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

Do you have the right ID to vote in Chilliwack’s municipal election?

Chilliwack residents will need identification that proves both residency and identity

Anti-SOGI Chilliwack school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Fraser Valley Labour Council endorses four Chilliwack school board candidates

Union group endorses three for city council, pulls endorsement for mayoral hopeful Sam Waddington

Man accused of killing Belgian tourist along Highway 1 appears in court

Sean McKenzie, 27, made second court appearance since his arrest in connection with the murder of Amelie Sakkalis

Driver assaulted near Agassiz following road rage incident

RCMP ask for public’s help identifying suspects involved in Highway 9 incident

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

3 in serious condition after altercation on Granville strip: police

Patrol officers came upon the fight just after 3 a.m. on Granville Street near Helmcken Street

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Pedestrian rushed to Lower Mainland hospital after being hit by car

Friday night crash is latest in rash of collisions involving pedestrians in Surrey

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read