Islanders evenly divided on referendum

  • May. 27, 2009 5:00 p.m.

Final votes have now been tallied for the North Coast riding – and not surprisingly, Gary Coons is still the winner, by a long shot, in the May 12 provincial election. According to Elections BC, the total number of ballots cast in advance voting, general voting and absentee voting on the North Coast was 8,958, with 5,096 votes going to Mr. Coons of the NDP, 3,110 going to Liberal candidate Herb Pond, 683 to Green candidate Lisa Girbav and 69 ballots rejected. That is not significantly different than the preliminary count on election night. Mr. Coons picked up an additional 156 votes in the final count, Mr. Pond 129 and Ms Girbav 25. The final North Coast results for the referendum on which electoral system BC should use in the future had 5,231 votes in favour of our existing “first past the post” system, and 3,393 votes for the single transferable vote, or BC-STV, system. The North Coast voters’ split, at 61 percent in favour of first-past-the-post and 39 percent in favour of STV, mirrored the split across BC. Here on Haida Gwaii, it was a different story, with islanders evenly divided between the two systems. A total of 770 islanders voted for the current system, while 771 voted for STV. Another 41 referendum ballots were spoiled, a much higher percentage than in the election, perhaps reflecting a general lack of information and debate about the referendum question. STV was most warmly supported in Masset, Queen Charlotte and Tlell, but only in Tlell did it receive over 60 percent support, which was the threshold set by the government to consider changing the system.Old Massett: 61 percent in favour of FPTPMasset: 52 percent in favour of STVPort: 52 percent in favour of FPTPTlell: 73 percent in favour of STVSkidegate: 61 percent in favour of FPTPQueen Charlotte: 53 percent in favour of STVSandspit: 57 percent in favour of FPTP.