British Columbians have a chance to either push forward or shut down Proportional Representation (PR).

Dr. Maxwell Cameron is the Director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions in the political science department at UBC.

According to Dr. Cameron, the original First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system has been in place for hundreds of years however it where it excels in its simplicity, it struggles to represent the wishes of the popular vote.

“The Challenge with our current system is that it generates highly skewed results. Whether you are a rural voter or an urban voter, if you don’t vote for the winning party in a winner takes all system, your voice doesn’t receive any representation. In other words, your vote doesn’t count towards the party you supported which is enhancing its representation in the legislature. It’s as much of a problem for rural voters as it is for urban voters.”

He says the challenge in PR is finding a system that better reflects the popular vote while at the same time maintaining local representation where voters have a strong relationship with their MLAs.

“Various systems that are on the ballot all reflect an effort to balance local representation with proportionality. The reason why there is a trade-off there is simply because in order to get proportionality, you have to have somewhat larger ridings.”

Dr. Cameron goes into more detail.

“This raises a potentially interesting and thorny question for rural districts because they’re already geographically very large and more sparsely populated and so there are a number of solutions to try and address this.”

This week, the MyGrandForksNow.com Newsroom with the help of Dr. Cameron will explore these options and weigh them against the current First-Past-The-Post system.

The Systems include:

Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP)

Dual Member Proportional (DMP)

Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)

British Columbians also have the option to vote NO and keep the current system wherein ridings range from 42,000 to 65,000 people in size and one member of parliament is elected per riding.

First Past the Post (FPTP)

If you have not received your voting package, click in this link.