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Push for Chinese on Civic Ballots Forewarns Danger of “Proportional Representation”

October 4th, 2018 · 35 Comments

Political correctness … and politicians’ fear of standing up against it … is now threatening Canada’s 150-year old two-official-languages status and soon it could also expose our democratic process to being held hostage by extremist ethnic, racial and religious groups.

“Proportional representation” … being pushed by BC’s NDP government and their Greens allies … could expose our electoral process to not just the possibility, but the likelihood, that with increasing frequency, very small parties will garner enough votes PROVINCE-WIDE … not to form government and take power … but to win just enough seats to hold the balance of power in minority government situations.

We saw the PROOF of that in BC’s last provincial election,  and continuing today, when the NDP minority government had to give in to Green Party well-reported pressures … some would call it blackmail … on certain policies in return for enough support for the NDP to take office and keep governing.

I don’t mind minority governments: they can be effective in curbing the dictatorial penchants of majority administrations; and even broaden the perspective on issues by those in power. The caveat being that the supporting minor party at least have an ideology and policy goals CLOSE to that of the governing regime.

In fact, BC’s minority government experience, and also New Brunswick’s just last week, shows that our current First-Past-the-Post system CAN work and CAN give third or even fourth ranked parties …. offering policies and ideologies that appeal to a broad range of Canadians … very important roles in our democratic process.

First past the post works. It’s not perfect, but beware of “proportional representation”.

BC is NOT the same as it was 20 years ago, when proportional representation started getting serious consideration.

I myself liked the idea behind it: how wonderful it would be to have every vote count in awarding legislative seats … or at least much more of them.

But the politically correct crowd won’t admit what most of us have learned over the past 20 years: BC’s society is much more compartmentalized than it used to be … along ethnic, racial and even religious grounds.

That’s not all a bad thing: it has enriched our society culturally, economically and wonderfully from an epicurean point of view.

However, let’s keep it real:  the TRUTH is there are also now LOTS of  voters who identify and vote ethnically … first, foremost and even exclusively … not philosophically or ideologically.

Proportional representation will open up dangerous new unintended consequences that could specifically target and badly divide British Columbians along racial, ethnic and religious grounds … allowing small ethnic parties, almost powerless in the current first-past-the-post system,  enough PROVINCE-WIDE votes to each elect  one, two or three MLAs and gain powers that would substantially impact the minority government process.

Many pooh-poohed when I warned about that months ago on this blog:

But now, there are signs that divide-and-conquer ethnic tactic is already rearing its head.

For the first time ever, a candidate for Vancouver City Council, has asked and is being allowed to list his name in English AND Chinese characters on the ballot.  And according to news reports, the actual translation of the Mandarin characters spelling out his name is not just a phonetic pronunciation of his name, but an actual phrase that points to his personal and ethnic roots.

As I wrote last week, I believed that could grant a candidate an unfair advantage with Chinese-reading voters and it sure seems to be a violation of Canada’s TWO Official languages policy … English and French.

And I believe it’s also portends more than that. It signals exactly what will happen if BC moves to “proportional representation”.

Since under that system, some seats could awarded based on PROVINCE-WIDE cumulative votes, an ethnic, religious or extremist party of any kind with no real hope of winning local riding seats under first-past-the-post would have a real chance of winning seats under the p.r. voting system.

And they know that.

I have NO doubt that, if BC adopts “proportional representation”,  we will see within a couple of years a plethora of small ethnic, religious and radical parties taking advantage of the new lower-barrier possibilities to gain influence and critical powers..

So naive voters thinking they are just ensuring ALL votes count will instead end up opening up a Pandora’s box of political chaos.

Do we really want to make it EASIER for specifically narrowly focused parties to win seats and even controlling power … appealing to and representing only, say: ultra conservative Chinese  “family values” groups; East Indian religious/nationalist activists; Muslim “Shariah” religious law supporters; and, or militant right-to-life and/or homophobic Christian “concerned citizens” campaigners????

Imagine the impact on the larger parties struggling to form a minority government if these groups (parties) held the balance of power?

Of course, the majority of every diverse group will vote along the same criteria as other British Columbians … based on parties, philosophies and promises …  but under proportional representation, there’s a serious flaw:  those on the fringes of various groups … despite  even beliefs seen as radical by the majorities… will now have a better chance of  winning legislative seats,  based on province-wide cumulative results.

Can’t happen?

Look at Israel or Italy or India or Pakistan or increasingly, other European states where minor extreme religious, ethnic and radical political parties are gaining more and more influence and power.

We don’t need that here!

And divisive ethnic/religious extreme groups are just the current potential voting blocs that could profit from a new “proportional representation” system.

Who knows what other politically extreme or xenophobic fringe types could also take advantage of the weaknesses in the p.r. voting rules to gain footholds in government … as they are now doing in some European countries.

Proportional representation is a Trojan Horse: the beautiful vision its supporters promote  … or some voters think they see … is a false the perspective, attractive only from afar.

The reality on the inside is much uglier … and more dangerous to our democracy.

Vote to KEEP the first-past-the-post system in the upcoming BC referendum.

It’s not perfect …  but a lot better than the potential horrors proportional representation would unleash.

Happy Thanksgiving! Joyeux action de graces!

Harv Oberfeld

(If you understand and agree with the dangers we face from “proportional representation” please FORWARD the link to this article ….  …. to other BC voters:   to let them know …  and urge them to support keeping our current first-past-the-post system.

I also spoke on this topic Friday on  radio podcast. If interested, here is the link: )

Tags: British Columbia · National

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gene The Bean // Oct 4, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I don’t buy it Harvey.

    You sound like a fear mongering conservative!

    I’m voting YES as are many others. New, young and engaged voters who are fed up with what the ‘cesspool of politics’ has become will do the same.

    Oldsters, conservatives and those that fear change and possibly losing their “privilege” will vote no. The BC LIEberal party wants you to vote no. That in itself is enough for any reasonable person to vote yes.

