Don’t change system without referendum


Re: “Electoral process must be updated: watchdog,” Sept. 29.

It would be undemocratic to change Canada’s electoral system without first asking Canadians in a referendum whether they prefer the proposed alternative or the status quo. The cost would be minimal if the referendum were held in conjunction with the next general election.

First, Canadians must be informed about how, under any proposed alternative voting system, electoral districts would be redrawn, ballots would be counted, successful candidates would be chosen, and local representation and accountability would change.

The word “reform” implies making things better. It might very well be that the majority of Canadians are satisfied with the current system and see no need for improvement. That was the message in three recent provincial referendums, including British Columbia, more than 60 per cent of whose well-informed citizens rejected proportional representation in 2009.

It’s disturbing to hear proponents of change say the issue is too complicated for the electorate to understand, and that “to hold a referendum is to say no to reform,” which is what one speaker submitted to the Electoral Reform Committee as it met in Victoria last week.

In other words, don’t ask the Canadians what they prefer because you might not like the answer. This from an advocate of “democratic reform!”

John Amon


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