NDP-Greens’ take on pro rep: the great transformer

With the results now finally in for the Courtney-Comox riding, it’s official — Christy Clark and the provincial Liberals failed in their attempt to obtain a majority. Better yet, BC’s NDP and Greens have entered into an agreement to bring down the Liberals. If all goes according to plan, we are about to witness some truly historic and very positive changes in the political landscape — changes that will be transformational.

The NDP and Greens have agreed to change the way in which we elect our provincial government. Our current first-past-the-post system is a divisive one that results in very little space for political currents outside the narrow range of “mid-point” politics. By “mid-point” politics I mean the lowest common denominator. With the system we have now, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, for political parties to advance leading edge ideas that are not already accepted as bread and butter issues.

With a move to proportional representation, I predict the birth of a number of new, smaller political parties. Some might reflexively respond that this is a bad thing, but I would suggest quite the contrary.

A buffet of many smaller parties increases the likelihood that we can finally vote for a party as opposed to voting against a party we don’t want. This happens when a variety of parties exist, creating a better chance that individuals will find one that best represents their belief system.

Many smaller parties working together in the legislative assembly will also change the way politics is done in Victoria. Parties will be forced to work with each other and not against each other, and consensus will become the name of the game.

Apart from promising the electorate a new and better way of electing our provincial government, the NDP-Green agreement also commits to many additional and important objectives — stopping the Kinder Morgan pipeline and beefing up environmental assessment processes; increasing transit funding; rethinking the Site C dam and Massey tunnel project; new childcare spaces; and more.

But from my point of view, the change promised for our electoral system is more important than all of the other commitments combined. This is because a move to pro rep will benefit all of us for generations to come.

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