rabble.ca | The Coalition, BC-STV and next steps for the Left

April 15, 2009

Read this great article on rabble.ca about support for the BC-STV referendum and how it will affect political parties on the left.

The Coalition, BC-STV and next steps for the Left

I think the author has a fantastic point about mobilizing youth.  Why is it that young people responded so strongly to the coalition and to BC-STV?  There is an excitement there, a lack of cynicism.  Some may say this is youthful naivete but what if its the reverse?  What if its the older people who have seen years of bitter politics and wasted votes that are afraid to admit that there is a way to make things better.  Its not that BC-STV will save the world or make politicians all into perfect angels, but the incentives a system provides do influence behavior.  Every attack on a candidate with similar ideas is a calculated risk because you’ll lose transfer votes and won’t be able to scare the voter into strategically choosing your anyways rather than ‘waste their vote’.

Just in case you think this youthful naivete will lead to an unstable government because “proportional systems don’t produce stable governments”, take a look at this map of electoral systems used around the world. Most governments around the world use some form of proportional system that reflects the voter choice more or less accurately. The only systems in that map that aren’t proportional are the red one (former British Colonies).  Even runoff voting used by France and a few others gives voter two chances to vote, once to say what they really mean without strategic voting and once to get it right.

So the big question is what’s wrong with us? Why must we hold onto this old system that worked for aristicracts voting in parliament centuries ago? Why are we so afraid of change?  We’re the west coast, we’re Canada’s California! Why can’t we blaze the path forward.  The rest of Canada will take notice and in a few years after we’ve shown its possible the rest of Canada will come to us to ask us how to make it work for the whole country.  You can reshape political discourse in this country forever, and that means more to you if you under 30 than if you’re over 60.  So get out there and change it!

Don’t forget about the 24 Days to Victory event this saturday and our plans for the Sun Run on sunday.

UPDATE: This story is getting a lot of reading. Also see another great analysis of this article over at Challenging the Common Place

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