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

Beringia Centre to roll out summer Science Talks series

The first talk, to be streamed on Facebook Live, will be from Yukon palaeontologist Grant Zazula

Ninjas in the Yukon

Yukoners deliver goodies

Yukon government approached Salvation Army about ARC land sale, records show

“YG approached SA first and they have been receptive throughout”

Canada Games Centre to reopen sometime in June

First phase will be limited to track, wellness centre, flexihall and some fitness classes

Contract awarded for mixed-income housing project

The Yukon government has awarded a $16.8-million contract to build the mixed-income… Continue reading

Watson Lake man charged with gun offences after break-and-enter

Alfred Magun, 60, was arrested and charged with eight offences

Top of the World Highway border crossings remain closed

The Little Gold Creek and Poker Creek border crossings will remain closed… Continue reading

Gymnasts return to Polarettes

Club reopens, summer camps also approved

Yukon College becomes Yukon University

Yukon College has officially become Yukon University, or “YukonU.” The post-secondary institution… Continue reading

Mushroom pickers in Snag area asked to register with First Nation

“We want to ensure that our land, water, and people are respected during this season”

Today’s mailbox: Healthcare, COVID-19 and taxes

Letters to the editor published May 22

Yukon Teachers’ Association elects new president

Holy Family Elementary School principal Ted Hupé has been elected president of… Continue reading

Most Read