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Vancouver Politics

Proportional Representation: Coming to Vancouver Municipal Elections? — The Tyee

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Proportional Representation: Coming to Vancouver Municipal Elections? — The Tyee

by Devon Rowcliffe

Starting Oct. 22, British Columbians will receive referendum ballots in the mail asking if they wish to switch the province’s electoral system to a form of proportional representation. But two days earlier, when City of Vancouver residents head to the polls for their municipal election, they will also have the opportunity to select politicians who intend to reform our civic elections.

A record number of Vancouver election candidates have argued that the city’s plurality-at-large voting system is dysfunctional and should be replaced.

Their concerns are valid. U.S. courts have struck down election systems in numerous municipalities for not providing fair representation for minorities.

Here in Vancouver, it has been 46 years since a candidate of South Asian descent was last elected to city council. Even worse, Filipinos have never been elected to any municipal office in Vancouver. This despite these groups being the third- and fourth-largest ethnicities in the city.

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Sorry, Vancouver, It Will Forever Be Your Grandfather’s NPA — The Tyee

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Sorry, Vancouver, It Will Forever Be Your Grandfather’s NPA — The Tyee

by Devon Rowcliffe

Bremner’s arrival in 2017 as an NPA by-election candidate offered a bold alternative: significantly increasing the city’s housing supply by loosening antiquated zoning restrictions. He and political strategist Mark Marissen read the Vancouver electorate’s sentiment perfectly, recognizing the bubbling discontent over high housing costs. Also partly thanks to an outdated voting system and a plethora of centre-left parties splitting the vote, Bremner coasted to an easy by-election victory for the NPA...

Bremner’s departure creates a dilemma for the NPA. He is arguably the Vancouver politician who has best understood the electorate’s sentiment and also managed to articulate the clearest vision for resolving housing unaffordability. Bremner had promised to deliver votes from young Vancouverites to the NPA, a population cohort the party struggles to attract. Millennials are now a larger voting bloc than baby boomers, meaning the NPA cannot afford to lose them.

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Uncertain consequence of voting “no” muddles transit referendum — The Georgia Straight

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Uncertain consequence of voting “no” muddles transit referendum — The Georgia Straight

by Devon Rowcliffe

Can a referendum truly be deemed “fair” if voters are thoroughly confused as to the consequences of one of its two options?

Two weeks from now, Metro Vancouver voters will begin receiving their transit referendum ballots in the mail. They will be asked whether they approve a regional sales tax of 0.5 percent, which will be used to generate $7.5 billion to fund transit and transportation improvements across the region.

It seems straightforward enough—until you consider that retaining the status quo is nowhere to be found on the ballot.

The result of a Yes vote is obvious. But what of a potential No victory? This is where things become confusing—which could bestow a massive advantage upon the No side.

There is a troubling lack of clarity as to the consequence of a No result in the referendum. Possibilities are numerous, ranging from the rejection of new transit and a massive expansion of highways and automobile use (against the wishes of the municipalities), through to merely collecting the $7.5 billion for new transit through a different type of regional tax, as well as everything imaginable in between.

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