political wonks who are thinking internationally are focused on what
the UK election result means for Tony Blair. But they may have missed a
bigger story. Next week the Canadian province of British Columbia holds
an election. The result is of interest only to the most passionate
psephologists or followers of a political party. But at the same time,
a referendum will be held on dropping the First-Past-the-Post system BC
uses and replacing it with a variation of the Hare-Clark system,
similar to that used in Tasmania. This might not sound important, but
there are a couple of things that could make it matter intensely.

first is that a number of other Canadian provinces are also considering
changing their electoral system, and some already have the dates of
their referenda set. A win in the west could start a domino effect,
eventually resulting in most provinces, and the Canadian national
government, changing to proportional representation. And if that still
doesn’t excite you consider that there is a bit of a push on in the US
to introduce more proportional, or at least preferential, voting. At
the moment it’s pretty weak, but the few states that really are taking
it seriously mostly border on Canada. Victory in Canada could be enough
to get a handful of US states to follow, eventually being just what PR
needs to start a (very slow) entry into the heartland of the hyperpower.

Read the full story on the Crikey website here.