EDITORIAL – Seriously, is this any way to decide a referendum?

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE REFERENDUM on proportion representation is in a shambles.

Cheer leaders for prop rep accuse First Past the Post defenders of fear mongering, and demand to know what the other side is afraid of. The First-Past-The-Post guardians say there’s plenty to be afraid of.

Well, of course we’re afraid, all of us. Let’s all say it one more time — we’re talking about our democracy.

The FPTPers are afraid prop rep will take us into a system of perpetual coalitions and stagnation. The Prop Reppers are afraid this will be the last chance to take a leap of faith into a new way of doing things — three strikes and you’re out and all that.

This is the sort of decision that should be made based on logic, science, careful contemplation and good intentions. Instead, it’s become a gladiatorial arena, no holds barred, no mercy to the enemy.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (6691 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.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Seriously, is this any way to decide a referendum?

  1. tinfoilknight // November 14, 2018 at 7:37 PM // Reply

    It would help the debate if the established media were unbiased. You are clearly not unbiased and choose to publish more letters from the No side than the Yes side. Even the language of this letter betrays your No side bias. It’s difficult to have an open and public debate when the moderator of the debate has already chosen sides.

  2. Mel, why would this even remotely surprise you. Our entire system is built upon adversarial, winner and loser mentalities. There has been little or no collaborative “for the good of the people” political discourse let alone actions in the decades I have followed politics. We will elect incompetent people quite regularly and expect they can do a job they have no training, intellect or capacity to perform. It mostly appears that a politicians three main jobs are 1) to get elected, 2) stay elected and 3) get re-elected. What they do in between elections appears mostly to be to raise money for the next election. If you want be sickened on any given day watch “question period” for about 5 minutes and see almost all of the worst parts of our system in full, living colour.

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