British Columbia’s coalition government misses the sortition option in its election survey

British Columbia is set to move toward a revised system of forming its government. The province is conducting a survey asking its citizens what type of selection system they prefer.

The current first-past-the post electoral system hasn’t worked well for the two parties now in power.

The New Democratic Party won the most seats in the 2017 election, but it was a tad short of a majority government. The NDP formed a coalition with the Greens, who now hold the balance of power with three seats.

The coalition is an anomaly for British Columbia. In most elections in past decades, the NDP has achieved only minority status in government. Another party–the Liberals or the Social Credit party–had won a majority position. A majority allows a virtual dictatorship in a parliamentary system–and it can be possibly achieved in a three-party province with as little as 34 percent of the vote.

The Greens are understandably happy with their position in government today. They have held zero seats most of the time. Both the Greens and NDP are amenable to proportional representation, which would almost certainly assure them better status in the future. This is especially true of the Greens who consistently garner a greater percentage of votes than the percentage of seats they win.

The survey is a first step toward establishing such a new selections system before the next provincial election. The choices on the survey are among several systems of proportional elections and a single transferable vote ballot.

Unfortunately, the survey fails to mention sortition.

I filled a survey in December. Considering that politicians don’t want to lose their jobs and would not appreciate complete random selection of representatives, I suggested that just 10 percent of them be selected by sortition.

That would be a good start.

 

 

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