At least one of the federal NDP's Members of Parliament from British Columbia is endorsing change in this May's provincial referendum on electoral reform.
“I will support STV,” said Denise Savoie, the MP for Victoria. It's a personal position, she said, not that of her party. “I'm not sure that's the best alternative, but it's better than the system we have.”
The British Columbia NDP will not take an official position on STV, but some of the strongest voices against the change in that province include those of former party strategist David Schreck and Bill Tieleman, who was an adviser to former Premier Glen Clark.
This makes sense perhaps as the B.C. NDP won a majority government in 1996 despite trailing the Liberals by three percent of the vote. That 1996 election result remains one of Winner-Take-All's biggest foul-ups, handing re-election to Glen Clark despite trailing considerably in the popular vote. Clark went on to bury what was left of that province's fragile economy, stretching out what should've been five years of NDP rule into ten.
It's interesting to note that most New Democrats in places like Ontario, plus federal NDP'ers like Savoie and federal leader Jack Layton, favour switching to a proportional representation voting system. However, in provinces where the New Democrats traditionally vie for power (like B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba), most of that progressive, pro-change idealism seems to go out the window. The Saskatchewan NDP only proposed possible electoral reform after enjoying government for 16 years, and that party's defeat in 2007 ensured the issue would continue to go ignored for the foreseeable future in that province. Shame.
No doubt, many Liberal, Tory and other party supporters in areas where those parties traditionally win false majorities under Winner-Take-All also tend to oppose electoral reform because to do so means less power for them (we experienced many hostile, anti-change Liberals in the 2007 Ontario referendum). So Savoie's support of fair voting in her home province, where her own party sometimes wins under Winner-Take-All, is to be commended.