EDITORIAL: Our political system is broken when half don’t vote

If the system is broken, why not save some money and shut it down

Another election has come and gone, and once again half of those eligible to vote in this province didn’t bother.

And who can blame them?

In a political system where candidates like the NDP’s Gary Holman (Saanich North and the Islands) can win a seat with just a third of the popular vote, is it any wonder the majority feel like their votes don’t count?

When the BC Liberals can win a clear majority in the legislature with fewer than half the votes, and thus dictate legislation for the next four years unimpeded, is it any wonder why the other half feel completely disenfranchised?

When the Conservatives can garner close to 80,000 votes and still have no representation in the legislature, is it any wonder why so many British Columbians feel like they don’t have a voice?

Of course, representation means nothing in the provincial legislature if you are a member of a minority party.

Because every vote in the legislature is whipped, there is no opportunity for meaningful debate, and no chance for good ideas to be heard, should they come a member of the opposition.

When a majority government consistently votes in the legislature along party lines, as every ruling party in B.C. has done for more than 60 years, then what we have is little more than a dictatorship, dressed up to look like democracy.

So if every vote in the legislature is predetermined by the party in power, why have MLAs vote at all?

If no meaningful debate takes place in the legislature—which is the reason it exists in the first place—and instead happens only behind closed doors by party insiders, why is the legislature even necessary?

The provincial government could save millions in MLA salaries and pensions by doing away with this farce of an institution.

Keep the building, of course. It could be turned into a museum, a monument to what democracy once was.

Something is very wrong with our political system, and low voter turnout is symptomatic of this. The fact is, if you’re not with the winners, you’re a loser, and your voice doesn’t matter.

-South Delta Leader