    Doing the SAME thing over and over and expecting a DIFFERENT outcome is the definition of what …. ?? Thanks for playing.

    (Response: This is one issue that should not be voted on with a partisan bias. Look at other countries where p.r. exists: as societies fracture into more and more diverse groups … p.r. becomes a power struggle between the cultures and even degrees of religiosity, not just party platforms and policies. If it has gone that way elsewhere, why should we dare to presume it will not happen here? Asking for Chinese on ballots was just a warning sign of what will come. h.o.)

  • 2 BMCQ // Oct 4, 2018 at 11:33 am

    A very fair, well thought out, insightful, and well reasoned Analysis and Essay.

    I believe you have in the past thought well of Minority Governments and you made some great points of why you supported them.

    I am curious as to whether your opinion has changed/evolved somewhat or do you simply recognize the pitfalls of ethnic/cultural Block Voting?

    To be honest when one studies the Politics of many Countries that have any type of PR it always guarantees three things for certain, Gridlock, Vote Trading, and the same Cultural Voting Blocks.

    I find it absolutely unacceptable that any one group in any Democracy would Vote in Block.

    It is wise to point out that Dishonest Manipulative Power Mad Politicians like Weaver and Horgan will Manipulate the System to Freeze Out a Free Enterprise Party but they will.

    As a matter of fact Anarchist and B.C. AG DAVID Eby has even resorted to Trick Questions to get his way. He has even gone so far to take away the opportunity for a higher Vote Turnout Provincially by NOT attaching the PR Vote to the November Municipal Elections. Do any of you believe that was simply oversight?

    Great Canadian Anarchist has virtually guaranteed that PR more than likely Pass with a Positive Yes Vote by perhaps fewer/less than 15% of Elible B.C. Voters.

    Now that is what Eby, Horgan, Meggs, Gunton, and Weaver call Democracy.

    Let’s be honest here, they want nothing less than the assurance they can possibly cling on to power any way possible and PR is their best chance.

    The “Walking Ego” in a Bad Suit Andrew Weaver will/would do anything to guarantee more Green Seats. Do any of you think Weaver actually cares about Residents of B.C.? Weaver is really only a “Legend in His Own Basement”.

    I am currently in Greece and soon traveling to several PR Nations, trust me Proportional Rep does nothing god for any Hard Working Tax Payer of any Income Level.

    No Harvey, for anyone to suggest you are a Morally Bankrupt, Devious, Fear Mongering Conservative is simply Juvenile, but then consider the source, the fact is you bring up some very valid points and we should all consider what you have written. We need to consider our vote by clear thinking, not by our Political Brand.

    Let’s also keep in mind that former B.C. Gordon Campbell once attempted to push through a similar system STV and it was voted down. Of course Mr. Bean has forgotten that fact, you see that fact does not fit the narrative.

    Unfortunately the Eby Fix of Mail In Ballot will prove a Winner for PR and it will cripple the politics of B.C., it wil, create Gridlock and Confusion, and it will automatically guarantee “The Tail will be Wagging the Head”.

    Quite frankly I am Aghast!

    Once again, where are Media on this, why are they not asking the tough questions?

    I suppose they are leaving it all up to you Harvey.

    (Response: Kaliméra …or Kalispera …whatever the time is there when you check in to the blog! 🙂 I still like minority governments … IF the parties that form an alliance are at least ideologically close and can reach a concensus. The problem with p.r. …as PROVEN in so many countries where a plethora of parties, some quite radical … is that concensus is thrown aside …for blackmail … and to form a government, parties are forced to submit/adopt to extremists. Those governments often don’t last long and elections become almost annual events ..resulting in lower turnouts and political instability ..even chaos. Under the first-past-the-post system, we can have minority governments ..but at least there is some semblance of order …and stability. h.o)

  • 3 e.a.f. // Oct 4, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Currently various political parties vie for the votes within various ethnic/religious groups. Once those groups/individuals have joined a particular party in Canada, they start to work within that party. It actually helps them move into the main stream of Canadian society and become Canadian.

    If that were not the case, they could simply set up the Mandarin speaking evangelical home schooling party with a platform which won’t permit hospices to be built next to residential areas. Now that is extreme, but really, it could be done.

    I’m also not in favour of the German Lutheran party which would demand Octoberfest become a Canadian national holiday or the Dutch descent party which insists half of all cheese in Canada must come from Holland. Now some may think that is ridiculous, but do have a look at Israel. They do have parties which are about as ridiculous.

    It is difficult to wake up the morning after an election to see a new party in office, when it in fact had fewer votes than the second placed party. However, that could be over come by more ridings based on population. Yes, I know people in rural areas will say they will lose out, but first past the post still in my opinion will work better than proportional representation. In the first past the post all parties have to learn to work with every one within their community and that in the end makes for a more harmonious country. If various religious groups set up their own parties, we would all be the less for it. When Sikhs started to become involved in politics in B.C. we were better able to understand each other and learn from each other.

    Having waxed and waned on the issue, in the long haul, my opinion is first past the post will continue to work for B.C. Some may argue the smaller parties won’t have a say in government. Don’t tell that to the Greens. They have made progress over the past decade, at the federal and provincial levels. They had to work hard, but they got there. Its no different from the days when the CCF/NDP were starting out. One or two M.P.s in Ottawa, but here we are all those years later.

    About the only thing I’d really like to see is the politicians must gain 50% of the votes or there has to be a run off. We could have a ranking system of your first or second favorite.

    Those who live on the Lower Mainland have very different concerns than those who live in the O.K. or North or Kootenays. They need representatives from their communities who represent their ideas and values, however much I may disagree with them.

    (Response: Someone asked me privately why I chose ethnic groups … a very sensitive choice … as an example of the poor side of p.r. instead of just extreme religious or ideological beliefs. The reason is quite simple: thankfully, extreme ideological groups are still in no position to have the numbers, even province wide, right now to pose any threat here as they do elsewhere, even if their votes province wide votes were all added together. However we cannot close our eyes to the reality: BC’s makeup now includes a number of very large ethnic groups, whose majority would no doubt vote/participate in the mainstream, but that could still leave a sufficient more extreme or more militant minority who could under p.r. definitely, when their votes are added up together province-wide could actually get some members elected … and then exert pressure well beyond their numbers in a very close minority election situation. h.o.)

