The First 8 Points
Many of the arguments the Liberal party is using against Pro Rep are simply panic buttons and trigger phrases designed to get a Big Roar from the party faithful. They have no logic supporting them. Learn to ignore the hype and look for the logic behind the arguments.
I. FIRST MAIN ARGUMENT: Check out who created these problems
In my Sept 23 article, “They Started It,” I remind readers that when your argument has a flaw, it’s a great trick to point at the opponent and accuse him of having the flaw first.
When you see any of these accusations about the flaws that Pro Rep is “sure to have,” ask yourself these questions:
- Are they already present in the system?
– Many of them are, or they wouldn’t make such great hot buttons, would they?
- Could they be caused by FPTP voting?
– Many of them are caused directly and some partially. To be fair, some are not.
- Is there any direct logical reason why Pro Rep might make the situation worse?
– Or is the opposition just pointing “they started it” fingers.
II. Unstable coalition governments (Big Roar from Supporters)
Not true. Comparing Pro-Rep government to minority government doesn’t always work. Coalitions under FPTP are unstable because majorities are the norm. The governing party in a minority government is just looking for the right moment; then they pull the plug, hoping for a majority. When the usual outcome is a minority or coalition, there is no incentive to try for another election. It just makes the voters angry
Statistics from Pro-Rep countries like New Zealand and Germany show a 3 month longer average life of their governments over ours. Big deal. Basically a non-issue.
III. Unstable Economy
Let’s talk about “Policy Lurch” when a new government with an opposing agenda takes over.
- Economic effects of changes made by new governments.
- How much did it cost the B. C. Liberals (I mean the taxpayers of the province) to cancel Glenn Clark’s $400 Million Fast Ferries debacle?
- The Federal Liberals paid half a billion dollars in penalties when they cancelled Brian Mulroney’s contract to replace the Sea King helicopters.
- Economic effects of rapid changes made to “get it done”
- How much extra did Christie Clark spend rushing the Site C Dam to the point where the NDP couldn’t stop the project?
- Economic effects to investors of uncertainty due to policy lurch.
- It sounds great to invest in a country where the government has the ability to “get things done:” in other words, make legislation of advantage to your company.
- But what good is that if it only lasts 4 years, and then another government cancels it all?
Economic data supports this; businesses prefer to invest in Pro Rep countries, as opposed to majoritarian systems. The result is “Higher growth rates than other forms of government, lower growth-rate volatility, higher rates of private saving and lower levels of capital flight.” One study found that GDP growth was 1% higher in Pro Rep countries. Since Canada’s GDP growth is in the 1% – 3% range, that’s huge.
IV. New type of politician with no loyalty to anyone but the party (Roar)
Completely false. In fact, this is exactly what happens under FPTP. This idea comes from the old feudal concept that your politician should be in the pocket of the local voters. It completely ignores parties like the Greens and Conservatives who are widespread across the province. Who is going to represent them? Under multiple member systems, Pro-Rep MLAs are responsible to their local constituents just like before, or under Open List to the constituents of their area.
V. The NDP are going to benefit from this
Well, duh. True, of course. Everybody is going to benefit from this except the party that has ruled the province 75% of the time for the last 50 years with 40% of the vote.
VI. Ushering in extremist parties (Big Roar)
Read, “Smaller groups of people will take power away from mainstream parties like us.” In the last federal election, all the “extremist” parties in Canada totalled less than 1% of the popular vote. Remember the 5% threshold. Which “fringe party” is the Liberal party worried about? The Conservatives.
VII. Rural/urban power unbalance
A non-issue. This is happening all over the world, and Pro Rep is going to help some, but not much. There is no evidence or logical argument why it should get worse under Pro Rep. The mandatory criteria for choice of Pro Rep system; no region will lose MLAs. It will end the Safe Seats in the interior that mostly belong to the Liberals, if that makes any difference.
VIII. They haven’t been tried elsewhere
2/3 true. If that’s important to you, vote for MMP, which has been used for decades in New Zealand, Germany, Scotland, Wales.
This is the end of Part 1. Look for Part 2 on Tuesday.