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Do you want to choose your own MLA or do you want a political party to choose for you? Do you want your MLA to look to you for your vote or owe their position to a political party? A referendum will decide if you’ll continue voting directly for your MLA or move towards a system where political parties make this decision for you. This referendum could shift power from voters to parties. All three proportional systems give parties a greater role in choosing MLAs; none of the fully ‘voter choice’ proportional systems will even be on the ballot. In 2004, a Citizen Assembly of 160 voters studied proportional representation. They selected a ‘voter system’ STV (Single Transferable Vote) and rejected the ‘party system’ MMP (Mixed Member Proportional). But the current process is in the hands of politicians. Their public consultation offered four possible systems, both voter choice and party choice. But the two governing caucuses submitted a joint endorsement of MMP, the system rejected by the Citizen Assembly, in which political parties choose 40% of all MLAs. When the referendum question was made public, three of the four systems were gone. The MMP system remained and two new systems were added. Neither had ever been tried nor were they part of the consultation process. Both featured MLAs chosen by political parties. How many is uncertain; details will be decided after the vote. The public consultation did not even hint of this possibility. Citizens will choose from four systems Our current system essentially holds 87 elections. The winner of each gets a seat in the assembly, usually with a stable, majority government so voters know who to hold accountable. This is the only system on the ballot where citizens vote directly for all MLAs. If… Read More »Proportional Representation

Proportional Representation

In British Columbia, formal political parties didn’t emerge until the 1900s. But before that, loosely affiliated political factions provided some coherence to political decisions. James Douglas was part black, married to an aboriginal woman and headed the honourable Hudson Bay Company which was the legal government in British Columbia. He was opposed by Amor De Cosmos who introduced the Chinese Head Tax to Parliament and was linked to labour organizations. Political factions developed, called the Douglas Conservatives and the De Cosmos Reformers. This was the early development of political parties in British Columbia. Kumtuks is a video blog that shares knowledge and explores new narratives. Some quotes and descriptors have been adjusted for clarity and brevity. Please subscribe if you would like to be notified of new videos. If you would like to receive additional commentary and notices and support more videos Sam Sullivan is a Member of the Order of Canada, a former Mayor of Vancouver and Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Political Factions in Early British Columbia