  • 4 Diverdarren // Oct 4, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Harvey, I just finished updating my voter registration with Elections BC, so that I’ll get a mail-in ballot.

    It’s easy, and everyone should do it. I can’t think of a more important referendum then that of how the people choose to exercise their liberty.

    I’ve made my argument in the past on this blog as to how our liberty is expressed via the two options of First Past the Post and Proportional Representation.

    To put it simply;

    First past the Post expresses liberty through individualism. It brings the power of representative democracy to the smallest reasonable group, the Riding.

    Proportional Representation is collectivism. It sees liberty as represented from the power of the whole.

    It’s Individualism vs. Socialism.

    I am responsible for myself and the others that are closest to me. Socialists, believe society is responsible for each individual. Sentimental thought, but in reality it creates less liberty, not more. I believe in liberty.

    I know I’ll vote to keep FPTP, and I know it has problems, (problems we’re familiar with) but if you believe PR is the panacea to solve our ills… get real. It turns one set of problems in for another set of problems.

    I also know I’ll “plump the vote”, by voting for the Rural-Urban Proportional system 1st Choice only, so as to have the most impact to sway the vote to the best choice available… FPTP.

    (Response: I’m not sure how plumping would work in this case or whether it could even result in that system being successful! But your argument of individualism vs collectivism is fascinating and raises a more reasons why I will support first-past-the-post. The unforeseen consequences of p.r, could indeed reduce the importance of individuals in the voting process … and, as I mentioned in my piece, give very small groups very big power in minority government situations. Pass it on! h.o)

  • 5 DBW // Oct 4, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I disagree

    First, using India and Pakistan isn’t the best example as they both use FPTP.

    Second, I am not sure what you are afraid of. A party advocating Sharia Law in a province with a Muslim population of 1% and most of them not likely to support Sharia Law?? No way a party like that reaches any kind of province wide threshold. They are more likely to get a single seat in a predominantly Muslim riding that splits the vote under FPTP. Think Elizabeth May whose popularity in her riding far exceeds the Green Party nationwide.

    Three, why do you assume fringe parties are necessarily negative. Except for the Liberals and Conservatives all of our parties started as some kind of fringe group.

    Four, many of these so-called fringe parties are already hidden within the big parties instead of out in the open. We criticize the NDP for being influenced by its environmental fringe group. The CPC is criticized for being controlled by the former Reform Party. You have claimed that the federal Green Party has been infiltrated by anti-Semitics.

    If the BC Liberal Party for example actually was Liberal and a Conservative Party actually existed in BC then people would have greater choice. With a likely four way split of the vote, it would be interesting to see if the NDP and an actual Liberal Party could work together or would that actual Liberal Party work with the Conservatives.

    Five, lunatic fringe groups like the Nazi type party in Germany do not necessarily gain the balance of power even when they meet that threshold. None of the other parties in the German government will work with them.

    And as loathsome as some of their ideas may be, shouldn’t those people have some kind of voice when they reach that threshold? Or would we rather they be hiding in the shadows undermining society in secrecy?

    In fact that German party with 10% of the vote got that vote mainly because of the immigration/migrant problem in Europe, something that many people writing on here would agree needs addressing. Besides, they would have got seats under FPTP anyway.

    No Harvey, I am not afraid of ProRep. I am more afraid of the continuing fractious party politics of FPTP where majority governments are elected with 40% of the vote.

    Canada has five federal parties. BC has four if we count the weakened Conservatives. Little New Brunswick has four! FPTP works well in two party systems. But we are long past that.

    (Response: I referred to countries like India and Pakistan as examples of where ethnic and religious and even tribal divisions can result in chaotic political situations. If you don’t like those examples, look at Iraq … which has p.r and where it took two months to form a convoluted government …that won’t likely last long; or how about Greece ..where p.r. has made election divisions in this birthplace of democracy even worse. And take a look at Israel where religious extremists hold a lot more power in government and thus in public life and in forming the laws, thanks to p.r., than the vast majority of the population would ever give them under f.p.t.p. h.o.)

  • 6 D. M. Johnston // Oct 4, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Which is more evil, proportional representation, where the possibility of a small party gains a little power or the colonial first past the post system, where we elect absolutely corrupt government who have absolute power for four years.

    Pick your poison because the little guy always gets screwed.

  • 7 13 // Oct 4, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    SLEAZY! That describes all the players in this current drive to pad pensions and hold onto power.
    NDP sleaze that would sell their first born in order to form a government . They didnt have to look far to find a sleazy partner in Andy Weaver. He has looked the other way so many times that his neck must be almost paralyzed. Back to the NDP sleaze. Knowing that their chance to remain in power and to pay off the sleazy Weaver bunch they designed the most lopsided convoluted referendum ever thought of. No super majority. No minimum turn out. If only 5 British Columbians voted 3 votes would carry the day.
    Eby , Horgan, Weaver etc must have a hard time keeping straight faces when this referendum is mentioned.
    This bunch of sleazy politicians couldnt care less about making votes count. They care about uniting a deeply divided left in order to keep the honest hard working conservative right on the side lines. CC take a curtain call your LNG dream is coming true.

  • 8 Thresher // Oct 4, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Gotta disagree with you on this one Harvey. DBW hit the nail on the head. Prop Rep will allow everyone to have a voice with their vote.

    I don’t doubt that there will be an early push for some fringe groups to form parties – but the time and money to run a campaign to win any amount of votes will put off a lot of them.

    You may be right that some ethnic groups will form, I can see a Chinese party in Richmond and an Indian party in Surrey, but are they going to elect more that a few MLAs if any? And really, if there is enough to elect one or two or three MLAs why shouldn’t they be allowed the right?

