Sunday, December 23, 2018

All referenda on proportional representation are detrimental to voter equality

Does our loss in the BC referendum mean that voter equality is no longer a human right? 

Any answer you give would sound funny, right?


So, here’s why I think all referenda on proportional representation are detrimental to voter equality: (I originally wrote this blog post in Oct 2 2016, and now, after the results in BC, I believe it more than ever. Originally I referred to a nation-wide referendum, but the idea is transferable to provincial referenda, too.)


A referendum on whether to change our Canadian electoral system to the proportional representation* of parties would be a partisan measure of how much people want to protect their parties’ present turf rather than a non-partisan measure of how much people want to provide equal protection to all voters, including those who vote for smaller parties.

If that type of referendum, with a partisan-skewed topic, were to be perceived as having a non-partisan topic (such as the referendum on the prohibition of alcohol in 1898), then it would erroneously be perceived as “fair,”** and would provide a false cover of legitimacy. This erroneous perception would do more damage to the cause of fair voting and voter equality than not having a referendum at all.

Here is what would motivate a proportional representation (PR) referendum voter to be partisan: Since the outcome of a PR referendum would greatly influence how much power a political party would obtain in future elections, it is very likely that a voter’s answer on the referendum question would take that into account and therefore be influenced by their allegiance to their chosen party. Even without taking that into account, that referendum voter would be influenced by those in their chosen party who do take that into account.


The Charter Challenge, it appears, would lead to better, and perhaps faster, results than referenda. See this link: