October 28, 2018 1:25 pm

‘I’m not an expert’ says B.C. minister quizzed on proportional representation

WATCH: NDP MLAs have hit the streets to support proportional representation in the electoral reform referendum that's seen ballots begin arriving in B.C. mailboxes. But as Global's Paul Johnson reports, even the proponents are having a hard time explaining the new systems.

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If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around the way our electoral system would change under the proposed Proportional Representation system, you’re not alone.

Global News caught up with B,C,’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Melanie Mark on Saturday, as she urged voters in her East Vancouver riding to support the initiative.

READ MORE: British Columbians split on proportional representation, one third undecided: poll

While Mark said Proportional Representation would be a positive change for British Columbians, she was unable to explain in detail the mechanics of how any of the three proposed systems would work if implemented.

“With all due respect I’m not an expert in this field,” Mark said.

“I do have a degree in political science, but I’m not an expert in electoral representation” she added.

WATCH: What you need to know about the proportional representation voting package


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Mark and her staff said voters can find the pertinent information on Elections BC website and in the information booklets that have been mailed to voters along with their ballots.

Supporters say proportional representation would make our democracy more responsive by ending the winner take all effect of our current, first-past-the-post system and open up our legislature to the many voices that tend to be overwhelmed by the dominant parties.

READ MORE: Concerns raised over discarded proportional representation ballots

But getting there means a higher level of electoral complexity than we already have, and opponents say if politicians cant even explain it what chance will average voters like Darwin Toivo have?

“This proportional representation idea prima facie sounds good, but many details are not being explained or being properly given to the people in detail,” he said.

Most people Global News spoke with on Saturday said not only did they not know what it means, they didn’t even know the referendum was happening.

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