    I wonder Harvey if you are suffering from the same problem I seem to have – getting old! 🙂 I am still a couple of years from retirement but I have noticed that my point of view has veered toward one that expects the worst from change and from the younger generation!

    Perhaps we should get a couple of rocking chairs and we can sit on the veranda, reminisce about the good old days and yell at kids who walk on the lawn!

    (Response: Sit on a veranda? Only if its part of my cruise ship cabin! I’m a NEW kind of old fart. Meanwhile in disagreeing with me, you made my point exactly when you wrote that ethnic parties wouldn’t elect “more that a few MLAs”. That’s the problem… any extreme group (ethnic, religious, neo-cons, anti-women’s rights, homophobic etc ) could do that under a p.r. system that sees seats awarded on votes totalled all across the province, … but under first-past-the-post, seats are awarded only in individual ridings, so it would be virtually impossible for extreme fringe groups of any kind pile up enough votes to get ANY seats. If anyone wants to avoid the potential divisive chaos that could result as an unintended consequence of p.r., then vote NO to proportional representation. h.o.)

  • 9 Diverdarren // Oct 4, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Harvey, what I mean by “plumping the vote” by choosing FPTP and then only marking my preference for Urban-Rural Proportional System is that if the referendum moves to PR, then I want Urban-Rural PR because it is the system which will most likely expose the flaws in PR to the people.

    Urban-Rural, a system that only lives only in the mind of some political scientist. It is the system that would be the hardest for the Progressive statists to hide the inherent flaws of PR.

    Once the people see the flaws in Urban-Rural, problems that exist in all forms of PR, then when the review of the referendum comes along in a few years, an enlightened public will see the wisdom of FPTP. Even with it’s predictable problems.

    Like Churchill said, Democracy is the worst form of governance, except for all others.

  • 10 BMCQ // Oct 4, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    DBW – 5

    Thresher – 8

    As usual DBW makes good points butto me I feel Canadian Democracy is FAR TOO important for PR.

    Canada nor any other True Democracy can afford that Democracy to be eroded by a System that ends up with “Rhe Tail Wagging the Dog” as Harvey points out in his response to Thresher.

    As to the DBW comments about Germany? I travel more than i would like and over the past 19 months I have been in some very poor countries that have trouble but they also have kind, hard working generous citizens working toward a good life and they all have a smile on their face. I left Frankfurt Monday and the same as last October I have never seen more miserable unhappy people. Even people with money or a so called Higher Station in Life do not crack a smile. Have you ever seen a smile on the face of Merkel?


    Germany is still trying to cobble together a Government under PR and it is a mess.

    Germany has about 50% of Voters who have Stockholm Syndrome and will Vote Centre Left/Socialist, Merkel Masquerades as a Conservative but she is anything but. They then have about 45% thst are moderate Conservative and about 5% Hard Right and Skin Head Nazi.

    World and German Leftist Media love to paint anyone that is concerned with Bad Migration as a Nazi and it is not true.

    Without control of Migration and without Defined Borders and without the ability to defend and secure those Borders one has NO Country, simply ask the Germans, Swedes, Brits, or any other EU Nations and they will tell you.

    NO Country can afford to allow Migration of those that believe their Religion Supersedes That Countries Rule of Law.

    PR is just the beginning of a very slippery slope and I am quite sure that before the end of 2018 B.C. Will have just that!

    After PR various Politicians will have their own little nations and things will become very complicated very quickly.

    And does anyone here believe that PR will reduce the size of Government? Make Government more Efficient? Save already Working Tax Payers Money?

    And please do not come back at me with “The Price of Democracy” BS.

    Never trust anyone that approaches you and states the following.

    “Hello, I am from the Government and I am here to help” !


  • 11 Art Smith // Oct 5, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Harvey, I agree wholeheartedly with you PR is ridiculous way to try and run a diverse province. For one thing , the threshold is way too small, if you are going to run with this at least make it 10% to achieve recognition not 5%. I also fear the people in the hinterlands will be deprived of much of their representation as the lower mainland flexes its might. The way I read it, and I might be wrong, one votes for a party and they then tell you who will represent you, therefore you have even less choice than you had before.
    I listen to people like GTB and others of his ilk trying to take the moral high ground, when really what it looks to be, is jealousy, that they very seldom get their way, so they whine and complain and want the rules to be changed.
    If the way these people think is so great, why can’t they get more people to go along with them. I’m guessing it’s because most people are quite happy with the way things are in one of the best countries in the world, even though we do have problems. But why exacerbate them with a bunch of special interest, tail wagging the dog parties.
    One of the best things about FPTP is, if they suck, get rid of them in the next election. With PR some of these fringe parties will always be around, because they will always get their certain number of adherents out to vote, never enough to be the government, but always enough to be a pain and maybe gain some power when voters split the main parties. In essence, they serve no useful purpose and just get in the way of getting things done. As an example look at Weaver and co., they thought they would be relevant, but they only huff and puff, because they know if they provoke an election, they are toast, so they just hang around, with PR they can probably keep or get a few more seats which is why they desperately want it.
    Sorry to go on at length, but another thing to think about, fringe party members, if they survive two election cycles get a very nice pension for doing nothing except being appointed by their party boss and we get to pay for it.

    (Response: Really good point on the fact that small fringe or extremist parties would always be around … because no matter how much the majority reject their ideas and even hateful, discriminatory ideology, they could still garner enough votes province-wide to get a seat or even a few and hold hostage a mainstream party trying to make a government in a minority power situation. Let’s hope enough voters understand the dangers involved in p.r. … and protect our democracy from being splintered and power being inadvertently handed to extremists. h.o.)

  • 12 John Jensen // Oct 5, 2018 at 6:41 am

    Perhaps the FPTP system should be modified so that all members of provincial legislatures and Parliament can truly represent the wishes of the people in their ridings and do away with party whips ordering all members to vote yes for a government policy or bill. Wouldn’t this be far more democratic?

