One hundred years ago, in 1919, William Lyon Mackenzie King proclaimed that 1921 would be the last election held under FPTP. Once elected, he lost his appetite for change, declaring that the Liberal Party was in favour of proportionality, in principle only. A few years later, facing election, King again promised “pro rep,” only to break his promise a second time.
If this sounds eerily familiar, that’s because Justin Trudeau used almost identical words to promise that 2015 will be ‘the last election under FPTP.’ Remarkably, both PMs formed all-party committees to study the subject, only to shelve the findings.
And it’s not just the Liberal Party. Rachel Notley’s NDP government in Alberta quietly pulled electoral reform from the party policy book when the polls were looking good. Stephen Harper famously said that “many of Canada’s problems stem from a winner-take-all style of politics.”
Plus ça change….
We have a historic opportunity before us in B.C. right now. With a little ink mark on a piece of paper, we can change the political landscape.
Pro rep systems produce more collaborative governments and they attract politicians who are willing to work together. Voter turnout increases, especially for youth. Pro rep systems elect more women and minorities, they protect us from extremists and they offer stable policy that lasts. Pro rep systems ensure that all our votes will count.
I will be voting for proportional representation and I hope you will too. Let’s not wait another century.