OUR VIEW: Be careful who you listen to in the electoral reform debate

Premier John Horgan and BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson recently went head to head in a televised debate over the ongoing referendum on electoral reform.

The TV event was not exactly a high watermark in political discourse as the two men repeatedly shouted over top of each other. It also involved our premier embarrassing himself by using the words “woke” and “lit” in a sentence.

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The BC NDP is pushing for voters to adopt one of the three systems of proportional representation on the mail-in ballot, while the Liberals are hoping citizens will stick with the current system, first past the post.

Unanimously, the crowds agree. The debate was a solid win for people who enjoy attacks over substance.

They accuse each other of simply using the referendum as a means to better their chances of holding power in the future. And they’re both totally correct.

This is why we would ask the electorate to get informed by sources that don’t have partisan self-interest at stake. There’s no shortage of opinions, of course. This newspaper has lost count of the number of letters to the editor it has received in the past few months from people around the province giving their thoughts on prop rep – but it’s definitely in the hundreds.

Based on this huge volume of letters, you’d think the vast majority of people in B.C. are ready to make a decision.

But you’d be wrong. According to the province, only a tiny handful of ballots have been returned so far – Burnaby’s turnout is in the low single digits – which means plenty of you have yet to make up your minds before the Nov. 30 deadline.

Elections BC has published an excellent voter’s guide and videos on their website, which we would recommend as a good starting point.

There are benefits and drawbacks in any system – stability, proportionality, local representation, simplicity and collegiality.

Your decision should be based on your big picture values, not your hopes for who forms government. As history has taught us, the political lay of the land is bound to change regardless of the system we have.

Getting informed and casting a vote is a civic responsibility on par with paying your taxes and filling out the census. Ultimately, this is a question of who will represent you in government.

All we ask is that you first represent yourself.

 

 

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