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

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Shag Creek area under evacuation order, area expanded

93 properties are being told to evacuate immediately

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

B.C. swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights are misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Most Read