Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark takes questions in the B.C. legislature Monday. (Hansard TV)

B.C. NDP ministers defend proportional representation vote

What is urban, what is rural, how many MLAs will be appointed?

Opposition MLAs focused on the unanswered questions in B.C.’s proportional representation referendum Monday, grilling NDP government ministers on how a new system would work.

Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby took questions directed at Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark, who was featured in weekend TV reports saying she was not able to explain the three new electoral systems offered in mail-in ballots going out to more than three million households.

Questions in the legislature focused on the lack of maps and the size of multi-member constituencies that could result if voters choose to move away from the current first-past-the-post system that elects one MLA for each of B.C.’s 87 constituencies.

B.C. Liberal MLA Mike de Jong said Abbotsford currently has three constituencies. How many will it have under proportional representation, and will they be rural or urban, he asked.

Eby fielded that and similar questions by saying the cabinet adopted the principle that no region will have its representation reduced. Electoral boundaries will be developed by an independent commission once the voters choose which system they prefer, he said.

RELATED: What you need to know about B.C.’s referendum

RELATED: Premier Horgan agrees to TV debate on referendum

De Jong compared the current referendum to a “magic metal bracelet” advertised on TV, promising to cure B.C.’s political ills without revealing how it works. He reference to the “K-Tel coalition” government drew a rebuke from Speaker Darryl Plecas.

“I don’t want to disparage K-Tel,” de Jong said. “When I bought my patty stacker at least I knew what it was and how it worked.”

Education Minister Rob Fleming reminded opposition MLAs that it was just over a year ago that they hastily rewrote their throne speech in an effort to prevent being voted out of power by the NDP and the B.C. Green Party. One of their promises was a referendum on proportional representation, which was promised by both the NDP and Greens in the 2017 election.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Central Coast Regional District swears in new Board of Directors

There are three new faces representing our region and two returning directors

VIDEO: Black horse signals ‘sign of peace’ for Tsilhqot’in Nation

Justin Trudeau rides black horse provided by Cooper family

Trudeau exonerates hanged war chiefs of 1864 on B.C. Tsilhqot’in title lands

Prime minister rides horseback with Chief Joe Alphonse, TNG Chairman, to Xeni Gwet’in meeting place

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

Rain, snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

B.C.’s Interior set to get hit with snow while the Lower Mainland is expected to see more rain

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Stolen truck involved in fatal collision on Highway 16

Wednesday’s two-vehicle crash killed one man, 23, and injured two others

Trudeau pushes for more Saudi accountability in Khashoggi killing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is still seeking clear answers from Saudi Arabia about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi

School bullying video shows how people with disabilities are devalued: advocates

Brett Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, is seen in a video being stepped while lying in water

CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

Most Read