When the process was over the person who presented the best ideas, and demonstrated they had the leadership skills to forward ideas into reality would gain the confidence of the electorate. The process we use in BC is called first past the post. Believe it or not we had a different system years ago for a short time. In political terms the blink of an eye. It was a preferential ballot where voters had a first and second choice.
Appreciate the political landscape leading up to the 1952 election. The Liberals and Conservatives had formed a new coalition to keep the CCF Party (later the NDP) from power. Just as a note we have a coalition now in BC politics with the NDP and the Greens. So we’ve been through this before.
At the time it was hoped the first and second choice would keep the CCF from ever taking power. There were problems.
CCF voters didn’t vote a second choice and neither did an upstart party called Social Credit. On June 12 1952, election day, the Social Credit Party came first, with one more seat than the CCF/NDP and the Liberals and Conservatives ended up with five seats each and went into oblivion for decades.
WAC Bennett saw the system was a sham designed to obstruct the CCF or his party from gaining power, which backfired and Bennett went back to first past the post. It kept him in power for twenty years. First past the post also elected Dave Barrett and the NDP in 1972 because Barrett convinced voters we did need change. Since then we have had Social Credit, NDP and a BC Liberal Party which is really a repackaged Social Credit Party or a provincial coalition to keep the NDP out of governing.
How are we doing so far? In the strange world of BC politics we are again devising a system to have more of a collective voice in BC. This is not as devious as the first departure from first past the post, but it is just as useless and in the end in my opinion less democratic than the first preferential ballot.
We will have people elected just like we do now correct so far.
However according to the percentage of the vote each party will have members added to the Legislative Assembly. My problem is some will be appointed to the Legislature while other were elected and obtained the trust of those who voted for them.
Who will chose the additional appointed members of each party? I think it will end up, appointments will come from the ranks of party officials who will speak for the electorate who never chose them and an electorate who through the ballot box directly. The voters will participate in the weakening of democracy itself. Ask this question. If we are to truly have representation through an elective process. How do we end up with appointed people sitting in the chamber?
Here is another thought to contemplate. How many parties are their in BC? At present we have 11 parties that have nominated candidates in recent years and another 6 parties that have not nominated a candidate. Hold that thought for a moment.
Remember the saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Here is the kicker. Over the history of our Province there have been 69 political parties. What would happen if the change in voting method ignited an interest in these parties reforming or if only 10 or 20 parties emerged?
Try a town hall meeting under those conditions. If that were to happen every two people in the province would constitute a political party. Seriously, I do not believe we would have that many, perhaps six or seven. This would, if it happened constitute the democratic process, I grant that. What I find objectionable is this.
If they got more than five percent of the vote we would have appointed members elected by no one, essentially responsible to their party not the people. Government would become a ‘gaggle of geese’. We can’t get it done with three parties with elected members, think of what it would be like with the new system. In the end we would have a Legislative Assembly full of political hacks and no way to effectively reform our mistake for half a century.
That is why I support first past the post.