The MLA for the riding I live in, Melanie Mark, was out campaigning this past weekend and was... well... "cornered" by reporters.
Not in a "We finally pegged down the M.I.A. MLA who has been dodging an issue and held their feet to the fire!" way, but in a "We asked the most basic question of an MLA who was out in public supporting a thing if they understood the thing".
She did not.
Both CBC and Global reported that, when asked if she could explain how the three options of proportional representation would work, Mark said that "With all due respect I’m not an expert in this field," and that "I do have a degree in political science, but I’m not an expert in electoral representation".
She continued, saying that the first past the post system we have now is bad bad, and the other ways of deciding on who we elect would be much more good. I am, of course, paraphrasing here.
Pardon my language but what in the actual fuck? The fundraising 20-somethings with clipboards who stop me at lunch asking for money to support initiatives in far flung countries know more about the things they're being paid to prop up than a minister who should know this file top to bottom? That's troubling.
Seeing a politician walk the streets encouraging people to vote in favour something that they can't explain increased my level of cynicism by about .5% this week. It doesn't do anything to disprove the notion that our NDP government is only conducting this referendum in order to appease their potential executioner, the Greens' Andrew Weaver, in order to cling to power.
I'm not going to tell you how I think you should vote in the referendum. Partly because even though I've read, seen and heard a bunch of explainers online, on radio and on TV and still don't have a firm grasp on the different options myself, but mostly because I'm not here to do that; this column is primarily meant to point out ridiculous things that government is doing in your city.
Do better, Melanie Mark. Below are some things that you (and your constituents reading this piece) should read before you throw that envelope in the mail:
- HERE is an explainer of the three types of proportional representation that Mark couldn't explain.
- Premier John Horgan and the Liberals' Andrew Wilkinson will be participating in a DEBATE where they will hopefully be able to explain the merits of the different systems.
- HERE is everything you need to know about the referendum, with no spin, from Elections BC.