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LETTER: Vote 'yes' and move democracy forward

Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor.
Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor. - SaltWire Network


In response to John Barrett's Op-Ed on April 6, I would like to point out that the countries that Mr. Barrett says are "not so rosy" examples of mixed member proportional representation (MMP) don't actually use MMP. A few countries that do use MMP are New Zealand and Scotland, prosperous and stable countries coming from the British tradition, and Germany, which has used MMP for seventy years and is famed for its strong economy and quality of life.

None of these countries have elections more than we do, and they all get a lot of work done – as we saw recently with New Zealand, which took only six days to pass legislation to ban semi-automatic weapons. We don't have to look very far to see examples where first-past-the-post (FPTP) systems produced a "not so rosy" outcome – The Wall Street bailout, U.S. government shutdown and Brexit. Think about our own outcomes and ask yourself if you feel well served.

Ultimately, democracy is a way for our government to reflect the popular will. It doesn't magically fix all our problems for us, and any democratic society can encounter difficulties and strife. In the end, our fate is in our hands and will be what we make of it.

Vote Yes P.E.I. believes that the artificial distortion of the popular will under our current system is not stable, it is not proven in any good sense, and unlike a proportional system like MMP, it certainly doesn't reflect what people voted for in a simple and fair way – percentage of votes equals percentage of seats. I'd like to note that the majority of countries in the world that use a form of proportional representation aren't holding referendums to move to a first-past-the-post system.

We believe it is time for Islanders to lead and seize the opportunity in front of us. On April 23, vote Yes for moving democracy forward for all Islanders – urban and rural.

Susan MacVittie, volunteer coordinator with Vote Yes P.E.I.,

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