Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark takes questions in the B.C. legislature Monday. (Hansard TV)

B.C. NDP ministers defend proportional representation vote

What is urban, what is rural, how many MLAs will be appointed?

Opposition MLAs focused on the unanswered questions in B.C.’s proportional representation referendum Monday, grilling NDP government ministers on how a new system would work.

Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby took questions directed at Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark, who was featured in weekend TV reports saying she was not able to explain the three new electoral systems offered in mail-in ballots going out to more than three million households.

Questions in the legislature focused on the lack of maps and the size of multi-member constituencies that could result if voters choose to move away from the current first-past-the-post system that elects one MLA for each of B.C.’s 87 constituencies.

B.C. Liberal MLA Mike de Jong said Abbotsford currently has three constituencies. How many will it have under proportional representation, and will they be rural or urban, he asked.

Eby fielded that and similar questions by saying the cabinet adopted the principle that no region will have its representation reduced. Electoral boundaries will be developed by an independent commission once the voters choose which system they prefer, he said.

RELATED: What you need to know about B.C.’s referendum

RELATED: Premier Horgan agrees to TV debate on referendum

De Jong compared the current referendum to a “magic metal bracelet” advertised on TV, promising to cure B.C.’s political ills without revealing how it works. He reference to the “K-Tel coalition” government drew a rebuke from Speaker Darryl Plecas.

“I don’t want to disparage K-Tel,” de Jong said. “When I bought my patty stacker at least I knew what it was and how it worked.”

Education Minister Rob Fleming reminded opposition MLAs that it was just over a year ago that they hastily rewrote their throne speech in an effort to prevent being voted out of power by the NDP and the B.C. Green Party. One of their promises was a referendum on proportional representation, which was promised by both the NDP and Greens in the 2017 election.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Top national sparrers in Smithers

Harmony Taekwon-Do brings home hardware from national competition in Calgary.

Good fences, good neighbors

A neighbour has beef with cattle let loose on the range - including her yard.

Smithers and Telkwa get affordable housing

Smithers and Telkwa receive combined $2.7 million from Province for 27 units.

BC’s history with railways in new book

Iron Road West contains 500 historical illustrations.

Family of Cameron Kerr plead for driver to come forward

“Stand up and be a human.” Those were the only words that… Continue reading

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Getzlaf lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over skidding Canucks

Vancouver now winless since Nov. 8

Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

“We can make a difference and I think we’re being overlooked.”

Senators urge Trump to expedite congressional vote on USMCA

The 12 Republican senators are warning of the dangers of getting the trade pact approved in 2019

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

Investigation into B.C. legislature officers began in January

RCMP brought in months after former prison administrator started

Legal challenge filed over high-stakes competition to design $60B warships

The federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design” for its new warship fleet, which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy.

‘There has to be accountability’: victims of sterilization demand action

Morningstar Mercredi says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone.

Former B.C. crime reporter pens debut children’s book

Thom Barker channels his giant dog’s phobias into theme exploring critical thinking

Most Read