Referendum in the cards next fall

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett’s MLA report

With little more than five months before British Columbians are asked to consider changing the way we elect a government in this province, Premier Horgan is holding his cards as close to his chest as possible.

We still don’t know the precise date of the referendum, what campaign rules will apply to those who favour or oppose proportional representation and perhaps most important of all, what question will appear on the ballot?

This will be the third referendum on electoral reform since 2005.

I personally believe the public should have every opportunity to inform themselves about all the alternatives well before they cast their vote.

If government is really serious about building support and understanding of a whole new system of electing MLAs, then Mr. Horgan should lay all his cards on the table and give people the time necessary to make an informed decision.

Unfortunately, this is not going to happen until a few weeks before a vote is held this fall.

In 2005 and 2009 government handed responsibility for drafting the referendum question over to a neutral third party called the B.C. Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform.

This time only the Premier and his cabinet will make those decisions behind closed doors.

So far the only thing we do know is that it will definitely not be a simple yes-or-no question.

Premier Horgan instead says he prefers a much more complicated question asking voters to consider four or five different models ranging from ‘mixed-member proportional representation’ to the ‘single non-transferable vote’ previously considered in the 2009 referendum.

If all this sounds rather confusing, you are not alone.

Last week in the Legislature the government admitted that political staff in the Attorney General’s office had the final say in shaping an ‘objective’ public survey held earlier this year.

And if all this sounds like a premier might be trying to stack the deck in favour of his own party, you could be onto something.

Just Posted

Did you exercise your civic duty by voting for mayor and council of 100 Mile House?

Did you exercise your civic duty by voting for mayor and council… Continue reading

Incumbents and acclaimed mayors win elections all across B.C.’s north

Fraser Lake saw their first female mayor elected

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Highway 97 reopens following MVI at Clinton

Highway 97 is now reopened at Clinton

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Interior Health urges public to get a flu shot

Health authority says it will help to stop the spread of influenza

‘Violent’ Prince George man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

RCMP say the man has likely made his way to the Lower Mainland or another community

Liberals write off $6.3 billion in loans as part of money never to be collected

That includes student loans and a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada

Category 5 Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico’s Pacific coast

Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometres) from the storm’s centre

Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

Provinces that don’t have a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions will have Ottawa’s plan forced on them

UPDATE: American rapper killed in skydiving accident

Man, 34, dies in skydiving accident Saturday near Westwold, between Vernon and Kelowna

Man who died at BC Ferries terminal shot himself as police fired: watchdog

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

Voter turnout at 36% in B.C.’s municipal election

Vancouver saw 39% turnout, Surrey saw 33%

Most Read