rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Electoral reform under attack as B.C. prepares for referendum

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Voting location sign from Elections. BC Photo: Dennis Sylvester Hurd/Flickr

British Columbia will be holding a referendum on electoral reform in November. B.C. voters are asked two questions.

The first question asks whether B.C. should keep its first-past-the-post system or change it.

The second question asks which of three different proportional representative (PR) options British Columbians should choose: dual member proportional (DMP), mixed member proportional (MMP), or rural-urban proportional representation, where urbanites elect representatives using single transferable vote and rural voters elect representatives using mixed member proportional.

One important criteria for a fair electoral system is resistance to undo influence by power groups. Under our current first-past-the-post electoral system there is considerable influence exerted by corporate and other groups on political parties. Through political contributions, exchange of favours and lobbying, policy and legislation can be disproportionately influenced.

For example, Bill C-38, the Conservative omnibus budget bill, which vandalized most of our environmental regulations and repealed the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, reflected the shopping list of requests made by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), in a letter sent to the Harper government in 2011

Undo influence indeed!

Most proportional representational electoral systems have built-in resistance to influence by power groups. An organization like CAPP would have to seek influence with more than one or two mainstream political parties. They would have to spread their political donation dollars thinner. And how likely is it that a group like CAPP could conspire with the minority or coalition governments which are often the result of elections using PR?

Much rides on the continuation of an unfair electoral system like first past the post. Many influencers see real democracy as a barrier to their aspirations. It is not a surprise to see them organized against electoral reform in B.C. Nor is it a surprise to see them colluding with mainstream political parties to prevent electoral reform. 

Influencers claim to be concerned about democracy. In a similar fashion, foxes express concern about the well-being of hens.

Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) have asked the courts to put an injunction on the referendum. They have also mounted an anti-electoral reform advertisement campaign, spreading misinformation, slandering reformers and ramping up fear.

Jim Shepard, former CEO of CANFOR (a lumber and wood corporation) and adviser to the Liberal Leader Christie Clarke, launched a group known as KNOWB4UVOTE.COM Society. They have a website and have purchased full-page ads claiming the "David Eby is trying to manipulate you." David Eby is B.C.'s attorney general.

On Saturday September 22, in response to the campaign of misinformation against proportional representation, Fair Vote Canada launched a fact-checking website, Proportional Representation Fact Checker Site. Within hours the website was shut down by an amateur hacker. Fair Vote was able to get the site back up quickly only to have it hacked a second time in a denial-of-service attack. Their IT staff have identified the attack as "sophisticated."

Professional hackers capable of sophisticated hack jobs are very expensive. Only those with deep pockets can afford them.

Fair Vote Canada is a grassroots organization dependent on volunteers and with limited funding. My husband and I donated to them today. 

Here is the link to Fair Vote Canada.

Here is another link should you wish to donate.

P.S. It is 18:06 on Wednesday September 26, 2018. As I write this, the Proportional Representative Fact Checker site just went down again.

Yukon is full of artists, thinkers, eccentrics and rabble-rousing political trouble makers. From the windows of her Acting Out Studio, Linda Leon observes the view from North.

Photo: Dennis Sylvester Hurd/Flickr

Help make rabble sustainable. Please consider supporting our work with a monthly donation. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.