    (Response: Will never happen … because the last thing any party leader and cabinet members/strategists want are MLAs who will actually think or act independently. On the odd occasion, we do see a member take a stand contrary to party or government policy, but unless it’s a declared “free” vote, they are usually punished for doing so to send a message to others not to be so independent. h.o.)

  • 13 Chuckstraight // Oct 5, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I`ll still take proportional over 39% majorities.

  • 14 SG // Oct 5, 2018 at 11:28 am

    The fix is in. There’s hundreds if not thousands of older British Columbian snowbirds (most of whom undoubtedly want to keep FPTP) who will be well on their way to all points south before the mail-in ballots are mailed out on October 22. Unless they can provide elections BC with a forwarding address, they’re SOL. I asked elections BC if my package could be sent to me by private currier (fed ex) because I won’t have a fixed mailing address while I’m out of the country, but I can easily go to a Fed Ex office once I reach my destination. I was told absolutely not, elections BC will only use Canada Post. This is one time when I wish we had the opportunity to vote online.

  • 15 Gene The Bean // Oct 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Art #13 – I take the moral high ground because I actually have morals. Too bad more people cant say that.

  • 16 Art Smith // Oct 5, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    GTB #15-Just because one puts a lot of people down doesn’t mean one is taking the high ground.

  • 17 Eldon // Oct 5, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Issues in rural and northern areas would be ignored in a PR system. FPP has done Canada well for over 150 years. I like Canada and would like to see our institutions continue. I will be voting for FPP.

    (Response: I think a lot of the potential religious or ethnic or radical parties, that will live, breathe and work in urban areas under p.r., will only be interested in rural voters from point of view of achieving a seat or two so they can push their largely urban agendas. By the way, I read today that there are already 27 parties registered with Elections BC: imagine how many there will be if we go p.r.!! As I said …chaos. h.o)

  • 18 Diverdarren // Oct 5, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    I get the appeal that PR appears to have when you read through their arguments. DBW and Thresher lay out two of the common ones. The complaint that Governments formed with 40% support, and PR will allow everyone to have a voice with their vote.

    Is this a real issue, a failing of FPTP, that PR addresses?

    Governments formed with 40%.

    This is true, but it suggests that the other 60% is opposed to the elected candidate, and that is the fallacy. Say a hypothetical society has a Right- a Centre- and a Left candidate. An election is held and Center candidate gets 40% of the votes in a riding and is elected. That means the Right and Left candidates divided the remaining 60% of the vote between them, and it had to split no greater than 39% for one and 21% for the other.

    First, a vote is for a candidate, not against a candidate. Meaning we can’t conclude the 60% of the riding is against the winner. In fact the largest group of like-minded people in the riding got the representative they wanted, and the riding will be represented by the candidate that has the largest support, not necessarily the majority of support. That 60% of voters that we think of as the majority are not of a like-mind in their support of a single candidate, so is it really accurate to refer them as the majority if they’re not of a like mind?
    Everyone should have a voice with their vote.

    This leads back to the idea that representative democracy should speak for the smallest group reasonable.

    Were we a pure democracy that smallest group would be the individual. Each individual would vote yea or nay on every decision, and the majority wins. This would be the most perfect democracy and the fairest. The ideal goal, so to say. But, this isn’t reasonable nor is it what our society has. In fact no society has this system, we have representative democracy.

    It’s suggested that PR representative democracy is fairer as it gives everyone a voice. Is that indeed more fair? Let’s look at that. Keeping in mind that ideal goal of a pure democracy

    If some group of like-minded voters is 10% of the population and they brought an issue to be voted on in our hypothetical pure democracy, then they could vote as a block (which is fair), but it would not pass if the other 80% said nay. (which also is fair).

    Now put this same 10% of like-minded voters in a PR system of representative democracy. Things change considerably. These people that made up a block of only 10% of the population now could have the power to act as a swing vote to force concessions from the government in power, or for a government to surrender to a demand or be toppled. Is that a more fair system? They didn’t have that power in the pure democracy, right.

    If the ideal goal is a pure democracy, and this 10% group could never compel their will over the others in a pure democracy, how is it that in PR where the minority can compel their wishes, is a fairer system than FPTP? The scenario of the “10%” compelling their will is much less prevalent in the FPTP system.

    FPTP is closer to a pure democracy than PR because its source of power is closer to the individual, in the form of the riding. PR’s source of power is from the whole of those being governed, and can create situations more departed from that ideal goal of a pure democracy.

    (Response: Proportional representation reminds me of the political correctness angst our education system went through a few years ago …when some called for EVERY student to be given a gold star or ribbon in any competition because they didn’t want anyone to feel they lost …even if they did. LOL! Let’s keep t real: in elections, there ARE losers … and the scariest part is under p.r. systems where votes province-wide are all added in, and could even prop up the fourth, fifth and sixth place finishing “parties” enough so they could lose, but still win seats … and, get this, then hold the balance of power in certain minority government situations. Yech! Dangerous! Maybe we could just award them ribbons instead! h.o)

  • 19 DBW // Oct 5, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    One last chance and I will go away and hibernate for the winter.

    Your fear mongering about fringe parties just doesn’t cut it.

    You state that 27 parties are now registered in BC. In the last election 97.48% of the vote went to the Liberals, the NDP, and the Greens.

    The next largest group at 1.06% were 31 independents. Then 10 Conservatives got .53% That is 99.07% of the vote.

    Unless they win a riding outright, no party will get seats unless they get 5% of the vote province wide.

    Tell me which fringe party is going to get to that threshold except the not so fringe Conservative Party. They got over 4% in 2013 when they fielded a full slate.

    I support ProRep. People can support FPTP, and I have no problem. It’s a good debate no matter because we are discussing how to improve our electoral system. I like reading Diverdarren who opposes Pro Rep but might support some kind of ranked ballot to ensure that the most acceptable candidate represents the riding. I am OK with that.

    What I can’t accept is the scare tactic that we will end up with multiple parties (Nazis, Sharia Law Muslims, whatever) when the Math says its impossible.

