LETTER: The fault lies with the electoral system

Many voters feel coerced, under our first-past-the-post voting system

Your editorial “A crash course in politics” misses the point, implying that the fault lay with B.C. voters failing to deliver a coherent message.

In fact, the fault lies with the electoral system, for failure to obtain a true expression of the will of the people and failure to fairly translate citizens’ votes into electoral results.

Many voters feel coerced, under our first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system, into voting for the lesser of evils.

FPTP produces seriously distorted election results. In five of B.C.’s seven elections since 1991, it produced a false majority, pseudo-dictatorships with 100 per cent of the power based on less than 50 per cent vote-share.

The 1996 election produced the wrong winner, an NDP false majority with only 39 per cent vote share, when the losing Liberals had 41 per cent.

The 2001 election was a blow-out win for the Liberals, with 97 per cent of the seats and no official opposition, even though 42 per cent voted against the Liberals.

The 2017 election was a virtual tie between Liberals and NDP (43 to 41 seats, 40.36 per cent to 40.28 per cent vote share), with the Greens (three seats, 16.84 per cent vote share) as king makers holding the balance of power.

However, risks of an unstable minority government are entirely due to FPTP distortions that cheated the Greens by about 12 seats.

With a fair voting system, the Greens would become a strong junior partner, ensuring government stability with either Liberals or NDP. (Hence avoiding issues regarding the speaker, and any need for another election.)

Jeff Jewell

Mission