The provincial NDP will take no position on the May referendum to change the provincial voting system, but at least one of the party's federal Members of Parliament will.
“I will support STV,” said Denise Savoie, the MP for Victoria. It's a personal position, she said, not that of her party. “I'm not sure that's the best alternative, but it's better than the system we have.”
Savoie is hosting a public forum on proportional representation in Victoria this evening. The forum will include Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP Jean Crowder and University of Victoria political scientist Dennis Pilon.
In May British Columbians will vote on whether to adopt a Single Transferable Vote form of proportional representation instead of the current first-past-the-post system.
While provincial NDP leader Carole James has said the party will not take a position on STV, some of the strongest voices against the change include those of former party strategist David Schreck and Bill Tieleman, who was an adviser to former Premier Glen Clark.
Asked if her support for STV puts her at odds with her provincial counterparts, Savoie said, “When people I agree with on many issues disagree with me on a position I take, I listen very carefully . . . If I think something's important and it's right, I do and would speak out.”
The December political crisis in Ottawa further convinced her that the current system leads to political games and poor representation.
“I've been thinking about proportional representation for a long time,” she said. “I think it would lead to a more collaborative approach to public debate and public policy.”
Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.