2005-05-19

So BC STV failed

Just shy of the 60% mark, but definitely winning out in most ridings, there is no mandate that the provincial government move ahead with STV -- but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't or that they won't.

I'll admit I wasn't always a booster, but by the time the vote came around, I really believed in it. And if you got there, too, perhaps you're wondering what next? Well I have a suggestion. Here's a letter I'm going to write to my newly re-elected MLA, Mr. Rich Coleman, Fort Langley-Aldergrove. I suggest you write something like it to your MLA. The more of our voices they hear, the more likely they are to pass it.

Failing that, I think there's a good chance that it could be written up as a ballot initiative. The bar for passing an initiative is bother lower and higher. 10% of all the voters in every riding need to sign a petition -- that's the higher part. And then the initiative needs to pass by 50% + 1 across the whole province. That's the lower part.

Norman Spector, Dave Barrett, Christy Clark and other such elitists said they thought the STV was a foolish idea, foolishly arrived at and foolishly presented to the people for a vote and to some extent I agree with them: after spending so much to arrive at it, why was so little spent on informing the public on the choice either way? Indeed nothing, to me, showed the value of the proposal more than the diversity on other points of political doctrine among those who agreed in support of or in opposition to BC STV. Still, I think that it's time for us, the Great Unwashed electorate, the Secret People (who have not spoken yet -- though we may not be of the same nationality as those whom Mr. Chesterton once referred to) to show that we didn't just like it enough to vote for it once, but to sign for it and to vote for it again.

So if you write a letter like the following to your MLA and he or she takes no notice, be on the look-out. That doorbell may be someone coming around with a petition (maybe me!) asking for you to join the 10% of the voters in your riding to sign up to put forward a ballot initiative. We'll get our STV yet -- and a much more honourable end it is than the one that Levesque and Parizeau forwarded unsuccessfully in Qu├ębec before us.

Dear Mr. Coleman,

I am writing to ask you and your party to introduce the BC STV plan as conceived by the Citizens Assembly, despite the fact that the referendum may not have reached its 60% threshold. Most of the people in your riding wanted it and though the bar for a mandated passage was set appropriately high, it would be shutting your ears against the desires of your constituents not to send it through the BC Legislature anyways.

If it does not get introduced and passed, it may yet become a ballot initiative and become law through other means. I commit myself to pursuing such ends and encouraging my friends, neighbours and relatives to do the same. This is a time for your party to show some leadership. Don't wait for us to bring about a ballot initiative. Introduce, pass and proclaim a bill instituting BC STV as the the way BC will elect its Legislature from now on. Either way, your electorate will remember whose interests you pursued now: ours or those of the Liberal Party. And either way, you can be sure, that later, when STV passes we will know how to reward you appropriately.

Sincerely,

Arthur N. Klassen
xxx xxxx
xxxxxx, BC Vxx xxx
(address redacted)

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