Get on it folks, says local MLA as referendum deadline nears

Haida Gwaii post offices got a small flurry of yellow referendum ballots last week, but turnout remains a concern as the Nov. 30 deadline approaches.

Less than eight per cent of North Coast voters have so far cast a ballot in the B.C. referendum on electoral reform. Province-wide, turnout stood at just 18 per cent.

Related: Voting system debate reaches Haida Gwaii

Islanders who haven’t voted already can drop their ballots off at the Service BC office in Queen Charlotte, or post them. This Friday, Nov. 23 is the last day for anyone who didn’t get a ballot to request one, and Elections B.C. must receive all ballots by 4:30 p.m. on the following Friday, Nov. 30.

The referendum will decide whether B.C. keeps using first-past-the-post or switches to proportional representation when electing the provincial government. If the proportional representation side wins, there will be a follow-up referendum in two years to confirm the change.

“Regardless of how people vote in Haida Gwaii and the Bella Coola Valley, I’m just encouraging folks to get on it,” says North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.

Rice mailed her ballot last week, checking the box in favour of proportional representation, or “pro rep.”

While she nearly chose mixed-member proportional, of the three pro-rep options, Rice felt rural-urban proportional would be the best fit for North Coast.

“I’m pretty good with either,” she said. “They are two systems that have been tested, and I think they make sense for both the rural and urban parts of the province.”

While critics of pro-rep often say it means less of a voice for sparsely populated rural ridings, Rice says all three pro-rep options on the ballot would see actually see little change for large rural ridings — it’s in the cities that voters will notice the biggest shifts in riding boundaries and candidate lists.

“Of course, they’re not perfect, but I think any of the three are better than first-past-the-post,” Rice said, noting that under the current, winner-takes-all system, voters in her own NDP-strong riding rarely see their votes elect anyone, while the opposite is true for non-BC Liberal voters in the northeast.

“Regardless, is that really fair?” she said.

Bill Tieleman, campaign director for the No Proportional Representation Society, said last week that the referendum vote should be extended given the rotating Canada Post strikes in the province. Elections B.C. said it is considering the idea.

To learn more, visit elections.bc.ca.

Proportional Representation Referendum

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

Police look for vehicle, male driver after incident involving girl, 11

The driver was described as an older Caucasian male with white hair, no glasses, and no facial hair

Anger growing among B.C. salmon anglers shut out of public fishery

Fisheries minister stands by “very difficult” decisions to limit openings

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

Most Read