Photos Courtesy of CBC
Okay, if Pro Rep wins the referendum, it’s all in the hands of the Legislature, and we will progress into the heights of Nirvana or the pits of Chaos, depending on which side you were on.
But What if Pro Rep Loses?
It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens in the Legislature if First Past the Post remains the flavour of the day. We have a cobbled-together semi-coalition government involving the cooperation of two parties whose main point of connection was a burning desire to change the voting system. No matter what differences of personality or philosophy the two leaders may have had, the mutual benefit of a proportional system kept them pulling in tandem.
Without that harness, it will be interesting to see how long this marriage of convenience lasts. Andrew Weaver has been shrill in his comments about many of John Horgan’s policies, especially those relating to climate change. If he doesn’t need to toe the line to keep the Pro Rep dream alive, will he push for more of the Green agenda?
On the other hand, Horgan has been constrained by his need to keep Weaver and his verdant friends happy. Given a FPTP election in the offing, perhaps he would be better to shed those far left, tree-hugging environmentalist attitudes and work towards the swing vote in the political centre, hoping that if the economy continues to chug along he can eke out real victory next time. It only takes 42% of the vote, you know.
At least, that would be a reasonable approach in the old days. Like two years ago.
How About Now?
There is always the possibility that the young voters who were drawn into the Pro Rep debate will continue their interest in politics. In that case, a new, environmentally and democratically aware electorate just might be amenable to a Green platform enough to keep the Liberals from getting a majority in the Legislature, returning us to a NDP/Green alliance again. If they’re betting on that, our present leaders will hold it together, use their time to impress the new electorate with their policies, and try to do it all over again.
And then there’s Pro Rep, which is not dead but only sleeping. Which will be the next party to bring up the subject? In the media scrum after the Great Non-Debate, Andrew Wilkinson made a half-hearted promise to hold a “properly run” referendum on the topic. Of course, most of us took this as another empty promise by a party devoted to taking any action necessary to regain power. But who knows?
Because I am getting suspicious. Campbell’s Liberals created a form of Pro Rep in 2013 that they put up to vote. The Federal Liberals promised Pro Rep, then cancelled it when they discovered they couldn’t control the selection committee. Now the Provincial Libs are mentioning it again. Is there a form of Pro Rep that could benefit an old-fashioned winner-take-all party? Do they know something we don’t know?
In any case, we’ll know who won in a few weeks. How long does it take for a computer to count such a small number of ballots, anyway?