    And if some group in the future does feel aggrieved enough to form a party and win support from 5% of the population, then I would argue that their voices should be heard. Diverdarren says that they shouldn’t get any potential voice but I would suggest that governments are not just for the majority but for legitimate minorities as well.

    No government is going to support the unacceptable demands of say a Nazi Party should that Nazi Party somehow get province wide support. But why not listen to the legitimate concerns of say an environmental group or a regional group.

    And don’t forget that tiny, fringe parties do not have the balance of power. Pretend worst case that the Peoples Alliance and the Greens in New Brunswick were extremist parties totally unacceptable to everybody except their base. I believe that the Liberals and Conservatives would set aside their minor differences rather than giving credence to crazies.

    While I support ProRep, I can understand reasons for opposing it . Fear of fringe parties holding the government hostage isn’t one of them.

    (Response: BC is certainly no where near having a Nazi party getting enough votes to count: but don’t dismiss so easily the possibility that parties supporting “Christian family heritage” or “Chinese cultural values” or East Indian or Khalistan support parties or an Islamic values alliance could not make inroads if their votes are dded up province-wide, not just in individual ridings. Seriously, look at Israel, Brazil, South Africa and the entire EU to see how splinter/small/radical political/religious parties have affected various votes and wielded excessive powers in propping up/deciding which party forms government. h.o.)

  • 20 e.a.f. // Oct 6, 2018 at 1:40 am

    “hello I am here from the government to help you”. “BMCQ, I ACTUALLY have the sticker for that one, except it does have a person holding a gun. Usually keep it by the front door in a large glass item with trees and shells. Its to remind me to be very careful about the government and especially when they want to change things, radically and I do believe PRR is about radical change, which doesn’t serve us well.

    I have seen how minority parties representing only a few, keep majority parties on a very short leash to achieve their agendas. Politicians will cave to things they normally wouldn’t just to hang on to power.

    I truly believe if a party has a message they will get it out and eventually get to where they want to. Some times it takes a very long time, as in the NDP and Greens. I still like the traditional parties because if people want to get involved in politics they join Canadian organizations, not segregated groups with no contact outside of their group. that just doesn’t make for good politics, as we’ve seen in the tribalism politics in various countries/

  • 21 13 // Oct 6, 2018 at 6:30 am

    After reading these comments one of my biggest fears will be that if PR wins the day an already bloated public sector will expand to enormous “proportions”.
    Pensions after serving two terms? Only in the public trough dwelling sector.
    It seems that it easy to claim the moral high road when your getting a defined and indexed pension funded by the morally bankrupt private sector.

    (Response: The actual number of MLAs could be kept unchanged, solving that problem. But there would indeed likely be much higher election costs … as the number of parties and candidates and challenges explode. h.o.)

  • 22 13 // Oct 6, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Harvey your response at 21 is optimistic. Im thinking to my self when was the last time an NDP government chose to keep the size of government the same.
    DOUG FORD the fiscal alternative to Kathleen Wynn has decided to trim the Toronto city council by 50%. Apparently that is a violation of public sector charter rights. If every level of government was cut back by even 25% imagine the tax dollars that could be reallocated to worthwhile endevours. Smaller government is a conservative ideal.
    I would bet a public sector pension that PR will raise our already over burdened tax load to crippiling levels. eaf would argue that high taxation and high costs to run the government lift the public sector workers out of poverty. Ive never understood that argument as I dont think to many CUPE CUPW BCGEU etc types are lining up at the food bank. Only the hard working private sector workers that actually produce goods and services and pay taxes end up in poverty level situations.
    I can hardly wait for the debate between Wilkinson and Horgan happens. Bill Good to moderate.
    Happy Thanksgiving

  • 23 BMCQ // Oct 7, 2018 at 5:07 am

    SG – 14

    You are correct, “The Fix is In” !

    And that is just the way Weaver, Hogan, Meggs and their Minion want it. Then of course Media other than perhaps Harvey will pay no attention and you will soon be ruled by a System Voted in by less than 20% of the population of B.C..

    “Nothing to see folks,just go about your day, you will not notice a thing”.

    Art – 16

    It is rather unfortunate but some on this Blog only find Moral High Ground in the Darkness of their Own Basement.

    Tying into al of this what Canada requires is “Two Term Limits” for Politicians at all Three Levels of Government. No Pensions!

    Increase the Pay/Salary by about 33% and have Elected Officials Fund their own Pension Plan, then when they are retired they have their own Pension and Tax Payers are rid of them. Politicians would also find it much easier to vote for meaningful Legislation, especially during their Last Term. No need to worry about a Re-Election. Two Term Limits would also assist in limiting Lobbyists as well, time to do away with that all together.

    e.a.f. – 20

    I like that Sticker, pleased to see how you feel about PR,see you can be correct every once in a while! ?

    DBW – 19

    Do not hibernate, keep contributing on a regular basis, you always make me think more about my position whatever it happens to be and that is important.

    I am sure that almost all but one or two on this Blog are genuinely interested in opposing points of view and sometimes I agree with you.

    How many on this Blog are like me and feel the Mail In Ballot is a Manipulation and Bastardization (is that a word) of Demoracy at best?

    Keep in mind that the Gordon Campbell Liberals attempted to have a STV Referendum and it was turned down by Voters.

    I am away from Vancouver but following news and have not seen much of a debate or discussion in Media Reports.

    I am Aghast!

  • 24 Gene The Bean // Oct 8, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Almost every single person on this blog has whined and complained, moaned and groaned, lamented and lambasted the BROKEN political system.

    So when there is a movement to work towards potentially fixing it, some of you say NO WAY.

    Maybe YOU are the reason the system is broken?

    The definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.


  • 25 nonconfidencevote // Oct 8, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Proportional Representation
    More smoke and mirrors from morally bankrupt politicians bereft of any new ideas.

    Here’s an idea to clean up politics.

    How about banning ALL lobbying?
    Ban all forms of “volunteer” campaigning a la Unionized govt employees taking a “sabbatical” to work on a pro union campaign?
    Ban big money in all its insidious forms from the political process.

