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Letter: A decision for all British Columbians

To The Editor:

In response to 'From the Leg:' by Linda Larson published on December 11th:

In BC we use an electoral system called 'First Past The Post' (FPTP), a system that most of the developed world has abandoned due to a number of issues — a notable one being 'the spoiler effect' which causes many people to not vote for their first choice in an election, instead feeling a need to 'vote strategically', something I have done myself and hope to not feel a need to do in the future.

Most of our peers in the developed world have abandoned FPTP in favour of  'Proportional Representation' (PR), a term used to describe electoral systems that allow for the result of an election to proportionally match what the citizens voted for.

Quite simply, PR allows every vote to be counted the same, no matter who it was cast for, and no matter where it was cast. PR fixes many of the problems of FPTP, eliminating the need for strategic voting by ensuring all votes are counted equally.

My favoured PR system, Mixed Member Proportional, accomplishes this quite simply: You vote for the local representative you want, the exact same as we do now, then you ALSO vote for your party of preference, which is used to make the election result proportional according to what people voted for. We retain local representation, and we still get to vote for an individual of our choice, but we no longer have to concern ourselves with strategic voting.

We have a referendum coming up in 2018 on whether we want to retain our current FPTP system, or adopt a PR system like MMP. Larson unfortunately is using divisive politics to try to frame this referendum as a 'urban vs rural BC' issue, casting our friends and family in the city as the opponents of those of us in the country, as if political opinions were monolithic in either area.

This vote won't be "decided by those living in Surrey/Vancouver", it will be decided by all British Columbians, from the Kootenays to the Peace to the GVRD to the Island.

All of us will be a part of this decision, and it affects all of us — Together.

Andres Dean
Grand Forks