Cullen calls for test run of national elections

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen believes new electoral systems should be tested out to see if we like it

  • Jan. 21, 2016 6:00 p.m.

MP Nathan Cullen

Parliament. What that system should look like has been a point of contention among voters and federal parties, but Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen believes there is a way to make sure the best system is chosen: try one out and see if we like it.

“I’ve nuanced it a bit and said, just in the experience in B.C., that we should try it for an election or two, and then give people a full vote: Do you like the new system we have, or do you want to revert back?” explained Cullen last week.

“There’s a lot of resistance to change when you don’t properly know what change is going to look like. I remember this when STV [single transferable vote] was being debated here, it was really hard for people to grasp in real terms.”

Concerns, such as having a local representative to connect with any concerns or issues was something Cullen said he heard when changing how British Columbians vote was being debated.

“There’s some experiences out there that says you test drive these things; you give it a shot and if it doesn’t work out, you give people a sort of fail-safe where you say ‘We can go back to the old first-past-the-post,” said Cullen.

When asked if this trial and error approach was risky, Cullen said the place to start is to consider if the current system is working properly.

“A lot of the evidence says that it’s not: people’s enthusiasm, voter participation, all those things,” said Cullen.

“We’ve had this system for 150 years. If we were to switch over for four to eight years, it’s just a moment in time, really.”

The NDP MP added that another way to avoid parties seeking the best system that would help them win is to come up with principles before specifics.

“I’m willing to say we have a preferred system, the NDP does, we think it’s a good one. But we’ll step back from that and say ‘come up with the three to five most important tests that a new system must meet. Questions like proportionality or the vote being reflected in the House of Commons, direct representation — that you have somebody there on your behalf directly, and then once those principles are set up, then you come up with the system,’ ” explained Cullen.

 

Just Posted

QC food bank needs cash

Feed the People program shuts down for month of May

Repen: FOI data proves Telkwans being ripped off by ICBC

Former Telkwa mayor received a response from ICBC and says the results don’t look good for residents

Fires still burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Child, 11, accidentally shot in the chest at Alberta religious colony

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

Update: Court proceeding for man charged in fatal church shooting adjourned unil May

Matrix Savage Gathergood charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault

RCMP looking to retrace steps of woman found dead on Kelowna beach

Caitlin Midori Bradley, a 29-year-old dancer at a Kelowna bar, was originally from Surrey

Most Read