    We have the internet now.
    Campaign debates via tv or internet at a certain time on certain dates for all to see the delegate choices.
    No ads, no placards, no thinly veiled private(or public) sector partisan propaganda…

    Just get BIG MONEY away from politics.

    Its that simple.
    BIG MONEY corrupts everything and everyone it touches.

  • 26 Hawgwash // Oct 8, 2018 at 10:54 am

    I struggle with the mechanics of PR and the published information doesn’t go far in helping me, so, I don’t know yet what I will do.

    As a related, unrelated issue, can anyone explain how PR might have affected the Quebec results?

  • 27 Jay Jones // Oct 8, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    I could see giving pr a try had BC gone from being great to being pathetic while using the fptp. However, BC went from being great to being world-class while using fptp.

    What BC doesn’t have but really needs, is a world-class political party. Expecting things to go well for a world-class province while mediocre leadership is in place, is like expecting a university to do well while it’s being managed by a group of toddlers.

    Would toddlers manage a university better if pr was used instead of fptp? Of course not, however, moving from a toddler management group to an adult management group would of course greatly improve things for the university.

    (Response: Maybe instead of the dangerous, tiny-party encouraging system we’d get under proportional representation, we should try the modified first past the post system used in many other countries for their leaders: a runoff of the top two candidates if none of those running captures more than 50% in the first round. In fact, in a country as rich as Canada, we could even do that where the same occurs in individual ridings … so any premier and any MLA or MP could clearly claim to be the choice of MOST of those who voted in that riding or for leader. Surely that would be better than letting a third or fourth or even fifth finishing minor party hold the other parties hostage in a minority situation. h.o.)

  • 28 13 // Oct 8, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    GTB you are spreading almost fake news. You are right that every person that follows a political blog like this one tends to complain. Where you take a bit of license is with the “broken political system”.
    You complain about morally bankrupt conservatives. you complain about “oldsters” and fear of change. Your fondness of the expecting …………………….is definition of insanity quote is not accurate. We all vote every 4 years and we all expect the party we vote for to win. Most of the complaining comes from people like you and me that cant deal with the outcome.
    So if we had PR we would still have conservatives. We will still have oldsters. We will still have winners and losers. The part that this oldster fears is we would not have governments with mandates we would have political parties keeping promises to one another instead of to the voters.
    Our political system isnt broken. Im not afraid of anything. I am damned unhappy about an NDP government much like you were when the Liberals were in power. I even accept the fact that the NDP are in control because of promises made to another political party inspite of the promises they made to voters.

  • 29 BMCQ // Oct 9, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    As most here aware Horgan and Weaver both made a Big Deal talking bout getting Big Money out of Campaigns etc. and then they both waffled. What a Shock.

    I agree with what NonCon days for the most part, Legislation similar to what he suggests should be enacted and it should include Work In Kind from Unions, Business, and any Special Interest Groups.

    Political Parties and the Legislature can monitor Campaigns and others to ensure there is no advantage taken. I am quite sure Parties will monitor each other as well.

    I must admit that Harvey offers up some interesting points in his response to Jay, some interesting food for thought. Well worth a discussion. PR and STV are not the way but perhaps there may be a way to improve FPTP without the threat of Special Interest, Religious, or Ethic Groups affecting Democracy.

    I am not sure that anything affected the Que or Ont Election Results other than Hard Working Tax Paying People/Voters got sick and tired of Ruling Elite Leftist NDP/Liberal SJW Leftist Activist Politicians Running inefficient, bloated, bungling cesspools of bureaucracy catering to those that do not work and want free stuff. Get ready for Alta to turn the same way. Thank You Brexit and DJT for Shining a Light!

    Tick Tock!

    Hopefully somehow Scheer will come out of the Wirness Protection Program before PM Justin sends Canadians to Hell in a Hand Cart.

    I am once again in another Nation Governed by PR
    And it is a Bloated Government Full of Waste and Corruption.

    I am begging Canadian and B.C. Media to force a discussion and debate about PR, the People of B.C. Should not be influenced by the Proposal put Ford by Horgan, Eby, Meggs, and their Minions.

    (Response: A runoff system, as I stated in another reply, is the way to go. Why isn’t anyone in the media even raising this? Seems to me the solution is first to DEFEAT the current push to adopt proportional representation …and then the government should … maybe even in conjunction with the opposition …look at a runoff system. That way EVERY ridi9ng could be represented by an MLA who wins at least 50% of the vote!! Wouldn’t that be great! h.o.)

  • 30 e.a.f. // Oct 9, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Harvey, I love your response to #27, with candidates having to achieve 50% of the vote to gain their seats. In my opinion, it would be better than both systems.

    That way, a candidate really would represent at least 50% of the voters in the constituency. It would cause MLAs and MPs to think twice before they voted on an issue which effected the voters in their riding, knowing they got there not because of their own party, but because people thought they might represent their interests. Many would be there because of two or three other party’s voters.

    If my vote wasn’t going to put my choice of MLA/MP in office, I’d be looking for the next best thing.

    I might even vote for a Red Tory if they had any left in the country. Many of us would be looking for a candidate who had not sworn un dying allegiance to their party, but rather to the voters who put them into office.

    (Response: A runoff system would accomplish much: it would ensure that whoever serves does indeed have the support of more than 50% of those voting and in every riding … a rare accomplishment these days; and it would prevent the danger I have pointed out, that under proportional representation, tiny ,even radical/extreme parties could be able to gain just enough votes to blackmail a larger minority party. And I’d bet a runoff would also generate a good deal more excitement around the voting process than we see now! The WORKING media …. reporters, radio hosts, columnists) should be asking our leaders/politicians/political experts about this much more reasonable alternati9ve:” perhaps someone should wake them up. h.o)

  • 31 Harry Lawson // Oct 9, 2018 at 9:52 pm


    To quote the Simpsons tv show won’t somebody think of the children. Lol. Many posters have raised many pertinent issues yet has any one really thought of our future generations future. Political expediency is what has gotten us into this mess. I truly believe the question of proportional rep . Should be part of a general election , a mail in ballot is not a mandate . Won’t somebody please think of the children.

