Electoral Reform

I received a 16 (!) page email from one of the co-ordinators of the BC-STV campaign detailing what he thought went right and wrong during the campaign and what he thought could be done in the future.

In the comments section of thetyee.ca somebody pointed out that in seven or eight  ridings (can’t find the original site), the Liberals won where the NDP/Green vote was in the majority.  We won’t know for sure how the Greens would have preferenced their votes but we can assume. 
Also, Wally Oppal won (so far) his seat by two votes over an independent, Vicki Huntington.  The NDP candidate had over 2800 votes.  I don’t think we have to guess how many of those votes would have gone to Huntington instead of Oppal. 

In other words, with a different electoral system, one involving simple preferencing, the results of this election could have been very different.

As well, the Liberals received a mandate to do whatever they want over the next four years without receiving half of the popular vote.  Ignoring partisanship for a moment, is that what we really want.

Back to the email.  This person is convinced that the battle is not lost, that there is a lot of support for electoral reform.  One thing he suggested was to try to implement electoral reform at a smaller level e.g. city council or school board or community organizations. 

So my question to the HTMF community.  Is electoral reform worth pursuing? 

I voted yes for the STV; I am sorry it was defeated.  Yes.  I think that this is worth pursuing, DWhite.

I think our system is fucked and needs to be changed. I also think a large majority of people in bc are retarded and need shock therapy.

Glen clarke stepped down when it only appeared he might be guilty of a crime. Turns out he wasnt. Still he is honorable and stepped down. Our premier is guilty of a crime, a crime that kills many every year he also may be guilty of crimes related to BC rail…  Yet he’s voted in again. Fuck the system I’m not voting until its fixed.

Oh and i’d like to know just how much the new ferries cost… I’m betting much more than the fast cats.

I voted for BC-STV, but I think that the 16 page email symbolizes so much of the problem with electoral reform. No system can touch FPTP for simplicity, but BC-STV seemed to be inexplicable. Over and over the ‘yes’ side relied on hypothetical examples of the consequences of the rules rather citing the rules themselves … assume there are xxxxxx voters, 4 seats in a riding, the ‘droop number’ is … and so on and so on. 

There are a number PR systems, each with its strengths and weaknesses. The citizens’ group that chose BC-STV obviously balanced competing factors, eg to elect any MLAs a party would need at least 12-15% of the provincial vote, 3-4% would not do. But the one consideration that they seemed to have failed to give adequate weight to was ‘how to explain it to ordinary citizens’. BC-STV may be theoretically ‘perfect’ or close to it, but in practical terms it is mystifying to many people.

Election before last, BC-STV benefited from public dissatisfaction with the opposition having been reduced to two MLAs. The worst case scenarios of FPTP were recent memory. For the last four years FPTP produced a fairly strong opposition. Time before last BC-STV had an articulate champion in Adriane Carr. This time around there was no prominent champion. Even the Greens seemed to soft peddle BC-STV. To a large extent support for BC-STV seems to have shifted from opposition to a system that in two elections had produced inequitable results to a rather dry theoretical debate, and for some another way of expressing opposition to the Campbell government. I think that electoral reform is dead, for a very long time … unfortunately. 


Seems like your issue is with democracy, not FPTP.

Maybe we should start at the basics and define what problems or areas can be improved by a new/different voting system in British Columbia.

I’m curious what the electoral reform citizens group started with or mandate was as to determine that BC-STV was the best option for BC.

The Northern Expedition cost $133 million, each of the fastcats cost nearly $150 million each and that was over ten years ago.  Oh… and they can actually use them!!! Do some research next time buddy

and the Coastal Class ships down south cost $290 million CAD for all three, compare that to $460 million for the three fast cats.

Unfortunately, all that is here is reiteration of the case and examples of what is wrong with FPTP. I think most people agree it is flawed. That wasn’t the problem - it was the STV supporters’ inability to articulate why STV would be better and to make it understandable. And, let’s face it: the referendum was defeated soundly so, while I voted to give STV a try, I don’t see it arising again any time soon.

