Dear Editor

October 12, 2003

To the editors of the Ottawa Citizen;

John Robson claims that "...the political paralysis PR causes discourages sudden lurches in policy, good or bad. But it encourages a slow steady slide into economic stagnation, public alienation and social discord." (Losers are for PR, and PR is for losers, Citizen, October 8, 2003)

This simply will not stand up to scrutiny. There are 75 countries in the world which use proportional voting systems, including all of the best run countries in the world, countries like Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Belgium and New Zealand. Polls and studies show that countries with proportional voting systems tend to have greater levels of voter satisfaction with government, and with politicians.

They also have better representation of women and minorities, contrary to Robson's claim that first past the post somehow protects minorities from the majority, presumably by preventing the majority of the voters from choosing the government.

He also perpetuates the myth that adopting a proportional voting system somehow means losing geographic representation, shutting out rural voters. In fact, we have the opportunity to design a made-in-Canada voting system which will be fair for all Canadians.

"PR is for losers," says Robson. Well perhaps, but under our current winner-take-all voting system, most of us are losers, because most of us vote for people who do not get elected, and as a result, we end up with a government that most of us did not vote for.

Wayne Smith