    (Response: Having the question posed during an actual election would probably result in a larger vote turnout than we will likely see with the mail in ballot. And anyone who remembers how Horgan/NDP vowed to proceed two years ago is quite different than what they are now trying to push through. It’s a farce… and should be rejected: vote to keep first-past-the-post … and then let’s proceed with something better: read my NEXT blog! h.o.)

  • 32 DBW // Oct 10, 2018 at 8:02 am

    I know I said I would go hibernate and I did try by not responding to some comments that followed mine. But I just have to respond to #31 with a challenge.

    Think of the children. Think of the children. Think of the children.

    I am 67 years old. I am guessing that the predominant age group represented by the majority of regular responders here is over 60.

    So here is my challenge. Forget about us and what we say. Let the children decide.

    Get a group of high school kids or university age “kids”, the under 30s. Those who have not been biased by years of voting under FPTP.

    Get Tielemann or Wilkerson or whoever supports FPTP and then get Horgan or Fair Vote BC or whoever and put them in a room with those “kids” and present their cases.

    If we really care about the kids, let them decide. And I am willing to bet that at the end of the day, FPTP would not be the choice.

    (Response: There’s a better solution to the dangerous p.r. without keeping the existing fptp … or letting the kids decide … will write about it in my next blog. h.o.)

  • 33 Gene The Bean // Oct 10, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    DBW #32 – you make an interesting point. Thanks.

    Elections will soon be decided by those under 30 instead of those over 55. I think that is a good thing. I am confident that those under 30 will look after EVERYONES interests – not just their own. Too bad the over 55’s cant say that, huh folks?

    FPTP is an outdated and divisive system – that’s why conservatives love it. It breaks things down instead of building things up. It makes people ‘angry’ at the ‘other’ side. It is about survival of the fittest – the unfit be damned. FPTP is nothing more than a dog whistle for conservatives. Why do you think they are fighting so hard?

    Sorry Harvey, it isn’t because the BC/Thailand Ladyboy Party or the Wicked Wiccan Sisters Alliance Party might have an MLA elected. But …. what if some “fringe” group did garner enough votes? In a democracy, shouldn’t they be ‘represented’ too? We are enslaved by an outdated and divisive political selection process. I know, I know, it’s a change and some of you ‘past your prime’ types just cant go there. Don’t worry, if PR is successful, you can still yell at the neighbourhood kids to get off your lawn!

    Harvey, lets keep it real. You cant tell me you would not relish an interview at budget time with a sitting MLA from the Ungendered Asian Fortniter’s Sill Living at Home Alliance Party!

    Seriously though, could an occasional ‘fringe’ group elect an MLA – sure. Doesn’t scare me. But what if it is an ‘ethic’ group? Don’t care. All the mainstream parties now have those same groups, unassimilated, within their ranks. May be better to just expose them. Right?

    We have all heard the saying ‘S*&t or get off the pot’. Here is your chance to go to a potentially minority based collaborative style of government or just, yawn, stay with the same-o and bitch and whine about it.

    Your choice could actually make a difference.

    Or not.

    (Response: “Conservatives” love fptp? One of the top campaigners AGAINST getting rid of fptp and changing to p.r. is Bill Tieleman … long time NDP strategist/worker … hardly a Conservative. h.o.)

  • 34 13 // Oct 10, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Harvey I just recd a letter from my union. I am sickened that my union dues are being used to destroy my democratic right to vote as I choose.

    This vote is so deceitful , so corrupt, so typically NDP that disgust with the lies told by the NDP and their total disregard for voters is beyond belief.

    Ive emailed you a copy of the letter. Be sure to stand over a toilet when you read it.

    (Response: I know many members don’t like it when unions take on all kinds of non-labour-related issues … usually from a far left wing, even radical, perspective. I think that HURTS unions’ image and makes it more difficult to organize. But IU guess if Chambers of Commerce and business organizations can do it, so can unions … even if I often disagree with the stances they take. h.o.)

  • 35 BMCQ // Oct 10, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    It is just after 6:00 AM where I am in Bordeaux, i am in my 5th Country in about 10 days, some of the countries I have been in have Elected Governments by PR and they all virtually suffer from the fact they have Gridlock, Bloated Legislative Bodies, Costly Inefficient Beuracracies, Trade Offs by those Fringe Groups, and Confusion because they have Elected members from goofy Fringe PR Parties that represent every silly Juvenile PC Idea in existence. Hell if some of them had their way today they would pass Legislstion to do away with Urinals for the use of what was once known as they Male Species. Oh wait, I believe VNcouver City Mayor Mumbles Robertson has adopted that great idea.

    It actually sickens me how someone like Mr. Bean would stoop to anything to somehow guarantee that a Conservative might not be successful when running for Government at any level, no matter who gets elected instead, even if it is poor old Doing Henning and His Flying Yogit Party, “But please not a Conservative” !

    Bill Tieleman might not agree with me about much but he helped lead the fight against the Gordon Campbell STV with Vander Zalm, think about that, those two on the same side!!

    For anyone like Bean to want anything other than a Conservative no matter who or what points out to me that some individuals in our Great Country and Democracy are worth only and entitled to One Quarter of One Vote.


    Some here like DBW, and perhaps others have some good reasoning behind their opinions and that is fine, I just do not agree, but at least they are thinking.

    Going back to Run Offs suggested by Harvey, I actually believe they are worth a discussion and frankly I am very surprised those same Run Offs have not been discussed in Media, after all we are soon about to change our way of Electing Officials with a Mail ?In of less than 20% of Eligible Voters.

    What a Horrible Mistake and what a Sad Sickenibg Way to allow a Bunch Of Thugs like Horgan, Meggs, Weaver, and the Rest decide the Future of a Great Province like B.C. !!