BC Liberals call PR referendum a ‘rigged game’, call for more information on proposed systems

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says the proportional representative referendum is a 'rigged game'. Richard Zussman/Global News

The BC Liberals are calling on the provincial government to ensure information is available to voters on what their ridings will look like under the various proportional representation system proposed for B.C.

On Wednesday, the three new electoral systems were proposed but none of them would come with maps to show the proposed electoral boundaries.

“They are trying to blow this past British Columbians, they are not even going to tell them what riding they will be in,” said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson. “The ridings will be changing dramatically, people won’t know where to cast their vote or who their representative will be. The NDP want them to just take it on blind faith.”

During the last referendum on proportional representation, voters were given maps to see what the new electoral boundaries would look like. Each of the proposed new systems would have different electoral districts.

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The provincial cabinet is now considering a report that recommends British Columbians vote on two things during this fall’s electoral reform referendum. The questions are:

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  1. Which should British Columbia use for elections to the Legislative Assembly?
    • The current First Past the Post voting system
    • A proportional representation voting system
  2. If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer?
    • Dual Member Proportional (DMP)
    • Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
    • Rural-Urban PR

These are not the determined questions for the referendum, they are recommendations that will be decided on by cabinet. B.C. premier John Horgan says no decision has been made yet but ‘is comfortable on the recommendations.’

“This notion that every British Columbia wants to have a map before making their decision is distorting the reality,” said Horgan. “What people want to know is do I have a better opportunity to have my views reflected in the legislature with the system today or a different system.”

On the issue of mapping the proposed districts, Elections BC said ‘drafting electoral boundary maps has always been left to independent electoral boundaries commissions’ and is not part of our legislated mandate. The maps take significant time and resources to to produce and there are a number of variables that could impact how boundaries will be established in the proposed system.

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“We would not be able to put out maps and say with any degree of certainty that they would reflect how the boundaries under the proposed systems would work,” reads an Elections BC statement. “Given our non-partisan role our public education efforts will necessarily focus on non-partisan and factual information about the proposed systems and what we can say about them with a high degree of certainty.”

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