September 27, 2017 6:46 pm

Proportional representation advocates to meet with BC NDP government

British Columbians will vote next year on whether the province should change the way politicians are elected.

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The head of a group fighting for proportional representation across Canada is heading to B.C. to give her two cents on next year’s provincial referendum.

As a part of the BC NDP and Green Party’s power-sharing deal, the province will hold a referendum on whether or not B.C. should change the way it elects politicians from the current ‘first-past-the-post’ system.

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READ MORE: Where do B.C. government parties land when it comes to changing our voting system?

Fair Vote Canada’s Kelly Carmichael said she will be meeting with Attorney General David Eby next week to discuss electoral reform.

She said her biggest concern ensuring the process is fair.

“We think, and we’ve seen this across the country and other countries, there are ways to run fair referendums and there are ways to run unfair referendums,” she said.

“We want a fair threshold that’s 50-percent plus one.”

WATCH: Protests held across Canada against federal Liberals’ broken promise on electoral reform

B.C. has voted twice, in 2005 and 2009, on changing its electoral system known as STV, to a cousin to preferential or ranked ballot models.

The change was defeated in both votes, however some critics argued the 60 per cent threshold for success was artificially high. In the 2005 vote, the “yes” side earned 57.7 per cent support.

READ MORE: Government says electoral reform legislation still has a few pieces to iron out

Carmichael said she’d also like to see the referendum opened up to younger voters.

“P.E.I. had voters out that were 16 and 17 [in it’s recent electoral reform plebiscite]. They are going to be voting in elections soon. We think, yeah, let younger people vote in this too.”

The electoral reform referendum will be held along with next year’s municipal elections.

Details of what voting system is being advocated, proposed legislation and what the referendum question will look like remain to be seen.

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