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

Kripps strikes silver in Austria

Kripps and Lumsden, had the second-fastest runs in both heats

Video: Update one man arrested in Okanagan Falls

The RCMP has requested the school go into lockdown

Sharing Christmas with strangers through NeighbourLink match-up

Summerland initiative matches hosts and guests for special Christmas dinner experience

Summerland utility rates to rise

Increases for water, sewer and electrical utilities will be considered

Event to mark winter solstice

Ceremony on Dec. 21 will be held on Munson Mountain

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Meningococcal clinics open this Sunday

Interior Health is stepping up efforts to get young people vaccinated against Meningococcal.

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Most Read