BC Conservatives Support Referendum on Electoral Reform
VERNON-The BC Conservative Party supports the right of all British Columbians to decide how their Members of the Legislative Assembly are elected, but is concerned that the 50+1 threshold is too low to properly gauge the intentions of British Columbians.
“The government should not make a fundamental change to the way British Columbians elect their provincial representatives without a strong and clear mandate to do so,” said Interim Conservative Leader Scott Anderson. "A simple majority of only those people who vote is simply not enough."
Anderson is also concerned that the NDP is working the system to its own advantage.
"Unfortunately in our political system changes of this sort tend to be dominated by the governing party of the day, and engineered to their advantage," said Anderson. "We saw it happen with the federal Liberals, who cancelled electoral reform when it started to look like their preferred model wasn't going to be chosen, and I am concerned that the same thing is happening here," continued Anderson, citing the fact that Attorney General David Eby claims that some "design details" will follow only after the vote.
In 2005, two supermajority thresholds were required: 1) at least 60% of the valid votes cast in support of the proposal; and a simple majority in favour in at least 60% of all electoral districts.
"The Conservatives believe the process in 2005 was designed to capture the true intentions of BC voters," said Anderson. "We don't believe the NDP-Green criteria does."
However, Anderson dismisses the BC Liberal attack on proportional representation as a lot of empty grandstanding.
"The last Liberal Throne Speech advocated for a referendum on electoral reform, and all Liberal MLAs supported the idea, while the NDP-Greens opposed the Throne Speech," said Anderson. "Now the roles have reversed, with the NDP-Greens supporting a referendum and the Liberals caterwauling about it. Where was the Liberal angst then? Why did [Liberal Leader] Wilkinson support essentially the same process then but now believes the sky will fall because of it?"
Anderson also identified three misstatements in Wilkinson's hair-tearing press interview:
1. False claim that no one was consulted (all BC'ers had the opportunity to submit suggestions online);
2. False claim that no one has ever heard of these options (MMP in particular is well established in other Westminster parliamentary systems); and
3. False claim that the three PR options don't allow for regional representation (in fact if BC voters decide to move forward with any one of the PR options, every region will continue to be represented in the BC Legislature).
"No reporter questioned Wilkinson on why he and all other Liberal MLAs voted for the Clone Speech last year that would include a referendum on electoral reform if he's so very concerned about it now," said Anderson. "And now he's committing to use taxpayers' dollars to travel around the province to fight this referendum. I know it's a Liberal trait to throw taxpayers' money around uselessly, as with the $4.5 billion the federal Liberals threw at a pipeline that could have been paid for by the private sector had Trudeau shown a little leadership, but using taxpayers' money to fight something today that they supported yesterday really takes the cake."
"Unlike the Liberal-NDP-Green practice of saying one thing one day and something else the next, the Conservatives believe in living by our promises," said Anderson. "We will support a referendum that is clear, objective, and incorporates a popular and regional super-majority, and if it achieves those criteria we'll respect its results."
For more information:
Scott Anderson, Interim Leader, British Columbia Conservative Party
Telephone: (250) 434-2550 | http://www.bcconservative.ca/