B.C. Green leader doubts she'll live to see proportional representation

The popular topic in the Green camp tonight was not the shades of green worn, but rather when and how there should be some kind of electoral reform after Prime Minister Stephen Harper gained a second minority government in three years.

However, both Doug Warkentin—who said this was his seventh election at various levels—and B.C. Green party leader Jane Sterk differ on how soon they think a new electoral system can come in.

Sterk suggested it might not happen for a couple of generations, whereas Warkentin is convinced that B.C. voters will approve the Single Transferrable Vote in the 2009 provincial election.

"I think it proves that all of these Web sites that were advocating strategic voting; it doesn’t work," Sterk said. "People should just learn not to trust these vote swaps. We need to vote straight on for what we believe in. It demonstrates we need some sort of proportional representation in this country. It won’t happen in my lifetime. I don’t think it will happen. Unless we pass it in B.C. I think it won’t come up for another couple of generations."

According to Warkentin: "I think this election is definitely going to re-energize the push towards electoral reform. There was such a huge interest in strategic voting, and I think a lot of that can be translated into recognition that we really need electoral reform. The next provincial election in B.C. we have a rerun of the referendum of the Single Transferable Vote system, which I will be working to support. Based on how close it came to passing last time, I expect it to pass this time. I think once it happens somewhere, in one of the provinces, it will start to happen everywhere, and the pressure will become greater. Right now it’s easy to try to promote the status quo by the parties that benefit from it. People don’t like change if they don’t feel the need. I think we need to start getting out there after this election and show that this further demonstrates that we really really need electoral reform in Canada."