, Merkel, Hollande, Juncker, the very much Disengaged and Inept Obama, and the rest destroyed almost all of the eU and it is now on it’s knees and in collapse and they will never recover.

    Not to worry though because those and others I ementioned will all reside in Government supplied Luxury with a Group of Secret Service Types Armed better than most Small countries and they will travel in Armoured Vehicles, Military Jets, live in Gagted and Walled Communities and they will not need to worry avbout travelling through their Cities afraid of being run over by a Hi Jacked Truck, being Shot, Blown Up, or having the Cold Blade of a Knife being run along the throat of their Spouses or Children. Ah yes, the Perks of being a Politician.

    Yes Merkel is gone but is too late.

    Just the same, Brazil and then the Demise of Merkel all in one day. Then of course Kathleen Wynne, Quebec, Italy, soon to be Alberta, and many others.

    You know what they say.

    “TICK TOCK” !!!!

    I can only hope and pray that Proportional Representation is not passed by somewhere around 20% or less of the Eligible Voters.

    Surely somewhere Colonel Horgan has just a little Conscience that will prevent a Horrible Injustice like that changing B.C. forever.

    Let’s make sure that ALL Eligible Voters of B.C. are given the opportunity to watch and listen to a proper Prop Rep Debate between Horgan and Wilkinson.

    The Good People of B.C. deserve at least that.

    Hey and guess what? NDP Brain Trust Minister Mark might even learn something about Prop Rep herself.

    I find that whole Melanie Mark thing Very Disturbing.

  • 23 e.a.f. // Oct 30, 2018 at 11:23 am

    BMCQ, I wrote, back in the day. Now I’m much older than you, . Yes, back in the day, there was a DTES person by the name of Bruce Erikson and he decided to run for council. Until then it was only Harry Rankin who represented the left. With first past the post Bruce Erikson was able to run and win the election.

    As to Merkel, her leaving the political scene will not be a good thing. She clearly understood what can happen when people start coming. She saw it when people forced The Wall down. Migrants, you either find a way to welcome and take them in, or there will be armed conflict. The west helped ruin various parts of the world and now the chickens have come home to roost.

    What did you expect Europe to do? Shoot all of those people coming in.

    Conservative can mean very different things in different countries and religions. there are things which left and right can agree on. Conservatives can be middle of the road, they can try to Conserve their religion and thus more welcoming than other arms of their religion. When it comes to proportional representation, Conservative may come to mean a lot of different things. Greens could be considered Conservative, because they want to conserve the environment, the use of natural resources, lives of humans and animals.

    It is doubtful Horgan can change the voting process for ever, because first the public will be voting on it. If you think Horgan will be Premier forever, the voting process will remain the same forever, but there will be changes in government and then of course there may well be changes in how we vote, once again.

    As I understand it, N.Z. went to Pro Rep, did it for 2 elections or so, took another vote and decided to stay with it.

    I’m going to vote first past the post, however, should Pro Rep become the thing, I’m not worried about it at this stage. The people of this province are pretty good at turfing a government they don’t want.

    And don’t worry about people holding knives to the necks of others. Right now I’d suggest the U.S.A. is becoming one of the most violent countries in the world and they do it all with guns and bombs.
    They don’t have Pro Rep. or even first past the post. they rely on voter suppression. Putting polls 13 miles from where people live and then a mile from the bus stop.

    What creates peace is a decent standard of living for people, with a decent education system and health care. In these countries of great unrest what we see is the wealth of the country controlled by very few. Once that starts to happen, people will grasp at what ever they think can save them.

    As to the President of brazil, well he has said he will sell of the reserves which indigenous people live on, sell the rain forests to mining and argi business and he has made comments regarding women which aren’t exactly P.C. or even polite. There will be no law and order in Brazil. There will be murder and civil war. However, the good folks in Norway have decided to put up $500M to buy land in other countries to preserve the environment.

    How we wind up voting may depend upon how many people actually get out and vote on the issue. Lets hope every one does.

