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BC  

Rants, spoofs in PR battle

Homemade videos by a Vancouver filmmaker featuring scenes of his toddler's escapades and shots of a friend's Pomeranian named Nacho are fast becoming the indie hit of B.C.'s electoral reform referendum.

Joel McCarthy said his four videos in support of proportional representation have already been viewed up to 900,000 times, giving him a huge sense of satisfaction that he may be playing a part in changing the province's voting system.

Prof. David Black, who teaches communications theory at Royal Roads University, has viewed the 28-year-old filmmaker's videos and said he believes McCarthy has produced a hit with young voters.

Millennial voters are more interested in understanding how issues blend together as opposed to older voters who look to draw lines between opinion and facts, said Black.

"What we're seeing in these videos is not so different than what we see in the Trevor Noah or Stephen Colbert shows," he said. "Ironic, mocking, kind of post-modern mash-up style, audio dubbing and breaking down traditional barriers between information and entertainment, between opinion and straight news."

Others on both sides of the question have created videos and posted them on social media, generating thousands of views. Elections BC, the province's non-partisan office overseeing the referendum, also posted videos explaining the choices available to voters.

Sam Sullivan, a Liberal member of the legislature from Vancouver, has posted several videos favouring first past the post, saying proportional representation takes power away from voters and hands it to political parties.

"This is not a referendum. This is a coup," Sullivan says in one video that has almost 27,000 views.

A Yes supporter group, Make Every Vote Count, posted on Facebook a lip-synched parody of scenes from the Scottish independence movie Braveheart. In the BraveVote version, actor Mel Gibson urges his rebel warriors to support proportional representation while the British King Edward I warns of the rise of extremism if the first-past-the-post system falls.

B.C. voters need to mail in their ballots for the Nov. 30 deadline, choosing to either support a form of proportional representation for the next election in 2021 or keeping the first-past-the-post system. A majority of 50 per cent plus one is needed to change the system.

In his 10-minute video, "Figuring Out Question Two," McCarthy outlines the pros and cons of the three versions of proportional representation voters have the opportunity to rank. He explains dual member, mixed member and rural-urban proportional, interspersed with scenes of his son banging into a table or falling out of a cupboard and photos of Nacho wearing a crown and a sombrero.

 



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