Sunday, February 25, 2018

No BC Proportional Representation Society charge Fair Vote Canada BC with trying to subvert government public consultation process, stuff ballot box

No to Proportional Representation in BC

NEWS RELEASE                                                                Sunday February 25, 2018

NO BC Proportional Representation Society charge Fair Vote Canada BC with trying to subvert government public consultation process with “guide” to filling out online questionnaire on electoral systems and stuff ballot box

Part of Fair Vote Canada BC "guide" to BC government consultation
An advocacy group is trying to subvert a BC government public consultation process on possible changes to British Columbia’s electoral system in the fall 2018 referendum by asking supporters to use its “guide” to answer the government’s online questionnaire, says the No BC Proportional Representation Society.

Fair Vote Canada BC is attempting to wrongly influence the results of a BC government website seeking public input by encouraging its supporters to follow its directions on answers rather than think for themselves and answer honestly, says Bill Tieleman – a No BC Proportional Representation Society director.

Tieleman said every one of Fair Vote Canada BC’s “recommendations” on answers would bias the government consultation heavily in favour of proportional representation and against our current First Past The Post electoral system.

“It is absolutely offensive that a group which purports to want more democracy and voter engagement in elections is out trying to subvert a public consultation process and stuff the ballot box to meet its own narrow goals,” said Tieleman, a former BC NDP strategist who successfully led opposition to the Single Transferable Vote electoral system in the 2005 and 2009 provincial referenda.  “Fair Vote Canada BC is attempting to bias the results in favour of its own agenda and not listen to what actual voters think about our electoral system and our democracy.”

The Fair Vote Canada BC website states that: “FVC has prepared some tips to help you answer the questions in the BC government survey.... This guide will provide tips on some specific key questions – 5, 7c, 8, 9, 18b, 18c, 19, 20, 21, and 24 – related to the referendum question format, values and PR systems.”  And a FVCBC Tweet says of the survey: “We recommend using our guide for completing it (some confusing questions)”.

The Fair Vote Canada BC website guide is blatant in its disregard for even its own supporters’ personal opinions, says Suzanne Anton, also a No BC Proportional Representation Society director and former BC Liberal Attorney General.  

And Anton notes that another Proportional Representation advocacy group – Leadnow – is also referring supporters to the Fair Vote Canada BC guide:

“Fair Vote Canada BC is literally telling people what they should think and how they should answer important questions about our democracy – that is exactly the opposite of what should happen,” says Anton. 

“Proportional representation supporters like FVCBC and Leadnow are trying to stack the deck in their favour for the referendum ballot and how it is going to be conducted – that is reprehensible.”

Anton added that the No BC Proportional Representation Society is not telling anyone how to fill out the government consultation questionnaire.

“We trust BC voters to answer important questions however they believe – Fair Vote Canada BC obviously doesn’t even trust its own supporters – because they might think for themselves and give the ‘wrong’ answers,” Anton said.

Bob Plecas, a No BC Proportional Representation Society director who served as a deputy minister in many portfolios under several BC governments, says it is astonishing for a public advocacy group to openly attempt to subvert the consultation process.

"I find it insulting to British Columbians that some back room hack in Fair Vote BC believes there is a need for a Dummies Guide to the Referendum Questions,” says Plecas. 

“The trouble with zealots who believe they know all the answers, and provide people with a paint by numbers kit to answer the most simple of questions, is that it makes a mockery of the process and their members.  Zealots and ideologues spawn bad pubic policy." 

Plecas said the Fair Vote Canada BC “recommendations” – if followed – would result in a highly unfair and biased referendum ballot question.  He gave one example where Fair Vote Canada BC recommends rejecting “simplicity” as one of voter’s top 5 values because it would favour First Past The Post. [See photo above]

“The fact that not only would Fair Vote Canada BC argue against simplicity as a value in our electoral system but also then have to explain exactly why –because Proportional Representation is so complicated – is laughable,” Plecas said. “Here’s an even more simple idea for them – let people figure it out for themselves!”

The No BC Proportional Representation Society will work to defeat any proportional representation system proposed for the fall 2018 referendum schedule and support the current First Past The Post electoral system that has served BC well.



Anonymous said...

Best publicity ever for the FVC-BC survey guide! I wish this article had come out a couple of months ago!

Anonymous said...

