November MLA Report
The Legislature has begun the fall sitting so I am back in Victoria until the end of November. As Opposition, it is our job to use question period to take the NDP government to task on its policies and political decisions especially in the areas of taxes and jobs. The policy of allowing only specific unions to work on government projects and to force all workers who need those jobs to become union members is totally against everything the Liberal Party has always stood for, so we will continue to hold the government’s “feet to the fire” on that one.
The Speculation Tax, which targets second homes of all people including British Columbians, only applies to certain areas of the Province at this time but could be expanded at any time at the whim of the Finance Minister. Many people bought a second home as an investment for their retirement and that value is now being diminished every year with this tax. People who have a second home are not “speculators”. These homes are meant for retirement or as a legacy/inheritance for their families. These are just two of the issues we will continue to pursue.
Municipal Elections are now over for another four years. I commend those who put their names on a ballot and put a very public face to their desire to make their communities better places to live and work. Congratulations to those who were elected to positions in local governments- the people who voted for you have, by their vote, put their faith in your ability to serve your communities. Too often today public figures are the subject of anonymous social media criticism or letter writing from what are often called ‘armchair politicians’. Do not be influenced or discouraged by those negative comments. The majority have made their decision and your job is to represent them to the best of your ability.
The next ballot you will need to focus on is the Proportional Representation referendum mail-in ballot. It has the potential to change the democratic process we now use for Provincial Elections. Our current democracy operates under a majority rule system - decisions are based on the needs of the majority. Other forms of voting open the door for minority and “fringe” groups to dictate to the majority.
There have been numerous articles written on this subject in the last few months, written by people who have done extensive research, so I will quote a few of them for you.
Bob Plecas in the Vancouver Sun said:
“The assertion the options presented in BC’s referendum are used around the world is incorrect. Unless ‘around the world’ means ‘four countries, specifically Germany, Lesotho, New Zealand and Bolivia’. Those are the only national elections that use any of the forms of proportional representation British Columbians will be asked to vote on”. He goes on to say “Most rely exclusively on party lists. You elect parties, not people. And there are at least four ways of selecting names from a party list, but the point is they are party lists, not locally elected MLA’s like we have now”.
On the ballot you are looking at there are two systems never tried or used anywhere in the world.
Another article by George Salamis might be considered a bit extreme but he does make clear some of the possibilities that P.R. opens the door to.
“P.R. effectively amounts to ‘tyranny of the minority’ where special interest groups and single issue parties gain power, hold increasing sway in the halls of government and thwart the will of the people. It essentially gives policy-makers a free pass to push moderate voices aside and ignore the “bigger picture” to the detriment of the greater good. Our first past the post system may not be perfect, but it is simple, stable and its working.” End of quote.
As your MLA I cannot tell you how to fill out the ballot but I urge you to read everything you can about the different voting systems and if you do not fully understand what is being suggested then do not vote to change our current democratic system.
Mark your ballot to keep ‘first past the post’.
As we all take a moment on November 11th to remember past sacrifices made defending our democracy, remember also the men and women of our current armed forces who, today, are still defending our democratic way of life and offering support to those under duress in many locations around the world.
As we move into the time of year that weather can be unpredictable please insure you have good winter tires and allow extra time to get to appointments. Be safe, and enjoy the fall harvest.
Linda Larson, MLA, Boundary Similkameen