THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS wrong with the referendum on proportional representation, it would take as long to cover it all as it would to explain the convoluted and foggy alternatives on the ballot.
So let’s just talk about the hocus pocus of proportional representation (also known as prop rep, pro rep or PR) math. This one giant flaw should be enough to make us run, not walk, away from prop rep.
Throughout the months leading up to this vote, prop rep boosters have relied heavily on a simplistic abracadabra formula to convince us their system makes sense.
Their favourite line is “40 per cent of the votes should equal 40 per cent of the seats,” or variations thereof.
With the current First Past the Post, they say, “39 per cent of the votes = 54 per cent of the seats = 100 per cent of the power” but with PR “39 per cent of the vote = 39 per cent of the seats = Compromise, cooperation, collaboration.” This is labeled “Proportional Representation Math.”
I once called it “voodoo math.”
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.