Today the citizens' assembly recommended a single transferable vote electoral system for British Columbia. Under that system, when voters go to the polls, they'll be handed a list of local candidate whom they'll rank in order of preference. Then, depending on the size of the riding, the top three to seven will be sent to the legislature - with metropolitan ones receiving more members those in rural areas. But, even though the single transferable vote system is a favourite among political scientists worldwide, the citizens assembly's recommendation may not sit well with the people who run Fair Vote Canada.
Back in September, a five-member committee of local Fair Vote Canada members - including Stephen Broscoe, Karen Etheridge, Bruce Hallsor, Steven Philips and Julian West - put together a presentation for the assembly endorsing a single transferable vote system. One reason (among many): the system increases the chances mavericks will make it to the legislature. After all, if British Columbians can vote for more than one person, there's a greater chance they'll be willing to take a chance on an independent.
That presentation was nixed and changed by Fair Vote Canada's 15-member national council, obstinately because the organization isn't supposed to favour one electoral system over another. But there was other reason why the council didn't want Mr. Hallsor, their vice-president, to endorse single transferable vote.
The organization's president Doris Anderson, the former editor of Chatelaine, personally favours a mixed member proportional representation system because she feels it's better for women. Under that system, British Columbians would vote twice: once for a local representative and a second time for their favourite party. Those parties would then be awarded a number of seats based on their share of the vote. And the bums filling those seats would most likely be chosen from a party list. That means public pressure could be brought to bear to ensure an equal number of men to women make it onto those lists - essentially creating a quota system. Kind of clever, eh?
But it also explains why, in a news release today, Green leader Adriane Carr condemned the citizens' assembly recommendation, saying she would be "contacting people like Doris Anderson, founder of Fair Vote Canada and a leader in the womens' movement" to fight against that proposal.
Incidentally, Ms. Carr seems to be one of Ms. Anderson's biggest fans. Her favourite magazine is Chatelaine. And Ms. Carr told us she recently finished reading Ms. Anderson's autobiography, Rebel Daughter.