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Group launches referendum campaign for proportional representation

Last Updated Jun 10, 2018 at 5:38 pm PDT

(Monika Gul, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Vote PR BC makes case for proportional representation, launching campaign ahead of BC's electoral reform referendum

'Right now we have a system where about 50% of the votes are thrown away'

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Days after the BC government officially announced a referendum on how we choose our provincial government, a group has launched it’s campaign for proportional representation.

Vote PR BC is a coalition of more than 20 organizations, representing nearly 600,000 people who support a system of proportional representation. The group says proportional representation would lead to more collaboration between elected officials, more responsive government, and higher voter turn out.

Kicking off their campaign, the group canvassed in cities around BC on Sunday, including at Vancovuer’s Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station.

“Right now we have a system where about 50% of the votes are thrown away,” says volunteer, Jason McLaren “They don’t go to elect anyone who becomes an MLA.”

He thinks it’s time for everyone’s vote to count. “I’ve been voting since 1993 and I’ve never once elected anybody. Even that one time I voted strategically.”

Bobby Munga, also a volunteer, also feels the lack of impact his vote makes in the current system.

“My riding, for example, I think every election like only 30% of people have voted for the party that eventually won,” he says “But because that was the 30% that you know, first-past-the-post cleared more votes than everybody else, they got the seat and so kinda like 70% of people’s vote didn’t matter.”

Maria Dobrinskaya, spokesperson for Vote PR BC says there’s no jurisdiction in the world that has moved to proportional representation and gone back to first past the post.

“At it’s core, proportional representation is quite simple: 30% of the vote should equal 30% of the seats.”

Two questions will appear on the ballot this fall — one asking if we should change to a form of proportional representation, and if so, which type. Then, another referendum will be held after two elections to see if people want to keep the change.

Dobrinskaya believes British Columbians have an appetite for change in the electoral system.