  • 24 E. Johnson // Oct 30, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Great post Harvey as well as great responses to 3, 8 and 11. I voted for PR the last time a referendum was held in B.C. when the Citizens Assembly took sufficient time to plan a proposal and voters understood what they would be getting. The current rushed scheme with details to be sorted later is not good enough for me to vote yes. I am coming around to the notion of run off voting. The idea of “if I can’t win I won’t vote” is definitely not on.

    (Response: If the NDP and the Greens are so interested in improving the electoral system, what better way than to guarantee whoever wins has at least 50% support than a runoff system! Even their convoluted, extremist-rewarding blackmailing systems don’t provide for that. Proportional representation should be turned down and then the runo9ff system should get a chance: I’m sure the public would MUCH MORE understand and prefer that. h.o.)

  • 25 BMCQ // Oct 30, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    (Edited…too off topic of proportional representation vs first past the post.)

    Again, I strongly believe that Proportional Representation will pass and become Law in B.C. by receiving a Mail In Vote That will total up to LESS THAN 25% of Eligible B.C. Voters.

    It is Wrong, it is Unacceptable, and it is Morally Bankrupt for Any Government of Any Brand to allow and participate in such a Manipulation of the Democratic Process.

    Shame on Horgan, Eby, Meggs, Gunton, Weaver, the absolutely ridiculous and moronic B.C. Advanced Education Minister Mark who has no right to Her Political Science Degree and all of the rest of the NDP and Green Politicians of B.C..

    Yes, there will finally be a Debate and Wilkinson will more than likely win but it will only be a half hour and between introductions and hand shakes and a few exchanges not much will be learned from the actual ten minutes of discussion.

    On top of that a very high percentage of those who care to vote will have already mailed in their Ballots.

    And then B.C. Will then have it’s Proportional Representation.

    Tragic

    (Edited: Off topic of THIS blog piece. h.o)

    (Response: I fear you could be right … that a fairly small voter turnout could totally change the way our democracy selects its elected representatives. A topic as serious as this deserves a LOT more PUBLIC discussion, education and consideration of alternatives … like runoffs. h.o.)

  • 26 Marge // Oct 30, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Just received my ballot. Very strange as the first question asks which system you want. Then the second question asks if the BC government “adopts” a proportion al representation voting system, which of the voting systems do you want? Doesn’t this seem like a forgone conclusion that the answer to question number one doesn’t really matter if they don’t get the percentage they want? Very weird in my humble opinion.

    (Response: Big Brother apparently would allow only CERTAIN choices the NDP/Greens like. Too bad they didn’t ask the people who do want change whether they’d like the BEST alternative: a RUNOFF system ..so that EVERY winner is GUARANTEED to be someone MOST of the voters want … with at least 50% support … not some convoluted coalition ruled/blackmailed by a tiny minority holding a gun to the head of a party that falls short of a majority. h.o.)

  • 27 e.a.f. // Oct 30, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    The first time the province examined a change in the voting system did have more “research” and consulting. However, it is up to each citizen to get out and vote. that is how we got a democracy and that is how we will hang on to it. If you don’t vote, you don’t get the right to complain, well you can complain, but its your own fault for not voting and thus winding up with what you don’t want.

    We have just seen how important voting is, in Peachland. They were tied and so a name was selected from a box. had a few more people voted, who knows………

    If you don’t vote you may never get what you want. You may get what you deserve and then have to live with it and in some cases die because of it. The world is heading in an unpleasant direction so voting is very, very important.

    (Response: Exactly. But I think the NDP/Greens are counting on a vote by mostly those who want change and are motivated, while the rest cannot be bothered to go through the multi-envelope/mailing trouble. What they should have done is hold the referendum at Election time … so everyone who turns up at the polls would get a say. And then they could have also offered an IMPROVED fptp system …with the RUNOFF option. But clearly they don’t really want a 50% minimum approval outcome! h.o)

  • 28 BMCQ // Oct 31, 2018 at 5:12 am

    As I recall the NDP or Leftist Parties in Canada have always managed to rally their supporters and have always managed one way or another to “Get the Vote Out” and the Party and their Voters must be given credit for that. They have their 45% or so and Horgan Weaver and their Parties are well aware of that.

