Open letter to Premier Darrell Pasloski re electoral change:
On Friday, we had a brief discussion on the possibility of Yukon’s majority government, along with the entire legislature, working to establish a citizens’ commission to study electoral systems as requested by Fair Vote Yukon.
You said that your Yukon Party did not have a sufficient number of constituents expressing a concern about the ineffectiveness of our present electoral system to justify working on that concern.
Up until a few years back, I was like many Yukoners. I thought that there couldn’t be anything wrong with Canada’s present system until I took a serious look at the effects of our present first-past -the-post electoral system.
Through this system’s unfair representation of votes, all political parties have been underrepresented in elections as well as overrepresented in other elections, as you can see in the four past election results shown below.
Governance is based on the electoral system, because it determines who is elected.
It is much more important than I used to think.
In 1985, the Yukon NDP formed government with 41 per cent of the popular vote, but got 50 per cent of the seats. The Conservative Party got 37 per cent of the seats, but actually earned 47 per cent of the popular votes.
In 1996, the NDP got 40 per cent of the votes cast, but won 64 per cent of the seats. The Yukon Party got 30 per cent of the vote, but only 18 per cent of the seats in the legislature.
In 2000, the Yukon Liberal Party won 59 per cent of the seats with 43 per cent of the popular vote. The Yukon Party won one per cent of the seats with 24 per cent of the popular vote.
And in this year’s territorial election, the Yukon Party got 58 per cent of the seats with 40 per cent of the popular vote. The Yukon Liberals got 10 per cent of the seats with 25 per cent of the vote.
It is my understanding the opposition parties are considering bringing forward a motion that includes the establishment of a committee to study electoral systems.
At this time you have the opportunity, with your majority government, for the Yukon to lead Canada in leaving a legacy of an electoral system that would result in more representative democracy for the Yukon. Members of Fair Vote Yukon are concerned our present electoral system does not represent voters effectively, and more and more people are looking harder at this issue.
Fair Vote Yukon is presently working on a petition to be presented at the spring session.
Is my thinking correct you have the power to determine that the motion has a free vote?
As you noted, I have had discussions with Mike Nixon, my MLA, and Wade Istchenko from Kluane. I believe they appreciated the concern for a better electoral system.
When you and I parted, I said I would write an open letter to you and to all Yukoners. I encourage citizens to let their MLAs know if they would like a different electoral system where their votes would almost always count in a meaningful way. You can contact your elected representatives through this link: http://www.legassembly.gov.yk.ca/mlas/members.html.
Maybe with a free vote, the Yukon legislature would vote unanimously on the motion to study ways to make the Yukon more democratic.