B.C. Attorney General David Eby announces options in fall referendum on electoral reform, B.C. legislature, May 30, 2018 (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Four options to be offered for B.C. voting referendum

Opposition blasts ‘alphabet soup’ of proportional referendum choices

B.C. voters will be given three new voting systems to choose from in the mail-in referendum on proportional representation this fall.

Attorney General David Eby has decided the ballot will contain two questions, the first being a choice between the current “first past the post” system for choosing MLAs, and a proportional representation system.

The second question is a choice of three systems, determined after review of more than 90,000 submissions. They are:

• Dual member proportional, where neighbouring pairs of districts in B.C. would be combined into one two-member constituencies, except for the larger rural districts, which would remain unchanged.

• Mixed member proportional, which combines single-member districts with party list candidates, added to give each party the number of seats determined by their share of the province-wide vote in an election.

• Rural-urban proportional representation, with multi-member districts for urban and semi-urban areas, with voters choosing their MLA on a ranked ballot. In rural areas, a mixed-member proportional system using candidate lists chosen by parties would be used.

The complexity of the options means voters will not have an official map of the new voting districts when they make their choice. Eby said if voters choose to change to a new system, the district boundaries would be determined by the independent Electoral Boundaries Commission.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson called the options an “alphabet soup” of systems, some never heard of before. He said Premier John Horgan broke two promises, including one in last year’s election campaign to offer people a simple yes-or-no choice.

The other was that regional representation would be protected in the referendum, which will now be decided in a simple majority of province-wide results where rural regions of the province are vastly outnumbered by urban centres.

“You’ll notice that they’ve launched this question the day before the legislature is scheduled to rise for the summer,” Wilkinson said. “That is a sleazy and manipulative step that they’ve taken to avoid public debate on this issue.”

Eby said his recommendation to cabinet is that parties that receive less than five per cent of the total popular vote would not get an MLA.

He said organizations in favour of proportional representation and in favour of the current system are “ready to go” and he hopes to have the formal campaign underway as soon as Elections BC can administer it.

Advocacy organizations will have a spending limit of $200,000 each and political parties will be subject to the same restrictions as an election, with no corporate or union donations permitted.

Details of the options are in the government’s release here.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Man extracted from vehicle eight hours after accident near Cameron Lake

People making pit stop at picnic area made crash discovery

Person extracted from vehicle accident in Cameron Lake

A person has been extracted today from a reported vehicle accident in… Continue reading

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Learn about Port Alberni’s mayoral candidates with new film series

Alberni Valley filmmaker Dallas Dalziel discusses key issues with candidates

City of Port Alberni issues water quality alert for Kitsuksis Creek area

Kitsuksis Creek residents urged to use alternate drinking water source

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read