PETERS – PR models don’t jive with Westminster system of government

Westminster system of parliamentary democracy began in U.K. (Image: Mel Rothenburger)

If we want to change our voting system, we have to change our entire system of government first

BEFORE THE PEOPLE OF B.C. consider changing the current electoral system to some form of proportional representation, they should realize how incongruous these proposed systems are with our current Westminster system of government.

So few people seem to understand that, here in B.C. as in other provinces in Canada and for our federal government as whole, we don’t actually elect the government.





We elect individuals, and those individuals are meant to represent the interests of their specific ridings in the B.C. Legislature.

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James Peters is the radio anchor at CFJC, coming to Kamloops in 2006. He anchors the afternoon news on B-100 and 98.3 CIFM, and contributes weekly editorials to the CFJC Evening News. He tweets regularly @Jamloops.

About Mel Rothenburger (6626 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on PETERS – PR models don’t jive with Westminster system of government

  1. David Johnson // June 16, 2018 at 6:31 PM // Reply

    I agree with you completely Grouchy 1.
    Anyone who make up 3 sentences like that with zero detailed justification is only interested in inflaming others. He has no interest in Ian MacKenzie’s intelligent and comprehensive rebuttal. This piece is not a column, and is barely even an editorial, and almost doesn’t qualify as an opinion.

    Regarding the poll, good idea to add it it, but unfortunately its not always as cut and dry as ‘individual’ or ‘party’ … period. At times it depends on the year, depends on the party, depends on the party leader, as well as it may depend on the individual in the riding.

    We will all be somewhat historically ‘bent’ towards one party’s basic concepts or the others, as well at times we will vote outside our usual party lines if there is someone really truly extraordinary running in the riding. Not usually a line of thinking in our riding.

    Other times we will vote strategically for party politic or individual reasons … usually to try to keep someone or their party out, or try to limit the seat count for one party or another or to bolster an opposition party count.

    On one side, all this is impossible to get into a poll.
    On the other side, with PR … most of this wont exist as it will really be about party … or individual. Try this pole again after the next election, should PR be used, answers might be quite different.

    • Mel Rothenburger // June 16, 2018 at 10:05 PM // Reply

      What you say about who we decide to vote for is true. That’s why I worded the question to ask about voters’ main consideration. That consideration might be outweighed by other factors. For example, we might like a candidate but not his or her party, or vice versa.

  2. It might be interesting to do a poll to see how many voters vote for the individual and how many vote for the ideology(party)

  3. Ian MacKenzie // June 16, 2018 at 7:27 AM // Reply

    I fail to see why Mr. Peters feels that our present electoral system (First-Past-the-Post or FPTP), a winner-take-all system, is merely incongruous compared to Proportional Representation (PR). I would say that they are total opposites, electing individuals who form governments with different goals! FPTP is designed to ensure that a party with the largest share of the votes (almost always a minority) sets the rules for the majority of voters who didn’t vote for them, leaving them gagged for four years. It is a system lobbyists and professional politicians love because they can so easily cuddle up to the seats of power. It is a system where the party leader is dictatorial. It benefits an elitist group, ignoring the majority of voters.
    Proportional Representation, on the other hand is designed to make sure that every voter is a winner in proportion to the support they receive through an election. Every vote is equal, so that no vote is wasted. Because of the diversity reflected in the makeup of the candidates the legislation passed reflects the values they agree upon and is therefore more stable. Not being subject to the pendulum swings of policies we see under FPTP there is more cooperation in their deliberations where every delegate gets a say and consensus is the norm, a pragmatic approach avoiding ideology, and the party leader is the chairman, not the dictator.
    Whichever of these two systems controls the choice of our government, controls our society. What do we want, Mr. Peters, more of an ancient system where the majority’s wishes are ignored in a confrontational setting? Or a system of Proportional Representation where we
    respect all ideas in a cooperative consensus forum to legislate the best for the people?

    • Excellent comment. This is a very lazy argument. Peters is just repeating some half hearted nonsense he heard somewhere else.

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