Letter to the Editor: Ranked ballots seek majorities

I was happy to read Councillor Blair Mirau’s letter in your pages last week on the topic of voting reform in Canada

The following is an open response letter from Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen to Prince Rupert resident Blair Mirau:

Editor:

I was happy to read Councillor Blair Mirau’s letter in your pages last week on the topic of voting reform in Canada – a historic opportunity to rethink how we want to be represented in our national Parliament.

I appreciate Councillor Mirau’s contribution to the debate even if I happen to disagree with his voting alternative of choice, the ranked ballot.

Voting systems like our current system, first-past-the-post (FPTP), and ranked ballots seek to manufacture a single ruling party majority government.

I am more in favour of proportional representation (PR) systems. The goal of these systems is to create a parliament that focuses on compromise and cooperation, and which honestly reflects how the population voted. Thirty per cent of the votes means 30 per cent of the seats. Simple enough!

My own election in 2015 is a perfect example of how first-past-the-post, just like the ranked ballot system, leaves too many votes and voices out of our national conversation. I was humbled to be re-elected last October with about 51 per cent of the ballots cast. But this means 49 per cent of the voters in Skeena—Bulkley Valley didn’t elect anyone. The 21,735 people who voted Liberal, Conservative, Green and CHP deserve to have their views represented in Parliament, just like the 22,531 who voted NDP.

This happened across the country in 2015. Some MPs were elected in their ridings with as little as 28 per cent of the votes. Seventeen million people voted; nine million votes didn’t elect anyone.

The fact that half of the votes don’t “count” is why Canadians around the country are rallying for reform. But we already know that ranked ballots, like FPTP, will throw away half the votes cast because even with a ranked ballot, the winner only needs the support of 50 per cent of his or her constituents. In that light, it’s hard to really call ranked ballots a solution.

The other reason I do not support ranked ballots is simple: Canadians should be able to vote for their first choice, not their third or fourth choice, and have their vote count when the seats are awarded in Parliament.

The reason I support PR is also simple: every vote is counted, no matter where a person lives or who they vote for; PR countries tend to elect more women and people from minority backgrounds; they tend to have more cooperative and diverse parliaments; and voter turnout is, on average, seven per cent higher.

The other reason is that the research, expertise, and countless past studies like the 2004 Law Commission report all overwhelmingly recommend a proportional representation system to work towards leveling up Canada’s democratic deficit.

I agree with Councillor Mirau that this opportunity before us for change is real and full of promise. That’s why I believe we should use it to address the underlying problems with our current system. And we should use it to build a made-in-Canada solution that takes not necessarily the easiest path but one that challenges us to think big, be visionary, and, as the prime minister said during the last election, make every vote count.

Nathan Cullen

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP

 

Just Posted

Prince Rupert minor hockey is on the brink

The Prince Rupert Minor Hockey Association is in dire need of referees

Moving to the beat of his own drum

Garry Wells has beat drums with his village for more than 30 years

In Our Opinion: Go get ‘em Nathan

They need to change the name of the capital of Canada. Anyone… Continue reading

Prince Rupert students learn to chase away anxiety

Author Amanda Stern presented at Prince Rupert Middle School on Feb. 22

Northern residents rejoice at increased BC Ferries sailings

B.C. government announced that service will be restored to 2014 levels

Ice skating on the North Coast, a rare treat

Seawolves hockey players bring their gear to Oliver Lake this week to play on the outdoor rink

Lehner posts 4th shutout as Isles blank Canucks 4-0

Vancouver drops third game in a row

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Most Read