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Local group to support electoral reform

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Fair Vote Kamloops
December 04, 2017 - 10:40 AM

December 3, 2017, Kamloops, BC – There’s change in the air! A group of Kamloopsians has formed a grassroots organization to support proportional representation. Fair Vote Kamloops is preparing to engage local voters in advance of next year’s referendum on proportional representation (PR).

In response to the government consultation process for the referendum announced last week, Fair Vote Kamloops is encouraging everyone to fill out the online survey using the guide prepared by Fair Vote Canada. The guide provides more context on questions which might appear confusing at first. Links to the survey and the guide are available at http://www.fairvote.ca/bc-government-consultation-survey-guide/.

Fair Vote Kamloops is planning to ramp up its public activities in the new year and is looking for more volunteers. “We are just a bunch of ordinary people who all agree that First Past The Post is long past its Best Before date. Research from all over the world shows that proportional representation provides superior results: better quality legislation, higher voter turnout, and higher voter satisfaction levels. Our country is one of only 3 developed countries in the world still using First Past The Post—the other two are the UK and the US, both of which are struggling democratically right now,” says Gisela Ruckert, who is coordinating the group. “We believe it’s time to evolve our democracy. Those arguing for the status quo have far deeper pockets than we do, so we are relying on people power.” 

Contrary to myths circulated by opponents, Ruckert maintains that rural representation will actually be improved under proportional representation. Since the major parties have significant voter support in all areas of the province, all regions of the province would elect MLAs to both government and opposition. “The interior wouldn’t be shut out of government completely, the way we are now, with all of our MLAs stuck on the wrong side of the Legislature in a system where the opposition holds zero power”. Despite the fact that only about half of interior voters supported the Liberals, that party won all the seats in this part of the province. Under PR, this region would have MLAs in Victoria from both the Liberals and the NDP, and quite likely the Greens as well. Regional sweeps by one party would be a thing of the past. “We think opponents to PR are dead wrong on this issue. Rural representation would improve dramatically,” commented Ruckert. “When you compare how the systems work for voters, rather than parties, there’s no comparison—PR wins hand down.”

Those who wish to learn more about proportional representation and the long list of benefits it offers to voters are encouraged to check out http://www.fairvote.ca/pr4bc/ and the Fair Vote Kamloops Facebook page! Messages can be sent via Facebook or to kamloops@fairvote.ca.

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