People are asking me why I am so adamantly in support of proportional representation. Like you, I have felt such disappointment, even outrage watching a minority of votes win government over and over again in our elections. I agree that 39% of the votes should get 39% of the seats in a legislature, and Pro Rep will give us that. However, there’s a more compelling reason I want to see Pro Rep used in BC…
One of the things I do is advocate for social change towards a more inclusive Canada. In 2015, I organized BC communities to convince the BC government to finally do the right thing and pass human rights legislation banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.
Based on my experience doing that work, I know Pro Rep will bring a major improvement for British Columbians for a very important reason: Proportional representation flushes extremists out into the open.
I’m reminded of how Chilliwack MLA Laurie Throness was elected thanks to his anti-LGBT+ support. Throness was Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton thanks to an awful alliance between extremist social-conservative groups and red liberals that continue to underpin the BC Liberals today. In 2015, when I was advocating to Anton for the addition of gender identity or expression to the BC human rights code, Laurie Throness was on her team pushing back, his opposition to LGBTQ2+ rights well-documented. This problem comes up in the 2017 documentary 1253 letters about the campaign for trans equality in BC.
Under FPTP, extremists leverage their local appeal to access mainstream parties desperate to win specific ridings, and this is why in BC we all know our province’s BC Liberal base is actually conservatives.
Under ProRep, supremacist single-issue candidates such as Laurie Throness or Laura-Lynn Thompson will be forced to own their hurtful platforms under the glare of the election spotlight. They will have to own the hatred they cultivate, and the reality that their ideas do not resonate with large numbers of people. Luckily, very few candidates who pursue agendas centered on discrimination will get through the election process – far less than we suffer today because of the current electoral system.
I really want white supremacists, Christian supremacists, or anyone else campaigning on a hate-based platform to have to loudly and openly declare their intentions. It may be momentarily unpleasant, but it will save us the damage that they quietly cause today.
…because hatred withers in daylight.
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