It’s not often voters get a chance to rethink their political choices.
Elect a political party and we’re stuck with it for four years. At least.
With the First Past the Post system currently utilized in Canada and the United States, it’s easy for a government — elected with a minority “base” but the recipient of maximum control — to manipulate government information efforts to the point they become a party propaganda machine.
With such a powerful, unchecked tool, governments can maintain control of a constituency for years.
Witness Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party, which ruled our neighbour to the east for 44 years. Federal governments manage eight, 12, 16-year cycles — Stephen Harper’s crew in power for more than 11 years.
And in BC, the Liberal Party set itself up for 16 years.
Getting out from underneath an all-powerful government often requires a Herculean effort.
But Proportional Representation is different; not only does it provide a measure of protection against overboard government propaganda at taxpayer expense, it also offers an escape clause.
Simply put, if BC voters determine to select proportional representation as their electoral system, a second referendum will be held following two election cycles.
Voters will have a second opportunity to choose whether to keep Proportional Representation or revert to the first-past-the-post voting system.
One of the NO side’s latest arguments against proportional representation is that there’s a whole lot of work to be done once we’ve decided to adopt the system — so much, in fact, that even some government ministers have honestly suggested they don’t know what lies on the other side of the vote.
But, the escape clause offers a check; if after we’ve given it a fair trail we still don’t like what the development team has implemented, we can trash the whole package and go back to our current system.
Charting a new course always comes with a bit of queasiness, but there’s nothing that says we can’t turn the ship around if the route forward proves to be too unfruitful.
The escape clause is just one more reason to vote for Proportional Representation. To learn more, visit our 2018 Electoral Reform page.
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