South Asian community leaders launch NO campaign on proportional representation referendum

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Dr. Gulzar Cheema

Surrey: A number of respected and influential leaders in BC’s South Asian community have thrown their support behind the “NO” campaign when it comes to changing the voting system in our Province. Dr. Gulzar Cheema, a former MLA in Manitoba and British Columbia and a practicing family doctor and Puneet Sandhar, a lawyer and a community advocate will be leading the South Asian campaign for the No BC Proportional Representation Society.

Puneet Sandhar

They join former BC Attorney General Suzanne Anton, QC and Mr.Bill Tieleman, both directors of the No to BC Proportional Representation Society, to encourage voters to reject Proportional Representation in the referendum being held this month.

“Proportional Representation has been proven to give extremist parties an easy access to power all over the world,” said Sandhar. “These groups bring with them divisive politics that often target immigrants and minority groups. There is no place for that in BC, and that’s why we must choose to continue with our current system that gives representation to people not power to extremists”.

From October 22nd, voters started receiving a mail-in ballot on the future of our electoral system, asking whether they would like to keep the current First Past the Post system, or replace it with Proportional Representation. ProRep is a form of voting used in some countries including Sweden, where a recent election saw anti-immigrant, far-right extremists elected into government, where they now hold the balance of power.

“Proportional Representation would see the loss of local MLAs around BC, a loss of accountability, & the rise of single issue and extremist parties.” said Cheema. “ProRep would end BC’s simple-to-understand voting system, a system which has led us to having one of the most stable & successful jurisdictions in the world”.

To vote in the referendum, voters must be 18 years or older as of November 30th, 2018, a Canadian citizen and a BC resident for at least six months prior to November 30th, 2018. Voting packages need to be completed and returned by November 30.