Letters to the editor should be no longer than 250 words and will be edited. Include your address (it won’t be published). E-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com.

Letter: System requires ‘playing nice’

Proportional voting systems fairly distribute power to political parties in proportion to the total number of votes they get, yet there’s a strange paranoia surfacing about imaginary dangers arising from modernizing our electoral system. The sensible – and far more popular worldwide – proportional approach spreads power around (although not to parties with tiny fractions of the vote).

The system we now have hands total power to whichever party gets one more vote, or seat, than the others, and leaves everyone else out in the cold.

Even though cooperation is something our MLA Greg Kyllo’s mother undoubtedly taught him, and even though the Green/NDP coalition earned 330,621 (16 per cent) more votes than his own BC Liberal Party, he labels the coalition “illegitimate” (his word). He sees changing to proportional voting as an evil Green plot!

Marie Kolenosky, a very hardworking and dedicated local health professional (now retired), fears that a proportional system might be too hard for voters to understand.

Proportional voting was set up in Germany after World War II precisely so the Nazi Party could never again come to power. Yet incredibly, NDP spokesperson Bill Tieleman believes that neo-Nazi parties will take over the province if fair proportional voting prevails.

Proportional electoral systems give a voice to all voters, encourage diversity, and allow voters to choose from more than just two dominant parties. BC Liberal partisan Tom Fletcher, fears (like the NDP’s Tieleman) that big parties will lose dominance in a proportional system. He refuses to share political power with citizens who voted for the Green Party or the Conservatives, slandering them as “fringe.”

Reality check: both big parties will have to cooperate with smaller parties in a proportional voting system. It’s called playing nice.

My mother, like Greg Kyllo’s, taught that cooperation’s a good thing.

I still believe it’s true.

Warren Bell

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