Kamloops MLA slams referendum process

By Vanessa Ybarra
November 24, 2017 - 6:03pm Updated: November 25, 2017 - 1:35pm

KAMLOOPS — Earlier this week the NDP launched a public engagement survey called 'How we Vote'.

The survey asks the public to weigh in with their voting preferences ahead of next fall's referendum on electoral reform.

Kamloops South-Thompson Liberal MLA Todd Stone says the public survey, as well as the upcoming referendum, is biased in favour of the NDP.

On Friday South-Thompson MLA Todd Stone spoke to TRU political science students.

One of the main topics he touched on was the NDP electoral reform referendum that's scheduled to take place in the fall of 2018.

"What  I really have a problem with is what the government is planning on doing in terms of how they'll hold the vote," said Stone. "The questions and what we'll be voting on will be done behind closed doors in cabinet."

Stone says it's a stark contrast from the Liberals who used a public committee in their last two referendums asking people whether B.C. should change its voting system. Another concern of Stone's is whether the traditional first-past-the-post system will be an option in the referendum.

"They're also not sure if the status quo will be an issue on the ballot which would be a complete disaster as far as I'm concerned as well so the process moving forward is extremely flawed."

Stone esays he supports keeping the status quo, saying tough decision rarely happens in minority coalition governments that typically come out of proportional representation voting.

However Green Party member Dan Hines says it's high time BC joined countries like Australia and Belgium and adopted an electoral reform system, saying it will give voters better representation.

"You look at the legistlature and it actually reflects the province not the way now which is you end up with these false majorities where you know under 40 percent of people voted for a party and they have 100-percent of the power because they have the majority in the legislature."

TRU political science professor Derek Cook says he and his students have had numerous discussion on the issue.

"The students had a debate on what they wanted in electoral systems, they almost all chose the public representation system," said Cook. "There's really all different types of public representation."

We really need public forums so people can understand the options and people can debate the pros and cons of each."

" I support British Columbians having a vote," said Stone. "I think it's always good to ask British Columbians what they think."

To learn about proportional representation, as well as first past the post, and to complete a voting questionnaire - visit engage.gov.bc.ca/howwevote. 

The website will be available until February 28th.

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