Joseph Goebbels stated that if you tell a big lie often enough, people will come to believe it. Donald Trump continues to apply this advice to some success… so far.
The critics of electoral reform appear to be doing likewise. Some politicians and a few political pundits have been emphatically and repeatedly ranting on, that the implementation of proportional representation will shift seats and power from rural areas of B.C. and into more urban southwest coastal areas. In addition, some are also railing that it will promote the rise of extremist fringe parties and see them winning seats in the legislature. These are highly speculative, alarmist, false or misinformed statements …
Firstly, we do not yet know what the wording of the referendum question will be, nor which system might be proposed nor the vote threshold a party must receive before it earns any seats. That makes any comment about the results of modernizing our electoral system a matter of conjecture. Secondly, the truth is, none of the forms of proportional representation currently being suggested for B.C. will decrease the number of representatives in any given region, nor change the influence on provincial affairs that any region or area of B.C. now has. If anything, proportional representations will result in enhanced choice, influence and representation for the people of all regions of B.C.
The fear that extreme fringe groups or parties will prosper and flourish under proportional representation is also highly improbable since all parties would likely be required to receive five percent of the vote or around 100,000 votes before qualifying for any seats at all in the B.C. legislature. 100,000 votes are not an easy number to achieve and are far more than just fringe level of support.
So are the pundits and politicians who, in their own self-interest repeatedly predict disaster if we modernize our electoral system using the “big lie” technique on us, simply lying because they lack strong legitimate arguments against proportional representation or are they just woefully uninformed on the whole issue of electoral reform?
Terry W. Robertson