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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon artist’s work featured in national exhibit

Nicole Favron named as Yukon winner for 2020 BMO Art! competition

Higher camping fees, new campground, reconciliation efforts feature in Yukon parks 10-year strategy

Creating a new campground within two hours of Whitehorse, introducing higher camping… Continue reading

UPDATED: Driver in alleged Whitehorse gun-pointing incident arrested

Christopher Dick, 24, charged with obstructing a peace officer, failing to comply with release order

YG and pharmacies preparing for flu vaccine distribution

The Yukon government is preparing for flu season and encouraging people to… Continue reading

Non-resident tests positive for COVID-19

The individual has been hospitalized in Whitehorse

Hot Hounds bikejor race serves as lone summer competition

Held in Mount Lorne, the race was organized by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon

Whitehorse operations building officially open

Staff are taking phased approach to moving in

North of Ordinary Experience Centre shutting down

COVID-19 has caused bookings for the space to become almost non-existent, owner says

Canada Games Centre could get new playground

Council to vote on contract award

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Harescramble brings out motorcycle community

This year’s event included 67 riders

YG seeks members for youth climate change panel

“Yukon youth deserve to have their voices heard”

Yukon NDP hold AGM

This year’s meeting was held virtually

Most Read