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

B.C. cabinet approves multiple-choice voting referendum

Attorney General David Eby excludes himself from decision

The B.C. NDP government is going ahead with its plan for a two-part referendum on voting reform this fall, with three options for proportional representation to be considered by a mail-in vote that begins in November.

Premier John Horgan announced Thursday that the B.C. cabinet has approved recommendations of Attorney General David Eby, who has excluded himself from cabinet discussions on the referendum after coming up with the system that will be used.

RELATED: Four options for B.C. voting referendum

The referendum is a key part of Horgan’s minority government agreement with the B.C. Green Party, to consider multi-member voting systems that would translate to more Green MLAs based on their 17 per cent share of the popular vote in the 2017 election.

Eby’s chosen options have been a target of criticism, partly because two of the three have never been used before. The referendum will also have no regional weighting or minimum turnout, which means urban voters will have a major advantage over sparsely populated rural regions that may be most affected by the change.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson denounced the referendum plan as “rigged” to favour the NDP and B.C. Greens, calling the options “alphabet soup” designed to baffle the public.

Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver have vowed that both parties will campaign for the yes side.

“This is a historic opportunity to replace our old voting system with a new way of voting that works for people,” Horgan said Thursday after the cabinet decision. “We look forward to public debate and lively campaigns on both sides.”

WATCH: Confused? You’re not alone. Black Press Media sits with a political science professor to explain the three kinds of proportional representation.

Opposition MLAs demanded and got an emergency debate on the referendum plan on the last day of the B.C. legislature sitting before the summer break. They pressed the NDP government on the lack of maps to show how large new electoral districts would be, the short time for voters to consider the options, and the unknown results if proportional representation is selected by a simple majority of those who vote.

“There are 24 items that have been identified in [Eby’s] report that need to be turned over to an all-party committee, a committee that will be dominated by the NDP and Green Party members,” said Vancouver-Langara MLA Michael Lee, the B.C. Liberal attorney general critic. “We don’t know what we’re voting on here.”

The ‘Vote No to ProRep’ committee suggests voters should consider answering the first question, do you want to change to a new voting system, and leave the second question, choosing between three new systems, blank.

“No maps, no indication of increased numbers of MLAs, and through a flawed system that has seen the government change the traditional rules that have governed our past votes on electoral systems,” said Bob Plecas, a former deputy minister and member of the Vote No executive.

Just Posted

Ucluelet fears orca protection could shut down fisheries

“I beg you to start a process to put a stick in the wheels and slow these people down.”

Ucluelet mayor thanks team at last meeting

Dianne St. Jacques is not running for re-election this month.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Money Monitor: Should you switch to a fixed-rate mortgage?

BMO’s Omar Abouzaher outlines the pros and cons of both types of mortgages

Earth still moving in Old Fort, B.C., but not above homes: geologists

Transportation Ministry crews are ready to start work on the Old Fort road

Around the BCHL: Youth trumps experience for Chilliwack and Salmon Arm

Around the BCHL is a look at goings-on in the BCHL and the junior A world.

GoByBike challenge launched in Ucluelet

Participants get a chance to win a cycle tour in Sicily, Italy.

Proportional representation grows government, B.C. study finds

Spending, deficits higher in countries where voting system used

Black market will thrive until small pot growers and sellers included: advocates

Advocates say the black market will continue to thrive until small retail shops and craft growers are included in the regime.

Goodbye cable, hello Netflix: 1/3 of Canadians cut the cord

Just under half of households no longer have a landline phone

‘Some baloney’ in assertion Canada’s pension fund has highest ethical standards

The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney”.

Most Read