    I believe that is exactly why the Questiins are the way they are and I believe that is exactly why Horgan did not attach the question to this past B.C. Wide Municipal Ballots would have at least provided a much better chance at a Higher close to Legimate Voter Response.

    This Strategy was planned and manipulated from the beginning and I can guaranteed you that this plan was discussed and received consultation with Election Strstegists including Psychologists.

    A Sham and Shameful, Dishonest, Cheap, Tawdry Politics at Best.

    Personally as this subject gets more discussion I am more than ever Leaning to favoring a “Run Off” type of Election Process.

    Contrary to some here I feel a “Run Off” would create more interest and more participation at the Ballot ‘Bos and therefore prove to be more Democratic, more Transparent, and provide Citizens a Government that actually has more Public Support.

    Only one mans opinion but I find it quite disturbing that we are about to change the way we vote because the NDP/Greens choose to Trick and ?Fool the Public with a “Shell Game’’ Ballot That is more Confuding than Helpful.

    Let’s simply ask NDP B.C. Advanced Education Minister Minister Melanie Mark what she thinks about Prop Rep and the Questions, I am quite sure she could bring clarity to the “Great Unwashed”, after all we all heard her clearly state that she has a Degree in Political Acience did we not?

    If anyone anywhere could bring Clarity and Educate us it would be Minister Mark would it not?

  • 29 DBW // Oct 31, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Sorry Harvey,

    Again not try to convince you or anybody to change their mind, but I have to comment on some of the comments.

    1. Some people here are worried that there hasn’t been enough debate. Really? I got my ballot a couple of days ago. I have a month to send it in. Already, I have participated in four blog posts written by you and read by however many people come to this site. On my local union’s facebook page, a person posted the debate between Bill Tieleman and Maria Dobrininskaya and a lively debate followed. I have read sponsored articles from both sides on my facebook page. I rarely read the Vancouver papers but did see a recent article by Michael Smyth . On a few occasions I have had to wait through an ad from the NO side on a game app on my phone. (Go figure!)

    This lack of debate line is nonsense, and seems to be a partisan attempt to promote some theory that Horgan, Weaver, Eby, Meggs, are conspiring to undermine democracy.

    2. Harvey, your run-off idea is not the best alternative for people who want change. It will not change the disparity between voter preference and seat count. I am not saying that run-offs are a bad idea. London Ontario just changed their civic vote to a run-off system although it is an instant run-off through ranked ballots. For municipal elections I agree with London’s decision 100%. And should our referendum fail, I would support ranked ballots on provincial ballots. However, right now, it doesn’t come close to ProRep for people like me and others who support a change to our electoral system.

    3. Melanie Mark’s poor performance was an embarrassment. And yes, even without a political science degree and a shyness in front of cameras I would have done a better job. But I am not sure if her looking foolish is any worse than the dishonest ad from the NO side showing jackbooted Nazis marching in the street.

    Resorting to fearmongering is a sign that you can’t win on the actual discussion points.

    4. I don’t share your surety on the outcome. I don’t think it will pass because there are too many people unwilling to study the issue and will just stay with the status quo.

  • 30 13 // Oct 31, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Well besides a few flyers, and some other junk mail there it was my own piece of Weaver payolla, graft, ransom, baksheesh, my ballot. As well as the 3 ballots that belonged in my mail box another ballot addressed to my home to a person that might have lived here once upon . What to do with an extra ballot. Leave it on the pile of discarded junk mail? It would not have been lonely as there were already a couple in that pile. What a pork and bean method of making a choice as important as how to elect a government.
    The trash heap of ballots is a direct consequence of allowing Horgan Eby and company to pay back weaver by ensuring him a better pension and more prestige and the power to cripple our economy.
    So off I go with my arm load of ballots. Not to worried about spoiling my ballot as many more are available if needed.
    I agree completely with BMCQ the NDP/Green alliance has used every underhanded sleazy trick to stack the deck in their favor. Its shameful.
    The creators of this bit of treachery should remove every mirror they can. They should not be able to look at themselves.
    Disgusting.

