Proposal Title

SESSION 3.3: Saboteurs, Looters and Witless Dupes: The Rise and Fall of the Coalition for Proportional Representation in BC

Presentation Type

Individual paper

Location

IB 1015

Start Date

3-5-2019 3:15 PM

End Date

3-5-2019 4:45 PM

Abstract

At the end of November, the NDP government will count the results of a postal vote that will deliver proportional representation its worst defeat yet. BC voters are set to repudiate electoral reform on an unprecedented scale. How is it that proportional representation could fall from 58% support in the 2005 referendum to 39% in 2009 to the low 30s in 2018? The answer to this question is to be found at the social movement level. Declining support for PR has closely followed the ideological narrowing of fair voting movements throughout Canada. As with my previous papers at BC Studies, I will be offering a participant-observer perspective as both social scientist and movement activist. The proposed paper will seek to understand the reasons the BC electoral reform movement chose to ideologically narrow its base of support despite serious consequences at the polls and will, through this example, seek to adumbrate key trends in BC social movement politics in the twenty-first century. As a member of the boards of the formal Yes committees in 2005 and 2009 and a former director of Fair Voting BC, Fair Vote Canada and the BC Electoral Change Coalition, I am privy to a large array of un-curated primary sources pertinent to this shift and will bring them to bear in this analysis.

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May 3rd, 3:15 PM May 3rd, 4:45 PM

SESSION 3.3: Saboteurs, Looters and Witless Dupes: The Rise and Fall of the Coalition for Proportional Representation in BC

IB 1015

At the end of November, the NDP government will count the results of a postal vote that will deliver proportional representation its worst defeat yet. BC voters are set to repudiate electoral reform on an unprecedented scale. How is it that proportional representation could fall from 58% support in the 2005 referendum to 39% in 2009 to the low 30s in 2018? The answer to this question is to be found at the social movement level. Declining support for PR has closely followed the ideological narrowing of fair voting movements throughout Canada. As with my previous papers at BC Studies, I will be offering a participant-observer perspective as both social scientist and movement activist. The proposed paper will seek to understand the reasons the BC electoral reform movement chose to ideologically narrow its base of support despite serious consequences at the polls and will, through this example, seek to adumbrate key trends in BC social movement politics in the twenty-first century. As a member of the boards of the formal Yes committees in 2005 and 2009 and a former director of Fair Voting BC, Fair Vote Canada and the BC Electoral Change Coalition, I am privy to a large array of un-curated primary sources pertinent to this shift and will bring them to bear in this analysis.