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.