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

VicPD seeks person of interest after short-term rental ransacked

Combined losses for damage and theft are over $5,000

Whitecaps favourite switches to the Island

Marcel de Jong worked to end Whitecaps contract, joining Pacific FC on the ground floor

RCMP ask for public’s help to determine cause of weekend fire

RCMP are investigating the cause of the South Island Concrete fire

UVic’s cutting-edge centre leading the way in drones and AI

Centre For Aerospace Research works with partners including Department of National Defence

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read