Next time a local business person tries to make the argument that I should shop locally, even if it costs a bit more, I’m going to bring up the ferries.

Democracy should be majority rule.  If a majority of voters didn’t want the BC Liberals in power, then why are they in power?  A majority of voters are ignored in this system.

Personally, I think STV failed because they changed the ballot question from last time, and at least locally, I witnessed Elections BC people giving false information at the ballot box.  STV failed because neither mainstream party really wanted it – it would mean no more majority without a majority of the votes, which they rarely receive.

Local business people try to offer products of the same quality and at the same price as ones you might find out of town. If the products are unusable and/or expensive then yea–shop out of town. I don’t think the local business community would object.

Research like the fact the company that bought the ships is looking into a competing service?  Like the fact the company offered 60 million for the ships but instead paid 19 million at auction?

Research like that.

I was asking a question. Next time dont be a douche.


It’s the availability and selection of products where Terrace really has the edge over Rupert.
Also the service is far superior in Terrace…  I bought a chair at Staples and the quality of service was wonderful. For the most part in Rupert I still feel in the way of most so called customer service people.  Safeway and Overwaitea are exceptions, I find their service very good here in Rupert…

You’re stereotyping…
The money for the fast ferries went to BC workers who paid BC income tax and spent their money renting and buying BC homes and shopping in BC stores. They were even made of (probably Alcan) aluminum.
The money for the new ferries went out of the country, all of it.

In 16 years of business, I’ve only had one German couple buy stuff in my store. And as a businessman, if I knew I was going to inherit my Dad’s Buick and didn’t want to keep it, I sure as hell wouldn’t trash talk it for 6 years so I got as little as possible for it.

Just like the other common stereotype. What makes people think Greens are all ‘left’ and the NDP would get their votes?

I would like to comment on both the themes in this thread.  First, the issue of “made in BC.”  I think the contracting of large construction tenders to other countries is based on deliberately specious and deceptive arguments.  In crude terms, a product made in BC means that the wages are spent in BC, the taxes on those wages are spent in BC, much of the construction materials are bought in BC (and those wages, taxes, etc, are dispersed in BC).  In fact, the only money that leaves the province is for any imported materials.  So, to say that $200 million (up front) spent in Germany is a saving over $300 million (up front) spent in BC is sheer smoke and mirrors.  In order to truly compare products, these factors need to be included in the cost analysis.  The government and major media have been singularly neglectful in this respect.

Second, STV.  I think the strongest argument in favour of STV is when there appear to be more than one candidate of true quality.  For me, the most striking local example was the last federal election, when Nathan Cullen shared the ballot with Hondo Arendt.  Both individuals were eminently supportable, and I would have liked to cast a vote for both. 

However, I think the people of BC made a very clear (those who bothered) decision, and I don’t think the issue is going to come as far as an electoral referendum any time soon.  That leaves us with a two party system, in which the smaller parties on both right and left can accomplish nothing other than splitting the vote.  I think all the smaller parties have to ask themselves the same questions:

Is it better to remain independent, remain true to every principle, and see a malignant party keep/take power?  Or is there room for negotiation and give and take with the party “closest” to our principles, and eliminate a loss by diffusion of votes?

I suspect that in four years the political landscape, perhaps on both the right and left, will be significantly different.

That may be true. However, if the finished products are useless to us then building them in BC just for the sake of building them in BC isn’t a super sound idea, either.

If the finished products in this case are ferries for BC Ferries, it makes sense.  Should your tax dollars be spent stimulating BC’s economy or Germany’s economy?  We need the ferries anyway, so why not build them here?

Or is this a case of listening to that shamwow guy too much?  The Germans make good stuff?

Not if the ferries don’t work.

So the Northern Expedition was made in Germany because if it had been made in BC it wouldn’t work?  Seriously?

How about the Spirit of British Columbia or The Spirit of Vancouver Island and the other ships that are in use by BC Ferries that were actually made here?  They don’t work either?

Again, why wasn’t the Northern Expedition built in BC?