Group campaigning against proportional representation voting system in B.C.


WATCH: The battle over how British Columbians will elect future members of the legislature is heating up. Earlier this week, hundreds heard Premier John Horgan and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver speak out in favour of changing to proportional representation. But as Kendall Hanson reports, many people feel there is nothing wrong with our current system.

There are several ads in the campaign trying to convince BC residents to vote against proportional representation in the current referendum.

“I’m a lifelong New Democrat voting no in the electoral system’s referendum. Pro rep is confusing and complicated. It cuts rural representation,” says Bill Tieleman in an advertisement against changing BC’s voting system.

Liberal MLA Michelle Stillwell was elected under first past the post. She says its simple, easy to understand and one knows who their MLA is.

She worries that is not going to be the case under a new system.

“How many MLA’s are there going to be? Where are they going to come from? Are they coming from closed lists or open lists? How much influence are parties going to have on those lists?” asks Stillwell, the Parksville-Qualicum MLA. “Fundamentally this is wrong for British Columbia and British Columbians deserve better.”

And Stillwell is not alone in opposing proportional representation.

Bob Plecas worked for five different premiers. He says proportional representation will work against places like Vancouver Island.

“What we’re going to face here is 40 per cent of those MLA’s disappearing and being replaced by 40 percent made up of party-list people from Vancouver and it just doesn’t work,” said Plecas. “Those backroom guys don’t deserve it like my local MLA does.”

Meanwhile, Stillwell says not only is proportional representation flawed, the process is too with many details still to be worked out.

“We have no boundaries, no regional threshold, the lowest possible voter threshold 50 percent plus one for the result. We have no threshold for how many people vote and then we change something as fundamental the way we elect our officials.”

Ultimately voters will have the final say. Ballots must be received by Elections BC by the end of November.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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