Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bill Tieleman: manipulateur for the unmentioned First-Past-the-Post voting system

I read an opinion piece that Bill Tieleman, the pro-First-Past-the-Post chief, wrote for the online magazine, Straight Goods. No, I am not going to dissect all his arguments that he writes against the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system. What I will do is question why he has nothing good to say about his beloved First-Past-the-Post voting system.

Tieleman criticizes STV by quoting former BC Green Party leader Colleen McCrory who stated that STV was not proportional enough. He doesn't offer any suggestions about which proportional voting system he would favour. There's the Pure List system and Mixed Member Proportional. The Pure List system would create one super-sized riding for BC. MMP would approximately double the size of the constituency seats and create list seats for the whole province. I don't think Tieleman would favour either model.

Tieleman loves the antiquated First-Past-the-Post voting system. However, he won't admit it. He writes, "STV would create enormous ridings of up to seven MLAs and 350,000 people that would take away local accountability and responsibility of MLAs to voters." Never does he defend First-Past-the-Post. Never does he promote First-Past-the-Post. It would be nice if Tieleman could say, "First-Past-the-Post maintains small ridings with only one MLA for 50,000 voters. That MLA is locally accountable and responsible to his/her voters (and the MLA will toe the party line according to his/her leader's demands thereby negating local accountability and responsibility)."

Tieleman complains about fractionalizing of STV votes. I wish I could understand his concerns about fractions. Maybe, he did not like doing fractions as a young boy in elementary school. I wish he could mention that under his cherished First-Past-the-Post voting system, someone's vote may be worth zilch if that person wishes to vote for a candidate who has absolutely no chance in winning. I would rather have my vote fractionalized under BC-STV than have it worth nothing under First-Past-the-Post. At least if my vote is fractionalized, its fractional parts are still worth a sum of one.

"If you want change, work for something better than STV," Tielman writes. I can understand someone who may oppose STV because he or she wants Mixed Member Proportional or honestly advocates to keep First-Past-the-Post. Tieleman doesn't do this. He just complains about STV.

Mr. Tieleman, I do not wish to know which system you are against. I want to know for which voting system you advocate. Besides your unmentioned First-Past-the-Post, which system is better than STV?


Chrystal Ocean said...

That's why I never refer to the pro-FPTP side as anything but that. There are only two electoral systems up for referendum: FPTP and BC-STV. The one is a single member plurality system which was originally designed for a two-party state, the other takes the best of SMP and adds elements of proportionality in order to accommodate a multi-party state.

Some BC-STV supporters have fallen to defending STV. It's unnecessary. I want to know what is so wonderful about FPTP such that Messrs. Tieleman and Schreck, members of the inner circle of the purportedly ONLY progressive party in BC, think that it's better. It's not about BC-STV vs. NOT BC-STV. The issue is BC-STV vs. FPTP.

janfromthebruce said...

I read the article by Tieleman. It doesn't appear that he is pro FPTP but would prefer proportional representation or a mixed system of representation, in which Chrystal points out, is not a consideration.

Bill does voice some real concerns that I sure hope don't materialize, such as independents or small parties actually not getting elected.

I would if I could vote for STV, not because I think it is good or better than FPTP, but the fact that it would help create change in other electoral systems, especially at the federal level.

However, I don't like STV in comparison to PP and a mixed system.

Skinny Dipper said...

Hi Jan,

It would be nice if Tieleman could openly state that he supports a PR system such as MMP or province-wide List. If he could support some variation of the above, that would make it clearer. I have that cynical feeling that if BCers were voting on MMP, he would be campaigning against that system also.

Mr. Tieleman is a highly intelligent man who knows how to frame the voting reform debate. He constantly attacks BC-STV. Never does he mention anything good about First-Past-the-Post. If I were in his shoes, I would be doing using the same strategy.

BC-STV supporters need to follow Messrs. Tieleman and Schreck's strategy by attacking FPTP. Many of us joined the proportional representation movement because we felt cheated by the use and abuse of the antiquated First-Past-the-Post voting system. We need to tell our stories. We need to tell how it doesn't make a difference whether or not we vote in our FPTP ridings. How, our local MLAs and MPs do not listen to us because power is centralized in the party leaders' offices and government MLAs and MPs don't listen to us because power is controlled by the governing leader and his unelected staff.