The Yes Side
by Roy Ball
STV is business friendly because it avoids wide swings in policy / taxation as we lurch from Left to Right. Big policy swings are obscenely costly for taxpayers. STV leads to stable governments and better debated legislation.
I own an electronics manufacturing company in Ottawa that exports world-wide. I know first-hand that sustainable, responsible business won't invest in BC unless we get stable government/balanced legislation.
Chamber of Commerce is neutral on STV but a prominent member says 'Yes, this is an important point: governmental stability is critical to sound business investment strategies'
Canadian Taxpayers Federation have toured BC saying STV is better for business and increasing government accountability.
Bruce Hallsor, BC co-chair of federal Conservative party/former Canadian Alliance candidate, says 'our back and forth political culture has not been a comfort to investors or businesses… STV is good for business, the economy, and more importantly, for democracy'. Vancouver Businessmen Andre Monar and Nick Geer agree.
Italian style government with annual coalition changes? No way! Italy uses a party list system that allows a huge number of small parties in the legislature. Very small parties will not get seats under STV because of the high threshold for winning.
Stable government / positive business climates are seen in Australia, Germany, Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Portugal, Spain and most of the 75 Pro-Rep countries.
Doctor Andre Piver sat at regional public sector management tables and says we waste massive resources to comply with the "New Order" every time we get a Left/Right swing: Months of meetings and frantic scrabbling for scarce dollars by realigning appearances of programs: Ministries/programs/offices opened and closed. All this even if the new policy was intended to diminish bureaucracy. STV will buffer extreme swings which result from current "throw the bums out" politics.
Business owners, like other voters, need access to MLA's. The NO campaign says voters won't get access in rural constituencies 4 or 5 times larger? WHAT NONSENSE! Citizen's Assembly report page 4 says north and south-eastern BC districts will only be 2 or 3 times the size. Want to access your MLA? How about email or a toll free number?
Rafe Mair, political commentator/former Cabinet Minister from a rural area says this is the day of email/cell phone not horse and buggy and it'll be nice to choose who you want help from bearing in mind you'll likely have at least two parties involved. Having to live in Victoria as Cabinet Minister, Raif was constantly on the road travelling all over the world but his secretary easily dealt with routine constituency issues. He comfortably handled the more difficult matters and made his presence felt. All this before cell phones, fax and email! He says that good MLA's will have no trouble with STV and you would find cooperation between MLA's of all stripes. NOTE: under STV it is easier to dump the deadwood.
Former Cabinet Minister, Corky Evans, has publicly echoed most of Raif's sentiments, feels that larger ridings will be more difficult but do-able and personally plans to vote YES.
STV is good for business, democracy and will save money too. What are we waiting for? Vote YES!
The No Side
by Mike Culpepper
Is STV good for business? Well, the Fraser Institute and Canadian Taxpayers Federation say that it is and who am I to argue with them? But why do they sound so defensive and, for that matter, why does the question even arise?
One of the virtues of our present First Past The Post system is that it elects stable majority governments that can create legislative programs and act decisively. Under STV, there will be more of a tendency toward minority government. Proponents of STV present this as a good thing, they talk of coalition and cooperation between political parties. Maybe we should take a look at how government functions in those places that have STV.
Except in Ireland, coalition governments are rare under STV. Tasmania has had one Green/Labour coalition government but usually one party has the majority of seats. If not, minority government is the rule. In the 1950s, Tasmanian minority governments were unable to pass legislative programs. More seats had to be added to the legislature until majority governments were elected. Recently, though, Tasmania has reduced the size of its legislature and the problem of recurring minority governments may well return. Northern Ireland and Malta have never had a single coalition government, ever. In Malta, the major parties hate each other with a passion that is only matched by that of the parties of Northern Ireland. Cooperation is not a viable concept.
In Ireland, one party, Fianna Fail, dominates elections. In recent years it has joined in coalition with Progressive Democrats (who broke away from Fianna Fail in the 1980s). The main opposition party, Fine Gael, has occasionally joined with Labour to form coalition government. Parties generally create a coalition contract -- "the Programme" -- after an election. In 1997, eight men - four from each coalition party - met secretly to shape the new Irish government. Commentators talked about "smoke-filled rooms" and warned that the new government might not reflect the wishes of the electorate. In 2002, the same coalition was short of a majority, so had to court a couple of independents. These members offered their support in exchange for lavish expenditures in their ridings and pork-barrel politics became the issue of the day.
Ireland has not had a majority government since 1972. Since 1981, there has been increasing difficulty in forming workable coalitions. In 1993, Ireland brought in politically appointed Programme Managers to negotiate legislation. Thus, a new level of bureaucracy, unelected and answerable only to political masters, was created to manage coalition. Even with Programme Managers - or perhaps, because of them - legislative programs often fail to be realized. The 1983 Labour-Fine Gael coalition prioritized its agenda but found itself caught up in interminable negotiations between the parties, and was unable to pass its top-priority items, much less those lower on the list.
So, expanded bureaucracy and pork-barrel politics in Ireland, inability to govern in Tasmania, total lack of inter-party cooperation in Malta and Northern Ireland - this is what STV has brought to other countries. Bad for business? You decide.