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

Fort St. James Fire Department responds to three blazes within a week

Two structure blazes and one wildland have fire chief cautioning residents

SD91 trustee election results are in

Several new faces have been elected to the position of school board trustee

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

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

Fast ferries from B.C. spotted in Egypt

Controversial aluminum BC Ferries vessels ’big white elephants covered in dust,’ eyewitness says

Canadian troops, families take shelter in hotel after Florida hurricane

Most of the Canadians were evacuated from the military base before Hurricane Michael

B.C. jury trial hears police-sting audio of man accused of killing girl, 12

Garry Handlen has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Monica Jack on May 6, 1978.

5 tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween

BC Children’s Hospital has a few suggestions to keep Oct. 31 fun

B.C. man gets seven years in prison for baseball-bat attack on Kamloops teen

Kamloops man who beat Jessie Simpson into a coma has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. He was originally charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon.

Cougar spotted after Vancouver Island resident finds his decapitated cat

Reports of conservation officers actively looking for the predator in Port Hardy Tuesday afternoon

Time running out for TV debate on proportional representation

B.C. Liberal leader spars with Premier John Horgan over timing

New rules introduced to protect B.C. foreign workers from exploitation

More than 16,000 temporary permits issued last year

Most Read