Ya gotta get elected first

The opposition NDP had as many misses as it did hits when it introduced "legislation" Thursday in Victoria aimed at democratic reform.

Of course, the suggestions have to be taken with a grain of salt because the opposition can't legislate anything without first winning an election. And B.C. voters have had their say on that in four successive votes.

When it comes to the NDP, the answer has been a resounding 'no thanks.'

But first, the hits.

We have to agree with the NDP's Gary Holman – we pay our politicians to govern, so they ought to spend most of their time in the legislature. It's true they need time in the community to meet with constituents, but the number of days in session is embarrassingly low – 36 over a 579-day period in 2013-14.

The would-be Parliamentary Calendar Act would make a fall legislative session mandatory.

Next, the NDP wants provincial elections moved from May to October, so as to give more time to scrutinize pre-election budgets, which typically come out in late February.

That's a fair argument, and with municipal and federal elections also in the fall, British Columbians could eventually get in the habit of October being "election month." Maybe that would also increase turnout.

But then the wheels fall off the NDP's grab-bag of electoral reform.

Its bid to "expand the power of legislative standing committees without having an overbearing government whimsically dictate what is important" just sounds like the New Democrats trying to get their way without having to bother with actually forming government. Can't win an election? No problem, just give our committees the power to call the shots.

Not gonna happen.

And, finally, a proposed Youth Voter Registration Act would allow registration of young people at age 16 so by the time they reach 18 – hopefully – more of them would take part in elections.

Efforts to get more young people interested in politics are welcome, but at 16 no teenager will bother registering. It's hard enough to get them to tidy their rooms.

— News Director Jon Manchester



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