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NDP's Crowder says BC should grab STV opportunity

The NDP member of parliament for Nanaimo-Cowichan, Jean Crowder, says she supports a 'yes' vote in B.C.'s May referendum on changing the voting system.

“This is our opportunity to support a form of proportional representation and I think we should grab it,” she said. “I don't hear too many people saying this current system is working for them.”

On May 12, along with the provincial election, B.C. voters will be asked whether they want to keep the current first-past-the-post system or switch to the single transferable vote form of proportional representation.

Last week The Tyee reported that the NDP MP for Victoria, Denise Savoie, said she supports making the change.

The provincial NDP has taken no official position on the referendum. “We do lots of really great work together and we will sometimes have our differences,” said Crowder.

Crowder said she followed the Citizens' Assembly process that recommended STV, and has done her own reading on the subject. The current system often returns results that don't reflect how people have voted, she said. “People understand that kind of skewing of the representation does cause problems in terms of making representative decisions.”

STV opponent and former NDP MLA David Schreck said he has never voted for a winner in an election (he lived outside the constituency he won and didn't even get to vote for himself), but has always felt represented.

“Even when it was just Joy and Jenny,” he said, referring to the 2001 election where Joy MacPhail and Jenny Kwan were the only two NDP MLAs to win their seats. “Joy and Jenny did a better job than some of the larger caucuses.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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