"Zealots and ideologues spawn bad pubic policy" - sounds a lot like successive BCLib and BCNDP governments to me. Tieleman prefers rhetoric and grandstanding to the fact that people might actually try and research and consider issues. I trust the public in BC to make up their own minds, and to take advice as they see fit. No-one is forcing anyone to follow advice! Tieleman apparently wants uninformed decisions without information - makes him sound like the biggest ideologue out there. Of course, if he and his colleagues hadn't been lazy, and had written their own synopsis, their position would have been very different.

Scotty on Denman said...

@ Anon above:

“...people might actually try and [sic] research and consider issues.” Yes, of course, but Fairvote and Leadnow are pro-rep partisans, their sites do not mention the many problems pro-rep would foment if implemented, they only mention the pros—and many of those are opinionated and chauvinistic.

The long and short is that voters should get educated about the options before voting in the Referendum, and they won’t get it from orgs like Fairvote which provide extremely biased promotion of pro-rep and demonization of all other systems.

It is unethical for Fairvote or Leadnow to present themselves as authorities or objective educators on electoral systems; they exist to promote pro-rep by any means possible, including misinforming voters.

Fairvotes “manual” shows exactly why the reform process should be delegated to Elections BC which is mandated by law to be impeccably impartial by demonstration, thoroughly expert on all electoral matters, and ready at all times to serve in it’s capacity as fair arbiter of elections. It should have authority to ban misleading, election campaign-style advertising and to fine violators in the effectively deterrent amount. Politicians—who are all inescapably partisan—should be recused from this process entirely, with the two exceptions of authorizing Elections BC with the requisite powers to design, invigilate and conduct the Referendum. And, second, legislating the Chief Electoral Officer’s recommendation after the votes have been counted.

The worst outcome would be to end up with an inconclusive or illegitimate result that might invite court challenges and nullify the exercise. Unfortunately, the government appears to be doing its utmost to inject partisan bias into the electoral system education prerequisite and ensure an ambivalent result by using a mail-in voting system—with its insurmountable veracity and fraud problems—combined with a simple, 50%+1 threshold that will make a close result extremely susceptible to legitimacy challenges that might nullify the exercise. Allowing orgs like Fairvote to impersonate an educative authority is just one more inappropriation that might, potentially, be submitted as one of the growing list of evidence suggesting willful manipulation of the process in favour of one of the Referendum options.

To sum up: recuse politicians, delegate to Elections BC, ban advertising, and get rid of either the mail-in voting system or the 50%+1 threshold.

Anonymous said...

As I was filling out the survey I found it confusing and unclear. I also did not like the idea that I had to pick one type of PR against FPTP system. I want to be represented fairly and I want more voices in our legislature than one dominant big tent party making decisions for the whole of the province. That is not true democracy, it is a horse race with one winner and the rest losers! In the last election the Libs lost their majority by 189 votes! What kind of democracy is based on winners and losers? An unthinking, power structure that benefits the few and not the many. That is not the kind of world I want. I’m not sure what type of PR system would be best but it should have regional balance where all voters are represented, not just one winner! We should have a system that reflects how people voted! What’s so hard about that?

Anonymous said...

Last time I looked outside it didn't look like April 1 yet, but this must be a joke, right? Supporters of PR are evildoers now? Come on Bill; you may find it incredible and distasteful that not everybody agrees with you, but to want to deny "the deplorables" their freedom of speech is a little over the top, don't even you think, when you think?

Prof Wobbly said...

Mr. Tieleman and the other "NO" advocates in this article appear as one trick ponies. Every argument presented attacks the integrity of FVC, not the arguments FVC presents in favour of Proportional Representation.

The following Christopher Hitchens quote seems appropriate: "I always think it is a sign of victory when they move on to the ad hominem". Given the No side is starting with ad hominem, perhaps they have no other arguments.

susan said...

Hey Bill! How much were you paid to attack? Professional Lobbyists like you give lobbying a bad rap.

Bill Tieleman said...

I do not get paid to do anything on the anti-Proportional Representation file, nor was I paid during the 2005 and 2009 Single Transferable Vote referenda. And I have no idea how you come to the conclusion that "professional lobbyists" give lobbying a bad rap! If I call, email or meet one government official once - I have to register. I agree with the Registry requirements and live up to them both provincially and federally. But explain to me "susan" how I would represent the best interests of my many clients in many fields if I could not ever - even once - have a conversation with a government representative - elected or staff?