British Columbians who participate in an electoral-reform referendum this fall would first be asked whether they want to switch to proportional representation, and then to rank three specific PR systems, the province’s Attorney-General said Wednesday. David Eby said the referendum would be conducted by mail-in ballot, with the campaign to begin July 1 and a voting period to run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 30. But opponents were quick to criticize the vote as overly complicated and to seize on what remains unknown, including what the district boundaries would look like under PR. Mr. Eby’s recommendations still must be approved by cabinet, but he said starting the campaign in less than four weeks can be done.
The announcement of a proposed ballot question sets off a process that could dramatically reshape the political system in a province that has already voted twice on proportional representation, in 2005 and 2009 – votes that involved the single transferable vote system and failed to meet the threshold to succeed.
Mr. Eby told reporters if a majority voted to switch to PR on the first question, the second question would determine which system is used.
The three types of proportional representation that would be on the ballot include mixed-member proportional, which is used in a handful of countries, mostly in Europe, and two Canadian-designed systems that are not in use anywhere, known as dual-member proportional and rural-urban PR.