MLA Report: Electoral reform is necessary to protect democracy

The only way this will be our reality is to have a democratic system that actually works.

Editor’s note: This bi-weekly column was submitted prior to  election day on October 19th.

It is time for us to choose democratic reform.

I believe that all citizens should have a share of political power, not just a highly privileged few.

The only way this will be our reality is to have a democratic system that actually works. While Canadians are fortunate compared to most in the world, my 10 years as your elected representative convinces me that there needs to be meaningful improvements to our democratic system in B.C. and in Canada.

I strongly believe in Proportional Representation, and the system I believe best meets our needs here in B.C. is Mixed Member Proportional Representation. It works in other Parliaments similar to ours such as New Zealand and Scotland, and Proportional Representation is used across Europe.

This democratic reform is just the beginning of what we need to do. My colleagues, led by MLA Gary Holman, have introduced a package of Private Member’s Bills that are needed to make the B.C. Legislature work better.

The Bills have all been rejected by the BC Liberals to date, but I am convinced they are the direction needed for people of all political views. These Bills would ban corporate and union donations, and would open up government by making freedom of information and privacy legislation actually work. There are Bills that would require that the legislature sit with a fixed schedule, that would make petitions work more effectively, and would make it easier for young voters to register.

For much of human history and in many parts of the world, ordinary people have lived their lives oppressed and lacking the power to participate in political decision-making. We have the power to make our own decisions.  Now is the time for us to choose democratic reform in Canada and in British Columbia.

Norm Macdonald is the NDP MLA for Columbia River Revelstoke. He can be reached by phone at 1-866-870-4188 and by email at norm.macdonald.mla@leg.bc.ca.

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