No referendum needed on electoral reform

No referendum needed on electoral reform The election for the first time ever of a federal party that has committed to electoral reform - perhaps the most significant move to fulfilling our Charter right of effective and equal representation - seems to h

The election for the first time ever of a federal party that has committed to electoral reform – perhaps the most significant move to fulfilling our Charter right of effective and equal representation – seems to have ignited the firepower of those that would prefer to benefit from the discriminatory nature of our present system.

The claim that any change to our electoral system requires a referendum is not supported by previous electoral changes, nationally or internationally.

Yes, four referendums have been held in Canada, and four times they have failed to produce a change. But in those four cases, the bar was set so high by those that demanded a referendum that failure was almost a guarantee. It is no coincidence that those insisting on a referendum are almost universally opposed to proportional representation.

However, something like eight times now, municipally or provincially here in Canada, the voting system has been changed without a referendum.

Consider that more than 90 countries around the planet use some form of proportional representation. And how many brought in their change with a referendum? Exactly two – Switzerland in 1918, and New Zealand in 1996.

So the insistence by those that wish to profit in the future with complete power on a minority of votes that a referendum is a prerequisite to electoral change is a specious claim. In fact, because the current system effectively denies more than half of us our Charter right of equal representation, it would be discriminatory and undemocratic.

In a recent article in The Tyee by Fair Voting BC president Anthony Hodgson, he asks the reader to consider: “Would any of us now claim that men ever had the right to decide if women should be granted the vote? Or that whites ever had the right to determine if First Nations or those of Asian origin should be allowed to vote?” Of course not. These rights were enacted into legislation, not via referendum, but as a governmental duty.

When so many of us are discriminated against by the denial of our Charter right of equal and effective representation, those that prefer to benefit from this discrimination do not have the right to stand in the way. When three parties with electoral reform as a major part of their platform received more than 60 per cent of the popular vote, the government was given a mandate to reform our voting system to make every vote count. The people have spoken. And government has the duty to act upon the will of the people.

Jim Borisenko

Tagish Lake

Just Posted

Silver rules out HST, layoffs and royalty changes

Yukon’s financial advisory panel has released its final report

City of Whitehorse budgets $30M for infrastructure over four years

‘I think we’re concentrating on the most important things’

Yukon community liaison for MMIWG inquiry fired

Melissa Carlick, the Whitehorse-based community liaison officer for the national Missing and… Continue reading

Yukon man holds no grudge after being attacked by bison

‘The poor guy was only trying to fend off someone who he knew was trying to kill him’

Straight and true: the story of the Yukon colours

Michael Gates | History Hunter Last week, I participated in the 150th… Continue reading

Get ready to tumble: Whitehorse’s Polarettes to flip out at fundraiser

‘There’s a mandatory five-minute break at the end, just so people don’t fall over’

Alaska’s governor goes to China

There are very different rules for resource projects depending on which side of the border you’re on

Yukon survey shows broad support for legal pot

But there’s no consensus on retail and distribution models

Yukon government releases survey on the territory’s liquor laws

Changes could include allowing sale of booze in grocery stores

Get family consent before moving patients to other hospitals: NDP critic

‘Where is the respect and where is the dignity?’

Bill C-17 passes third reading in House of Commons

The bill, which will repeal controversial amendments made to YESAA by Bill S-6, will now go to Senate

White Pass and Yukon Route musical chugs on without director

The cast and crew of Stonecliff are pushing forward without Conrad Boyce, who went on medical leave

Most Read