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)

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

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign outside municipal hall on Dec. 1. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Tech offers hope as Salvation Army sees need skyrocket across B.C.

Charity is equipping hundreds of kettles across B.C. with ‘touchless giving technology’

Kathy MacNeil, president and chief executive officer of Island Health, Dawn Thomas, acting deputy health minister and Island Health’s vice president, Indigenous health and diversity and Chief Don Tom of Tsartlip First Nation, stand out Saanich Peninsula Hospital Tuesday morning, when they also answered questions about a new report that “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system. (Island Health/Submitted)
Head of Island Health says Saanich Peninsula Hospital not part of racist guessing game

Tsartlip First Nations Chief Don Tom welcomes changes following report but promises future scrutiny

Firefighters on scene for a gas leak in the 800-block of Viewfield Road in Esquimalt on Dec. 1. (Vanessa Nicholson photo)
No injuries after vehicle strikes Esquimalt gas line

Esquimalt Fire Rescue was called to the 800-block of Viewfield Road at 5 p.m.

The Capital Regional District and the Habitat Acquisition Fund have agreed to partner on the purchase of the $3.4-million Mountain View Forest in Saanich to establish a new regional park. (Photo courtesy the Habitat Acquisition Trust)
CRD, Habitat Acquisition Trust to spend $3.4M on 20-hectare forest park in Saanich

Mountian Road Forest property to be conserved as regional park

Caroline Sousa, Bela Spick and her son Mateo marched along Prospect Lake Road in November 2019 to bring attention to the unsafe conditions on the road. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich reduces Prospect Lake Road speed limit to 30 km/h

New speed limit in effect as of Dec. 1 from Goward Road to Estelline Road

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read