Could British Columbia now get proportional representation?


Electoral reform is not easy. It’s 24 years since New Zealand voted for MMP yet the four other “anglosphere” countries (UK, US, Australia and Canada) remain mired in First-Past-the-Post voting for their lower houses.

This may soon change as a result of Green gains in last Wednesday’s British Columbia elections. The BC Greens now have three seats and hold the balance of power between the Liberals and the New Democratic Party. Proportional representation will be the Greens’ number one point in negotiations over the formation of a new government.

PR has a lot of support in Canada. Knowing it was popular, Justin Trudeau pledged support for electoral reform in the 2015 election campaign, only to change his mind after he became Prime Minister. Trudeau then claimed proportional representation might produce “an augmentation of extremist voices in the House.” In 2005 and 2009 referendums in BC demonstrated significant support for STV replacing FPP in provincial elections.

The Green result in the BC elections illustrates the unfairness of the FPP system. The Greens got 16.75% of the vote but only 3.5% of the seats (three in total).

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It was, however, a fantastic result for the Green Party, which doubled its vote. It showed strong support for Green policies for better public transport and for reducing house prices – and of course for combating global warming. The oil moguls weren’t happy at the Green advance because of the party’s opposition to fracking and the BC/Alberta Trans Mountain pipeline.

The Greens paid a lot of attention to the housing crisis with innovative proposals like a property transfer tax (PTT) on a sliding scale from 0% on the first $200,000 for a property’s value to 12% on property valued at over $3 million. Also there was a “speculation” PTT to discourage flipping of property, and a 30% foreign buyers tax. The Greens were also pushing for considerable government investment in affordable housing.


  1. Quite so. The more you are comfortable with extreme inequality and maximizing your financial position at the expense of the rest of society,the more you dislike M.M.P.

  2. Hope they do Keith then I can move back to a sane society again.

    I lived and worked in Canada during the 1960’s later returned in the 1970’s and last returned to Canada again when Rogernomics was killing NZ in 1987.

    We (family) only came back home to NZ when in 1999 Labour/green/NZ First teamed up to run the country, so if this history is repeated this September we may stay.

    But if this reckless destructive national toxic mob are returned we will go back if Canada shows a more Human culture than what is left here for us now.

    Canada was always more civil to it’s people than NZ since the 1970s.

    • The government formed after the 1999 election was Labour and the Alliance, with the Greens staying outside government, while supporting its formation with a Confidence and Supply agreement. NZ First was only involved in the third term of that government, along with United Future, propping up Clark in her Berlin bunker phase. Key’s National government carried on the torch for the centre-right coalition of 2005-08 without changing almost anything.

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