PR = more costly gov't

Proportional representation in B.C. would cost taxpayers more, a new study finds.

The study released Thursday by the Fraser Institute says proportional representation would likely lead to bigger, costlier provincial governments.

“Coalition governments – a staple of PR systems – regularly have to secure smaller, niche parties by funding their pet policy projects, which means more expensive government paid for by taxpayers,” says report co-author Lydia Miljan, an associate professor of political science at the University of Windsor.

Using election data from 26 countries between 2004 and 2015, the study found the average government spending of countries with proportional electoral systems is 30.3 per cent of GDP, compared to 23.7 per cent in those with plurality or majoritarian elections, such as B.C.'s first past the post system.

The data showed governments elected under PR are almost 30 per cent larger than those under first past the post.

British Columbians will receive mail-in ballots next week for this fall’s electoral reform referendum – the third in 15 years on proportional representation.

“There’s a heavy fiscal price to pay if British Columbia adopts proportional representation, and that’s a bigger, more expensive government in Victoria,” Miljan said.

“Before British Columbians decide how they want to elect members to the legislature, they should be aware of the consequences of any new voting system.”

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