Your Voice in Victoria

A chance for change

Shirley Bond
A chance for change

 

Well 2019 has arrived and with it the promise of another interesting and hectic year both at the provincial and constituency level. I hope that all of you were able to spend time with those you love during the holiday season.

Bill and I are grateful that we were able to be at home and enjoy the company of family and friends.

As I reflect on 2018 one of the issues that consumed a great deal of our time and attention was the referendum on proportional representation. And it should have.

As I have written before, a potential change to our electoral system is a significant matter and deserves to be treated that way.

As we now know, the outcome of the referendum was decisive. Sixty-one percent of the voters that participated preferred the current system, clearly rejecting change.

This is the third time in fifteen years that British Columbians have been asked the question about electoral reform and the results have been the same each time. This time the cost of the process may well reach fifteen million dollars.

I, like many others, thought the results would have been closer, and I say that because the process that was used altered many of the provisions that would allow for the decision to reflect the views of all voters, particularly those in smaller, rural regions of British Columbia.

With no regional thresholds, no participation threshold, and a multi-question ballot, the ultimate results were uncertain. But British Columbians in almost every riding in the province made their views known and decided once again to support the current electoral model.

As we look ahead though, it is important to respect the voices of those who made it clear that they want to see improvements in the way we are governed.

While I believe the question has now been settled for the foreseeable future, we should not ignore the need to look for ways to improve the current system.

I have no easy answers as to what potential changes might look like, but continuing the dialogue, asking the questions and looking for innovation and a fresh approach is important.

I hope that 2019 will give us the opportunity to do just that.