Thursday, June 13, 2024

Yukon an opportunity for proportional representation

Yukon Territory is a small, somewhat isolated part of Canada, but it represents a unique opportunity to open up more minds to the advantages of proportional representation.  So far  in bigger jurisdictions vested interests have managed to stymie other efforts.  Recent polls indicate that most voters are unaware of electoral systems that are to be studied by a few of their randomly selected fellow citizens.  The Yukoners through a Citizen's Assembly might not only get a fairer and more effective electoral system for themselves, but also point the way for the rest of us.

The strongest driver for proportional representation are the voters.  A lot of the people with legislative power don't want it and are afraid of it.  Those in power under our First Past The Post system got there under the current rules while at the same time most votes are wasted.  

In Canada your vote only helps the eventual winner.  All other votes accomplish next to nothing.  In Ontario one candidate got 40% of the votes, but got 66% of the legislative seats, meaning that party decides which policies are passed.  In fact only 40% of eligible voters actually bothered to vote.  Some stayed away for laziness or ignorance, but many realized their vote would be wasted.

The territorial government of Yukon has agreed to authorize a Citizen's Assembly to examine electoral systems.  Citizen assemblies are non partisan with its members picked randomly to represent the electorate.  From there they can recommend something fairer.  In British Colombia a similar effort required a 60% threshold to change their electoral system, but they only managed to get 58%.  The Yukon will be up against forces who profit under the present FPTP system.  The opposition includes not only legislative members who got their power under the current FPTP system, but lots (not all) of big business like how they can influence legislation under the status quo.   

How does proportional representation improve the lives of the average voter?  Studies have shown that those who live under their system live longer, have the environment better cared for, have better economies, enjoy reduced inequality and not surprisingly have higher voter turnout.  For proof check: 

Under proportional representation, voters would have a real choice with a vote that is not wasted.  Politicians would be encouraged to co-operate.   

Yukon is a relatively small populated entity which means we can perhaps funnel more resources to reach a higher percentage of the electorate.  There are approximately 9,000 households and there are many ways to contact them, just need money and volunteers.  Should their efforts result in a proportional representative government they will be a role model for the rest of Canada and the world as well.  As most eligible voters do not know much about how electoral systems affect them they are subject to the views of vested interests.

 See what Fair Vote Yukon is up to  Maybe you can help.

No comments:

Post a Comment