Your Voice in Victoria

Proportional Representation Referendum

Shirley Bond

Coming soon to a mailbox near you

In a matter of days registered voters in Prince George-Valemount and across the province will receive an envelope that has the potential to change the way we choose our elected representatives.

With the start of school, fall activities and a municipal election campaign underway it is fair to say that many British Columbians do not have the referendum on proportional representation at the top of their priority list. Not to mention the fact that even if they are aware of the referendum process, there is a need for careful analysis of exactly what British Columbians are being asked to decide on.

I am concerned about the referendum process and think that it has major flaws that will negatively impact the ultimate outcomes.

First of all, there is no voter participation threshold. That means that no matter how few people complete their ballot the electoral system will be changed if fifty percent plus one of whoever fills out the ballot vote to move to a system of proportional representation.

At what point does the number of voters who participate call into question the validity of the outcome?

There is also no regional threshold. In other words, heavily populated areas where the vast majority of voters reside will have a greater influence on the results.  There are also many significant details about the models and a potential transition to a new electoral system that will be decided by a legislative committee after you mark your ballot.

These are significant flaws in the process.

If the government has determined that a referendum is necessary, British Columbians deserve better than this. Surely with a decision as important as this, the process should be fair and produce credible results.