Statement from the Communist Party of BC, June 10, 2018

         The Communist Party of BC welcomes the recent announcement of the details of the ballot for the upcoming referendum on electoral reform in British Columbia. Our Party will work with others to help win the strongest possible support for a vote in favour of a Proportional Representation system, and to drop the current First-Past-the-Post system.

         As our party has argued for decades, FPTP unfairly gives legislative majorities to parties which receive far less than 50 percent of the overall vote totals. There are even occasions when FTPT allows a party which finishes second in total votes to win the most seats and to form governments, against the expressed will of the voters.

         In the context of the Canadian capitalist system, the most frequent effect of such outcomes is to allow pro-business parties to unilaterally impose right-wing, austerity policies which benefit the corporations and the wealthy, but hurt the working class majority of the population.

         While PR does not guarantee more positive government policies, it does give working people stronger opportunities to elect governments which are more responsive to public pressure, and it increases the chances to elect Communists and other progressive candidates. This is one reason why right-wing parties and corporate forces are leading the campaign to block electoral reform by spreading disinformation and scare tactics. We will speak out strongly against this anti-democratic tactic, in favour of PR and other democratic electoral reforms. We also note that for all their hypocritical protests against PR, the ruling class in Canada has never hesitated to use every possible strategy and tactic to sabotage genuine democratic electoral structures, including banning the Communist Party on a number of occasions, imposing unfair restrictions on smaller parties in general, and denying such parties any meaningful access to mainstream media outlets.

         The policy of the Communist Party in Canada has always been to support a Mixed-Member PR system, one which combines two important principles: the election of representatives at the local level in order to speak for the interests of diverse geographic communities; and the need for legislatures to include the views of substantial numbers of people who support parties which are unlikely to win seats under FPTP.

         For this reason, on the second part of the mail-in ballot this fall, the CP of BC will urge voters to rank the three PR options as follows: “1” for Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), versions of which are used in many other countries, including New Zealand, Germany, Scotland and Wales; “2” for Dual Member Proportional (DM); and “3” for Rural-Urban PR.