The B.C. legislature would change dramatically if proportional representation is approved. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press/Pool)

Referendum on B.C. voting system next year

B.C. government moves on proportional representation

B.C.’s NDP government presented legislation Wednesday to keep its promise to the B.C. Green Party and begin a shift to proportional representation if a majority of voters approve.

Attorney General David Eby said the government will promote debate on the complex topic in the months ahead, followed by a mail-in vote on a new system of voting intended to more accurately reflect the wishes of all voters.

In another nod to the B.C. Green Party, legislation was also introduced to reduce the number of seats required for official party status from four seats to two. Along with proportional voting, the system would enable a shift to a multi-party legislature, referred to in Europe as a “pizza parliament.”

The legislation also prepares the B.C. government for an earthquake involving the fragile legislature or another disaster in which some cabinet ministers are killed or incapacitated.

“In a sense, yes, this is our Designated Survivor legislation,” Eby said, in reference to a current TV show about the U.S. government after a disaster.

It also moves the scheduled election date from spring to fall, effective fall of 2021.

The referendum will be successful if 50 per cent plus one of voters approve it. The legislation requires mail-in voting to be complete by Nov. 30, 2018.

The question has not yet been determined, but it is expected that if there are multiple choices for voters, they will rank their first, second and subsequent choices.

With a minority government that could be defeated before the fall of 2021, any election held before July 1, 2021 would be held under the existing voting system.

The legislation sets the scheduled election date of the third Saturday in October 2021, and on that date every four years .

The legislation doesn’t prescribe what the question will be. The NDP campaigned on a simple yes or no question, but Eby said Wednesday the proposed legislation leaves multiple options open so parties, experts and the public have their say before the question is formulated..

Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau said she is encouraged by Premier John Horgan’s commitment to reforming the electoral system.

“We are currently awaiting more details about the engagement process and look forward to being an active participant,” Furstenau said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

School District 6 announces new superintendent

Karen Shipka will be taking on superintendent’s job this August

Matching workers with jobs

Job and Entrepreneur Fair left employers, job seekers and organizers pleased.

Radium accommodators seek ban on short term rentals

Radium council continues considering how to regulate short term rentals.

Fire claims Fairmont home

Unsuspecting owner opens door on blaze.

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Most Read