    (Response: The Greens are pushing it because I suspect they believe it will give them permanent blackmail powers whenever there is a close election. But who knows what OTHER minor parties will spring up and manipulate the power structure …like elsewhere where p.r. is used! h.o.)

  • 31 13 // Oct 31, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    So I went to Melanie Marks web page. I wanted to put a face to the bit of stupidity. There she is. Her picture is about one inch above a link. Ya you guessed it . The link is for anyone that wants more info on how pro rep will work.

  • 32 13 // Oct 31, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    @BMCQ Your recollection of the NDP/ Leftist parties getting the vote out is crystal clear.
    Stan Hennesy president of Teamsters Local 31 at the monthly meetings never told anyone how to vote. BUT he did tell everyone how a good union member like Stan Hennesy was going to vote. “the sign in my front yard is orange and black”. Thats a private sector union. I can only imagine the time and MONEY the BCGEU/CUPE /CUPW/BCTF
    spend endorsing the HORgan EBy party.
    Ill bet that deep down these unions would like a FPTP as long as the NDP were the winners. If the BCL are wining then all of a sudden FPTP is unfair, your vote dont count, your hair catches fire.
    Sadly the workers that support FPTP dont have the luxury of indexed pensions, stress leave, sick days, and an employer with pockets that never end. The real evil happens in the schools where the BCTF indoctrinate first and if they have a bit of time just before the bell, oops no bell that causes anxiety, they educate. That scenario fits perfectly with pro rep. Nobody ever loses and everyone gets a pretty ribbon for just showing up.

  • 33 Art Smith // Oct 31, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    #13
    You are so right, it is a participation medal for the losers. Unfortunately it is the electorate who will be the losers, and also get to be the ones who pay for this idiocy.
    Also the BS about only going 2 election cycles and if we don’t like it we can change back. Don’t believe it for a second, those fringe parties and the main parties who benefit from this will be sure to get all of their followers out to keep it going.
    Let’s face it Weaver and his sad-sack party of 3 will not want another election without PR being in place or they would likely be wiped out, and I think Horgan may have alienated enough NDP members to be nervous in a FPTP election.

  • 34 Helena Handcart // Nov 1, 2018 at 8:26 am

    No debate?? I wonder if anyone that comments here has ever watched the daily proceedings in the legislature? I qualify as one of BMCQ’s “Great Unwashed” and I watch or read Hansard each day.( I even know what Melanie Marks looks like.) The PR question is not too complicated for me. Question 1: Do you want FPTP or PR. It can all end right there! I have already voted.

  • 35 BMCQ // Nov 1, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    All of us can and really should take the time to inform ourselves on how we are Governed, thst only makes sense.

    Unfortunately not everyone cherishes the Right to Vote as much as others.

    We, “The Great Unwashed” Öwe it to ourselves and others including coming generations to understand the workings of how we every day Government affects us so we can cast an informed Ballot however we choose to vote.

    We should all be as engaged as much as DBW, 13, Helena, and others who participate on this Blog no matter how they ultimately vote, whether it be Election Day or for the Mail In Ballot.

  • 36 13 // Nov 2, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    I have the right to complain because I vote . In that vein I strongly urge everyone to vote NO to proportional representation. The idea that it will solve all of the above complaints is ludicrous. It will give endless excuses for the same waste that we now experience. Now we can and do toss a political party out office when they fail in our expectations. Clean house. Start fresh. Accountability.Imagine trying to get rid of a political party when no ones realy certain whos in charge. Just because GTB makes repeated claims that we keep repeating our mistakes doesnt even ring true. GTB etal bitched whined sniveled and complained about the BC Liberals and presto they got change.
    The retractable roof at BC place has made a huge improvement to a great facility. A multi purpose building that serves the public in many ways. Just like spending money to aid third world sculptures.
    VOTE NO . TELL HORGAN and EBY to find some other way to hold onto power.

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