Your Voice in Victoria

Proportional Representation

Shirley Bond

Proportional Representation

I’m not prepared to take a leap of faith

If you mention Proportional Representation in a conversation you are likely to get an emotional reaction.

That isn’t a bad thing, and frankly it is critical that we have as much discussion as we can about something as fundamental as a potential change to our electoral system. We should care deeply about how we choose the people who represent us in the Legislature.

I am the 57th woman who has been elected to the British Columbia Legislature. I still find that a humbling thing to consider, much less to say out loud, and I take my job very seriously. I have asked the people of Prince George-Valemount five times to send me to Victoria to represent them and I am so grateful they did.

One of the things that upsets me the most about the current campaign to change our current system is the accusation that MLAs serve only the people that voted for them.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I can assure you that once the voters have chosen their MLA we serve our constituents - not our members or our supporters or our voters - but our constituents, our citizens, our residents.

Not once have I asked a person who has called my office, sent an email, texted me or stopped me on the street or in a shopping mall whether they voted for me. It simply doesn’t matter.

The job of the MLA is to serve all their constituents and I work hard to do that every day.

By the time you read this column you may have already received your voting package for the Proportional Representation referendum.

You are being asked to take a leap of faith - to choose from three models, two of which have never been used anywhere in the world.

All three models shift some degree of authority to political parties to choose the names that will be on your ballot, and critical details about how any of the models operate will be decided by a political committee after you have voted.

While our current system is not perfect, are you prepared to take a leap of faith with something as important as how we choose our elected representatives?

I for one, am not.