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

Community support keeps girls hockey alive on the North Island

“A successful program depends on community engagement and support.”

One person dead in logging truck collision

“The logging truck was stopped for other traffic, and it was rear-ended by a passenger car.”

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Art Studio nights provides free space to make art

“It’s all ages and its open to everybody.”

PHSS donates to the Hamper Fund

Student council collected over 200 food items

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Bantam house league tournament at Chilton Regional Arena

There was a Bantam house league tournament held all weekend at the… Continue reading

Atoms fall to Racquet Club at Doug Bondue Arena

The North Island Atom Eagles went to battle with the Victoria Racquet… Continue reading

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

NISS dominates basketball, PHSS handles indoor soccer

North Island Secondary School (NISS) students travelled to Port Hardy on Thursday… Continue reading

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Most Read