Vancouver, May 30, 2018 – Today, Attorney General David Eby, released recommendations on how the fall 2018 referendum on electoral reform will be structured — and according to our members, the framework and questions miss the mark.

The report recommends that the referendum include two questions. The first, asks British Columbians to choose between the current First Past the Post voting system and a Proportional Representation system. The second, asks to choose between Dual Member Proportional, Mixed Member Proportional, or Rural-Urban Proportional.

The BC Chamber is calling for deeper consultation with British Columbians on the potential impact of various Proportional Representation systems, now that the referendum questions have been released, to ensure voters have a clear understanding of each option. Our members recommend the ballot is a choice between First Past the Post or a clearly defined system of Proportional Representation.

BC’s Chambers voted in a two thirds majority at the BC Chamber of Commerce AGM last weekend (May 24-26) to support a resolution: “Engaging Business and Community on Electoral Reform” which was submitted by the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and supported by Greater Westside Board of Trade and Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Our members recommend:

The BC government appoint a non-partisan panel on the likely outcomes of an alternative system prior to issuing a referendum, similar to the previous Citizens’ Assembly.

Clearly define the system of proportional representation that is being considered, well in advance of any referendum

Confirm that no changes will be implemented unless there is a clear majority overall and the referendum is supported in each riding.

This referendum is the third time the provincial government has asked British Columbians to vote on potential changes to our voting system and our members want to ensure there is adequate public consultation and education on possible changes to our voting system.