Publication: Western Press
Title: Referendum delayed
Date: May 5, 2006
By: Tom FLETCHER
For the article, click here.
VICTORIA – Voters will have to wait until the 2009 provincial election to have their say on a proposed new system of electing MLAs to multi-member seats.
Premier Gordon Campbell admitted his pledge to have the single transferable vote system put to a second referendum with the November 2008 municipal elections has proven to be too ambitious, and too costly.
“By holding the referendum in tandem with the municipal election, the government had hoped to substantially reduce costs and to encourage a substantial turnout compared to a stand-alone election,” Campbell said.
“It now appears clear that holding the referendum as either a stand-alone referendum or together with municipal elections would cost about 10 times more than if it was simply held in tandem with the next provincial election.”
The single transferable vote (STV) was chosen by a province-wide citizens’ assembly as the preferred system for making election results better reflect the wishes of voters.
Campbell set up the assembly following a 1996 B.C. election that saw his party win the popular vote but lose the election. The 2001 election gave the B.C. Liberals 77 of 79 seats with a relatively small majority of votes.
Under STV, the election map would be redrawn to create larger areas represented by between two and seven MLAs. Voters would rank their choices in order of preference and a formula would determine winners taking into account second, third and subsequent choices.
The concept of STV proved popular in a referendum with the May 2005 election, as 58 per cent of voters endorsed it province-wide.
To pass it needed 60 per cent, with majority support in each region of the province.