Victoria: Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, and Sonia Furstenau, spokesperson for electoral reform, issued the following statement on the beginning of the referendum on proportional representation.
“Proportional representation is a chance to give British Columbians a greater say in what goes on in Victoria,” said Weaver.
“Pro Rep will deliver a Legislature that actually reflects how people voted. This means that governments under proportional representation are much more representative and responsive to the views and desires of citizens.
“Our province and our world are facing major shifts, manifesting in challenges like technological automation, climate change and growing inequality. Proportional representation will make it easier for citizens to get engaged in the entire political process, including running for office. One of my greatest hopes is that proportional representation will inspire more young people to run for office and to get elected. The decisions we make today will have a far greater impact on the youth of our society than on anyone else – they deserve more seats at the table and I believe prop rep will make that a reality.”
Furstenau emphasized that proportional representation leads to more collaborative, cooperative democracy.
“With the first minority government in 60 years, British Columbians are getting a chance to see the benefits of collaboration in action. Just one year into our Agreement with the B.C. NDP, we have gotten big money out of politics, made historic investments in education and child care, taken action on the housing crisis and are eliminating MSP premiums.
“Proportional representation will enable us to shift away from a combative, hyper-partisan majoritarian system to one where politicians are required to work together. This means elected officials can focus more on policy outcomes, rather than simply on scoring partisan wins. Voters will feel the benefits the first time they go to cast their ballots under Pro Rep. Proportional representation will end strategic voting, because it gives people a chance to vote for what they want, instead of against what they don’t want. It will end the cynical vote-buying in swing ridings, and greatly mitigate negative campaigning because politicians will no longer be playing a zero-sum game for all of the power. Voting ‘yes’ on prop rep will lead to a healthier, kinder democracy, which in my view believe is exactly what the world needs right now.”