The Claims so Far – True or False?
Scroll Down or click to see the claims evaluated so far:
Appointed or Elected MLAs?
Representation – Does Power Shift?
Simple or Complicated
Good or Bad for the Economy?
Increased Voter Turnout?
Which System is More “Stable”?
Who’s in Power with Proportional Representation?
Does Proportional Representation Really “Make Every Vote Count”?
Claim: “You will have your representatives chosen off political party lists. Most often, these people are well-connected political operatives who, more often than not, will be from the Lower Mainland or Victoria.” “When you vote for a political party you are giving over your authority to that political party to appoint people to the legislature.”
Stated by: BC Liberal website, NO side spokesperson Suzanne Anton
These claims are mostly false. There is no system on the ballot with “MLAs appointed by party bosses”. Most of the systems give voters more choice than they have today. In all proportional systems on the ballot, candidates will be from your local riding or region. Any exceptions that occur in real life also apply to our current system, first-past-the-post.
These claims are 100% false.
On May 30, 2018, the BC Attorney General released a report with referendum recommendations, which were adopted by the cabinet on June 7, 2018.
On page four of the report, one of three mandatory criteria for any proportional voting system was that no region would lose MLAs.
This claim is mostly false. There is nothing to substantiate it in terms of the experience of voters in countries with proportional representation. However, the formula to determine the winners used by Elections BC is more complex than first-past-the-post.
Claim: “Asked why a business organization is leading the legal fight against proportional representation, Gardner said his organization fears it would be bad for the B.C. economy.”
Stated by: Chris Gardner, Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA), Vancouver Courier July 3 2018.
NOTE: The claim about the economy, when made by the ICBA, is usually paired with “instability” – read the Fact Check on stability here.
As a broad generalization about the economy, this claim is false.
Economics is a multi-faceted topic. The relationship between different aspects of economics and electoral systems is a complex topic subject to ongoing investigation with mixed findings.
There is certainly no consensus among researchers supporting a broad generalization that proportional representation is “bad for the economy.” There is research showing proportional representation is associated with higher government spending on social expenditures, higher economic growth and more economic stability.
Claim: “Voter turnout is 7% higher on average in countries with proportional representation.”
Stated by: Fair Vote Canada, on its website.
The accuracy of this claim depends on how the claim is phrased. The claim as stated above is 100% true, but sometimes proponents go farther and say that proportional representation will increase turnout in BC. There are not enough examples of before-and-after scenarios of countries moving from first-past-the-post to PR to say for certain that proportional representation will lead to increased turnout in BC – the evidence is mixed.
Which System is More “Stable”?
Claim: “Proportional representation creates perpetual minority governments and it creates instability.” “PR could lead to instability and uncertainty in government policy.”
This claim is mostly false. Elections are no more frequent with proportional systems, although changes in government may be. Stability of policy may be improved with proportional representation.
Claim: “This is a way to keep the NDP and Greens in power indefinitely. People need to wake up to that.”
Stated by: Andrew Wilkinson, BC Liberal Leader. The Province, June 3, 2018
This claim is 100% false.
Proportional representation is used by over 90 countries, including most of the countries in the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD). Governments in countries with proportional representation change based on how people vote at election times, with parties on the left, centre and right all having turns in government.
There’s no evidence that voter preferences for one particular government will be fixed in place “indefinitely” with proportional representation.
Claim: “Under proportional representation, your vote will count in every election.” “This is our chance to make every vote count!”
Stated by: Maria Dobrinskya, spokesperson for the official campaign for proportional representation: The Province, April 19, 2018. Fair Vote Canada, PR4BC page and campaign slogan: www.fairvote.ca/pr4bc
This claim is mostly true. Proportional systems make ALMOST every vote count. Electoral reform experts such as Fair Voting BC estimate that proportional models for BC will make over 95% of votes count.
Authorized by Fair Vote Canada BC, registered sponsor, (778) 588-9563