ROTHENBURGER: Pro rep shows up again like an uninvited house guest

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

LIKE AN UNWANTED house guest, proportional representation keeps showing up and wanting to move in. It’s happening again.

It was inevitable, perhaps, that the losers in the federal election would whine about how they deserved better and would have gotten it if only Canada had a prop rep (pro rep, PR, etc.) system for electing governments.

The old “35 per cent of the vote shouldn’t mean 100 per cent of the power” and so on. It’s not quite as catchy when minority governments have been chosen but they persist with the notion that total popular vote should be totally tied to the number of seats a party gets.

It’s voodoo math, as I’ve called it in the past. It’s been studied to death. British Columbians have rejected it no less than three times in provincial votes. Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Alberta have all studied pro rep and either turned it down or put it on hold, and Justin Trudeau once promised it but changed his mind when he took a closer look.

Local NDP candidate Bill Sundhu wasted no time complaining about first past the post (FPTP) and praising proportional representation after his Monday night defeat. Neither did Green Party candidate Iain Currie.


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

About Mel Rothenburger (9647 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.

4 Comments on ROTHENBURGER: Pro rep shows up again like an uninvited house guest

  1. Mel; You’re beginning to to sound like a Liberal. You forget that the first vote in BC was 59% for.
    Also,whine is a pretty derogatory word. Dawne Taylor is dead right. Party politics stink,always have.American party politics are under a lot of strain right now,but even some formally staunch republicans go against the party line. Alan Fotheringham,once a well known Vancouver Sun columnist,now long gone said it, ” we get to practice true Democracy once every four tears” In our latest example,eighteen months. DEMOCRACY A form of government in which the supreme power is directly or indirectly lodged in the hands of the people, I would assume that means everyone, not 30%.

  2. I think it is the quality of the candidates that matter most. Because a quality person (not necessarily with “prestigious” credentials either) will listen to anybody and everybody and then make the right decision even when no one is watching…a mensch.

  3. There are many variations of Proportional Representation – and many, perhaps even most democratic countries have some variation of it. Although I don’t vote Conservative, if I did, I would find it very unfair to receive the largest number of votes and not get seats reflective of that. The whole system needs to be changed, including re-alignment of ridings so that there is more consistency in the number of voters in each riding. Hardly fair the way it is with western Canada’s growing population and influence.

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