Comments by MLA Mike Morris (Liberal, Prince George-Mackenzie) in the B.C. Legislature on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 during debate on on proportional representation.
M. Morris: The member who just finished speaking, obviously, isn’t fully informed on what proportional representation means and the different methods of voting that we have in this province. I go back to….
The system that we have today recognizes the equality of voting, which the courts have said many times over the years is one of the basic, fundamental parts of our democratic rights here in Canada.
The balance in our electoral districts has been built in right from the beginning.
It goes back to 1867, where the equality of voting power was paramount, and still is today, in our democratic system. We have 87 ridings in the province. The population was divided into those 87…. The 87 ridings were divided into the population of British Columbia to come up with equality based on population.
In addition to that, they also built in equality pertaining to the geographical and regional differences that we have in this province and right across the country, and those are the fundamental parts of voting equality and the equality of voting power in British Columbia — representation by population, with a plus or minus 25 percent deviation based on geographical and regional differences.
Every citizen in Canada, under the Charter, has a right to participate in the electoral process. They have the chance to sit down and listen to every candidate who espouses whatever the platform is that they’re representing. They talk about the policies that they represent, and through that process, the citizens within that electoral area, within one of the 87 ridings that we have, get an opportunity to see the candidates — whether they’re Green, NDP, B.C. Liberal or whatever other party might be running at the time. They get a chance to see the strength of character of that individual. They get a chance to see whether or not that individual will have the strength of voice to represent that area, that electoral district in this House.
They also get a chance to evaluate the policies and the platform that that individual may be representing on behalf of their party. Through that, the day of the vote comes. The people within that electoral district will vote based on the individual and how well he or she represented the policies, the platform and the strength of character required, and based upon that, we will have 87 results coming from these separate ridings within the province here. Those are the true results of the people being represented in this province, in this House.
To go about changing the results of the election, which is what proportional representation does, by nullifying all of the will of the people, the votes that the people said, and applying a mathematical formula at the end of the day to determine what the popular vote may have been — what that does is virtually eliminate and nullify the great work that has been done to try to develop equal representation within the ridings right across the province.
By applying that mathematical formula, it will provide for urban centres — large, urban centres with a large number of voters — to influence what’s happening within the rural areas of the province.
Under our current constitution and our current first-past-the-post system, we have MLAs, we have opposition members and we have independents, as we’ve had sitting in the House before. That equals 100 percent of the power of the electoral system in this province. There is no imbalance there.
To simply say that 40 percent of the vote equals 100 percent of the power is misdescribing the situation. We have people duly elected within the 87 electoral districts in the province. They represent the people within those provinces. The popular vote has nothing to do with the overall democracy that we have in the province, where the individual people are elected in their districts. By applying that mathematical formula, at the end of the day, it nullifies it.
Source: BC Hansard