COLUMNS: The fine print of proportional representation

It may come as a surprise to many that we are now in the third month of the official campaign

It may come as a surprise to many that we are now in the third month of the official campaign leading up to the fall referendum on proportional representation.

If you are one of those who does indeed feel a bit blindsided by a blatant attempt to tip election rules in favour of the NDP and Green Party, I can assure you that you are not alone.

In an unusual and rather suspect process, Premier John Horgan ordered Attorney General David Eby to devise a plan to change the way we elect a government in this province.

READ MORE: Liberals hosting barbecue to discuss proportional representation

Rather than pose a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, Eby’s referendum reads very much like a done deal. Voters will be asked if our current system is inadequate and should we instead adopt anyone of the following three models of proportional representation: dual member proportional, mixed member proportional or rural urban proportional?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the difference between these three highly complicated formulas. That’s because the government is going to take the results of the referendum and design a new system on their own anyway.

How is this possible? Eby has not set a minimum threshold for voter participation. So even if less than ten per cent of eligible voters in B.C. choose to mail in their ballot on November 30th, that’s okay by government standards. The NDP and the Green Party want to avoid the embarrassment the premier of Prince Edward Island experienced in 2016 when their referendum passed, but too few people took part to make it legitimate. But all this may not matter because Eby isn’t mentioning the very fine print. If the Green Party fails to vote in support the NDP minority government any time before the next general election set for 2021, the referendum becomes null and void.

READ MORE: Proportional representation means more B.C. parties, coalitions

In other words, the Green Party is being led by a carrot on a stick. I wonder if voters will approve of this state of affairs come November?

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Falcons cross-country runners get zone, provincial experience

The Lake City Falcons cross-country running was busy getting its paces in this fall

Williams Lake Bantam Female T-wolves claw to silver at Kamloops rep tourney

Timberwolves win silver at Kamloops Bantam Female Rep Tournament

Asbestos: What to know before renovating your home

Asbestos is an odourless, colourless, naturally occurring mineral

Wolverines take championship at Merritt co-ed hockey tournament

The Williams Lake Wolverines skated to a first-place result at the Last Minute Co-Ed Tournament

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read