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The fate of the Proportional Representation referendum offers a number of potential lessons. In the end there were two levels of opposition to Proportional Representation: those that opposed Proportional Representation on principle and those who opposed the particular model being proposed. Echoing the position of earlier legislative committees, other opponents claimed that their position did not mean “no,” merely “not yet.” Apathy may have played a part, but complacency seems less likely. As Hon.Norman Carruthers argued in his Report, the political history of Prince Edward Island has been characterized by change rather than stasis. And societal change will continue to force our political institutions to adapt. As the number of urban and “rurban” 4 inhabitants continues to rise, as other special interest groups assert their claims to consideration, as legal challenges continue to overturn established practice, as our definition of what constitutes “community” transcends physical geography, as our culture continues to diversify, our democracy will be confronted with the necessity – but also, the opportunity – of renewal.

4 That is, “rural” by census definition but living in close physical, vocational, and cultural proximity to urban centres.
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