BC Referendum Should Be About Better Government!


By Miles Clyne

In trying to decide on first past the post (FPTP) or a version of proportional representation (PR), I’ve come to the personal conclusion our government is asking the wrong question. I want better government, and I doubt whether FPTP or a form of PR would change the current status quo of how governments behave.

The very fact we are having to decide again on a change to the election process is an example of wasted tax dollars. Multiple times in the past BC citizens have been asked this question and the answer has consistently been no. We are at it again because of a coalition government, where the minority party is forcing its agenda on everyone. If they, the Green Party, don’t get their way and withdraw their support for the NDP, the NDP Government falls. 

Is it hypocrisy in a democratic society where the smallest group gets to dictate their agenda?   Where, by a stroke of luck, a party find themselves in a situation where they can force their will on the masses and take advantage of the situation they are in at the expense of taxpayers?

My concern is that I want honest and accountable politicians governing us. I really would not care a wit what voting structure we had if we could trust our politicians.  What it looks like to me is the reason we are having this referendum is a result of politics, vs. what is in the best interest of our province.

What I’d prefer to be casting my vote on in a referendum is a process of government that would see the end of special interest back room deals. Where an independent part of government that could act independent of the party in power was responsible for ensuring all major capital projects were approved on merit. Where a non-partisan review was done ensuring any major project met standards to prove they were both economically and environmentally viable, and where they fell in priority to other projects.

Having higher standardized processes that were mandatory for all major capital projects could hopefully reduce the pork barreled behavior we have to live with. We could then elect individuals who had better ideas rather than those better at politics and telling us what we want to hear, then doing the contrary.   

The Green Party find themselves in a situation of power, though their agenda was rejected by the majority. By virtue of a coalition government they have a degree of power they never have had before. What does their leader do with this power? He compromises his policies to force an agenda that if passed could ensure the greater likelihood of more Greens elected.

Is this bad politics where you can force the agenda of a few on many? Clearly not to the Green party leader if it means the likelihood of getting more of your party elected in the future.  We must never confuse good politics with what is right for the citizens. Good politics have now come to mean what is best for a politician or their party, not what is best governance for the people.