It’s time to be bold.
The first past the post voting system that we use to elect our governments, municipal, provincial and federal, is comfortable, like an old habit.
It can also be terribly frustrating and make many voters feel as if their vote doesn’t count.
It can lead to a circumstance where the composition of the legislature or House of Commons does not reflect how many people actually voted for any one party.
Majority governments end up ruling virtually unchecked, even when most of the people in the province or the country voted for someone else.
And this is with people attempting to vote strategically to block a particular candidate or party, rather than for whom they truly support.
That’s a big problem in this day and age when so many young people don’t go to the ballot box.
There are other ways to elect a democratic government. It’s time to seriously consider if one of them could be better than that old comfortable shoe. That’s exactly the opportunity that lies before us with the provincial government’s announcement this week that a referendum on electoral reform is coming.
They have not said what kind of electoral options are on the table, but we think the single-transferrable voting system deserves another chance. This was the system recommended by a citizen’s assembly in 2004, and very narrowly defeated in a referendum in 2005. How close was it? It needed 60 per cent to pass, and got 57.69 per cent. It also got a majority “yes” is 77 of 79 electoral districts. In 2009 another referendum on the question showed less of a hunger for change. But this is the system literally chosen by a group of regular folks from across this province.
We believe there is a room for improvement in our electoral system. We just have to be brave.