An interesting (and personally changing) result in the May 12 Referendum held in BC. The proposal to switch the existing system (First-Past-the-Post) to the single transferable vote electoral system (BC-STV) proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform was defeated.
The results were 38.82% in favor of switching, which was far away from 60% they needed. They did not even come close to reaching the second referendum requirement, capturing only 7 of the 51 required ridings.
In the spirit of full disclosure, there is a part of me that is disappointed with the outcome. I was involved in the Voting Reform movement back in its beginnings in 1995. I believed that by changing the way our leaders are elected, that we would change the outcome, which would lead to better government.
That idealism has been steadily eroded over the years to the point I am now distrusting of political parties, ideological purity, and democracy. I remain interested in politics, but more from the perspective of leadership and how that leadership is developed.
This will be a huge blow to Fair Vote Canada, as the result demonstrates the complete lack of political and democratic imagination possessed by BC voters. I would have to conclude that British Columbians (and Canadians) don’t really care about how our politicians are elected.
And maybe they are right. Maybe the voting system does not matter since they believe that stupid politicians will continue to be elected under the new voting system. Perhaps STV or any PR system will provide a more transparant outcome, but will not provide the leadership and integrity that we need. It comes back to the idea of Garbage In Garbage Out – crappy politicians will simply translate into a more accurate but still crappy government with Proportional Representation and STV.