Long-time NDP supporter Bill Tieleman and former B.C. Liberal attorney general Suzanne Anton celebrate a win for the official No Proportional Representation campaign, which they co-chaired. (Twitter)

Election reform debate ‘finished’ in B.C., backers admit

Referendum rejection most decisive in rural regions

Rejected by more than 70 per cent in Fraser Valley and B.C. Interior seats, rising to more than 80 per cent in the Peace region, proportional representation is dead in B.C. for the foreseeable future, opponents and backers agree.

The scattering of constituencies that reached a majority in favour of the NDP government’s options were mostly in Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island, with Premier John Horgan’s home turf barely exceeding the 50 per cent approval required under rules set by the government and the B.C. Green Party

“Electoral reform is finished,” said Deputy Premier Carole James, speaking for the NDP government with Horgan out of the country on vacation by the time official results were released Thursday.

RELATED: B.C. voters reject proportional representation in third referendum

RELATED: Proportional representation means more B.C. parties, coalitions

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, who predicted last year that a move to proportional representation meant there would never be another B.C. Liberal government, downplayed his ardent support for changing the voting system when he spoke to reporters after the vote results.

Weaver rejected suggestions that the B.C. Greens remain relegated to “fringe party” status by the loss of proportional representation, which would have given the three-seat Greens as many as a dozen MLAs based on their 2017 result, 17 per cent of the popular vote spread thinly across most of B.C.

“We are not here playing House of Cards politics to try to get power,” Weaver said.

The B.C. Conservative Party, another likely beneficiary of proportional representation, also put a brave face on the result. The B.C. Liberals have dominated provincial politics by holding a coalition of federal Conservatives and Liberals together to compete against the NDP.

“The B.C. Conservatives will continue to be the only choice for British Columbians who can no longer take the tax and spend ways of the three major parties,” said Justin Greenwood, interim deputy leader of the B.C. Conservatives.

An Angus Reid exit poll released Friday found that rejection of proportional representation was closely aligned with regions that had supported the B.C. Liberals in the past. One of the highest was in Richmond, where support for the traditional first-past-the-post system ran to more than 70 per cent.

Leaders of the official No campaign were an unlikely team, former B.C. Liberal attorney general Suzanne Anton and Bill Tieleman, a long-time NDP supporter who led the referendum campaign against the harmonized sales tax in 2011.

This week’s result was the third referendum in modern times, after a single transferable vote (STV) system gained majority support in 2005, but failed narrowly under rules calling for 60 per cent support province-wide with majority support in every region.

A second STV referendum in 2009 was rejected by a similar margin to the 2018 result.

In its official information for voters, Elections B.C. described the proportional representation options as leading to more parties and more coalition governments.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureProportional representation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Poetry contest started for Vancouver Island poets

“We’re such a unique group,” says founder on why she wanted to start the collective

North Island College ready for a virtual fall semester

“It’s a really good time to be a student.”

Ten hour planned power outage coming for north Island residents

To keep crews and the public safe, power must be switched off while BC Hydro completes the work.

A parent’s pandemic survival kit: Are you rewarding bad behaviour? Part 2

The phrase, “be good” is just an anxiety-provoking nebulous idea that threatens rejection.

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read