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April 30, 2017 3:25 pm

Class Project Finds Thirst for Electoral Reform

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 10:22 AM

UNBC Political Science 320 students – photo submitted

Prince George, B.C. – A third year political science class at UNBC has found there’s a thirst for electoral reform in Prince George – at least among younger people.

Class spokesperson Kari-Ann Gandy said the findings – the result of over 350 completed surveys – were consistent with their hypothesis.

However, she also noted that the results were very skewed because the class couldn’t get permission to conduct polling at large retail outlets in town.

“We polled quite a bit at UNBC and CNC – just based on places that said yes to polling. But we did find that young people (between 18 and 29) wanted change,” Gandy said. “There was also a trend between the political party that they voted for in the last election and a desire for reform.”

For example, she said they found 60 per cent of respondents who voted for the NDP in the 2015 federal election strongly agreed with the need for electoral reform while 38 per cent somewhat agreed (27 per cent who voted for the Liberal Party strongly agreed).

Gandy said the study did not assess why people wanted reform or what kind of electoral reform they were seeking.

Was she surprised by what they found?

“No, I wasn’t. I was pleased with our results. I think that’s great. I probably would have liked more time to survey because we only had a week due to the time constraints we had.”

Gandy said they chose the topic because it was a major plank in the Liberal Party’s platform in 2015 and noted they chose it prior to the party reneging on its pledge to bring in electoral change.

Moving forward, she said the class is now considering whether to present their findings to Prince George City Council.

Comments

I voted Liberal/ I think there is a great need for reform. When you approach City Council ask that all (in camera meetings be recorded) When a council member makes recommendations the public should have the right to check for false or biased information .

I voted Conservative (and lost) and I don’t believe there is any need for reform.

Reforming the system is being pushed by those who cannot find any other way into the Government. Notice that the Liberals scrapped the idea as soon as they won a majority, however when they were in third place, with the NDP in opposition they were in favour of reform.

The present system is just fine. What we need to do is give Members of Parliament more responsibility, and the option of voting against their party on certain issues, if their constituents want them to do so.

Electing members of parliament to represent you, and then have their hands tied so that they have to toe the party line is hardly democratic. We need less power in the PMO’s office.

Palopu

If you take a look at countries that have implemented electoral reform (New Zealand and Ireland come to mind), one of the documented effects was that elected Members were not as tightly controlled by the party leaders and did represent local or minority group interest more frequently.

Of particular interest to me in NZ was how the Maori communities were guaranteed representation. This allowed these groups to always have a voice at the table which in effect stopped the ‘big parties’ from trying to be claim ‘ownership’ of the indigenous voice. Same effect for the Greens. This allowed the ‘business’ parties to own the financial leadership role while having to have ongoing public debate (and agreements) with the smaller groups to move the scenarios along.

Good on the political science class for engaging in the discussion. I think there is more support for reform than any of the traditional parties want to acknowledge.

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