Train-wreck

After more than a decade in government, the BC Liberal Party, a coalition of former Social Credit, Conservative, and, well, Liberal supporters, is showing the strain.

On a rising tide of public grievance that comes of being long in power, coupled with the undertow of a resurgent BC Conservative Party, the coalition is looking fairly fragile.

A break-down here would fragment the non-NDP vote, with the formerly-strong BC “Liberals” splitting into separate, weaker, Liberal and Conservative blocks. It seems inevitable. Like a train-wreck unfolding before our eyes, it’s hard to look away.

While everyone flying their own true colours for a change would be a good thing, and having more voices in the arena a very good thing, it does create problems in our first-past-the-post elections, which don’t work well with more than two significant voting blocks. Such elections are often decided on the largest plurality, rather than a majority, and that is not a democratic best-practice.

We need to resurrect electoral reform. Yes, we’ve had two referenda on this, and both failed — the first by a very slim margin — and the second, thoroughly. But both votes were on the exact same question, STV: multiple-representation, with a preferential ballot.

I voted for this the first time, despite the multiple-representation, because of the preferrential ballot, and I voted against it the second time, despite the preferrential ballot, because it was made all that much clearer how the multiple-representation would play.

Let’s just skip the multiple-representation, with a simple, single-member-per-riding preferential ballot, such as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).

This is an easy change involving only how we mark the ballots and how we count them, and requires no change to electoral boundaries — yet it solves first-past-the-post issues and addresses many concerns of proportional- and multiple-representation proponents. It’s a win-win.

The current government is in a position, now, to make this happen. They might not be again. I urge them to do so, in the best interests of all.

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