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Submission COCHRAN-1576 (Online)

Submission By Doug Cochran
AddressVancouver, BC,
CategoryElectoral system change
Support for an MMP system with a legislature of 100 seats, 25 chosen from party lists. Within the one year before a general election, a party's slate of candidates must be elected by all registered party members. [2 pages]

Submission Content
I will be brief with this submission since I know you have had a mass of information and documentation to plow through. At least people are interested in this topic.
I have not had an opportunity to exhaustively study other submissions on the topic of proportional representation, so if I repeat points made by others, my apologies.
While I fully endorse changes to the system for electing a provincial government, I share some concerns that we should ensure that changes create a more representative and responsive system of government. I will address my comments to the mixed mode of proportional representation [MMP]. Currently we have 79 MLAs elected to represent constituents in each riding. This personal representation is something that I believe should be maintained. Yet, it should be possible to supplement this process with a form of additional representation that will more closely approximate the wishes of the public as expressed in their voting.
I appreciate that many people are interested in a form of proportional representation and some have sounded warnings about what can be lost when abandoning a first past the post system. At any rate, as a good Canadian, compromise holds considerable appeal to me. Here is my suggestion. 
Redistribute the ridings so that there are 75 ridings where MLAs are elected in the same manner as they are now. With relatively little tinkering and redistribution of the urban ridings this could be accomplished. It may be that the first go-round would leave the ridings as they are presently, at 79 and just add 25% in proportional representation seats. But, as will soon be apparent, reduction to 75 has a certain symmetrical appeal. 
25 additional "seats" would then be created to be distributed amongst participating parties based on the proportion of the vote received on a second, "proportional ballot". Thus each voter could vote for their representative and have a second vote to cast for the party that has the proportional slate that is most appealing. While most voters are likely to vote the party line, this is by no means something a party could take for granted. It is most Canadian to want to have someone there to keep the other guys honest. 
Thus there would now be 100 MLAs which for some undefinable psychological reason I find appealing. One advantage is that it doesn't increase the size of the Legislature too substantially and may in the end be an incremental change which is appropriate for such a major experiment. 
All parties running candidates would be entitled to put forth a slate of candidates and encourage all electors to vote their slate. This would be a way of promoting representation for under-represented groups (women, minorities, disabled persons) and parties would be subject to scrutiny for how "representational" their offering is. 
BUT it is essential that each Party have an election within the one year prior to the General Election where their slate is elected by all registered party members. This is key, since one of the most alienating aspects of our present system is the stranglehold that the "old boys" of the party have over promoting candidates or rewarding insiders. This creates cynicism and skepticism about the electoral process. The MLAs would gain their seat if they rank within the percentage of the proportional representation slate that the party receives in the proportional representation vote.
Thank you for the opportunity to put forth these thoughts.

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