An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
CAN WE NOW put proportional representation to rest?
Thursday’s referendum result wasn’t even close — 61.3 per cent of those who voted in the mail-in referendum opted for keeping the First Past the Post system of electing governments in B.C.
The turnout, while not overwhelming, was respectable at about 43 per cent. In the Kamloops-North and Kamloops-South Thompson ridings, where Fair Vote Kamloops waged a determined campaign for prop rep, the rejection of the proposed change was higher than the average.
Almost 69 per cent of voters in Kamloops-North favoured the status quo; in Kamloops-South it was just over 66 per cent. In the Fraser-Nicola and Cariboo it was even higher.
The validity of the result can’t be questioned.
This makes the third time in the last 14 years B.C. voters have said no to electoral change. Surely that must be the end of it. But is it?
There’s nothing preventing the Greens and the NDP from trying again. And again. Finance Minister Carole James says electoral change is “finished” and that the government will conduct the next provincial election under First Past the Post.
But can the NDP and Greens truly give up the dream?
It’s obvious how they blew it. They over-reached. They used a process they thought would guarantee victory for prop rep but it was way too cute. Had there been full information and a simple one-question ballot, who knows what might have happened?
There will be a lot of “what ifs” to digest.
But if the Greens and NDP, or Fair Vote folks, think for a moment British Columbians are in the slightest bit interested in going through this torture a fourth time, they’re badly mistaken.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.