(The Canadian Press)

Construction industry group again tries to halt B.C.’s electoral reform referendum

Independent Contractors and Businesses Association asks to appeal denial of an interim injunction

A group representing B.C.’s construction industry is taking another shot at stopping the NDP government’s electoral reform referendum. 

On Monday, the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association was set to ask for leave to appeal an Aug. 28 BC Supreme Court decision that denied its interim injunction to halt the referendum.

In court documents, the association called the referendum question “confusing” and the proportional representation options “unclear” and “undefined.”

The referendum, mail-in ballots for which were set out last week, asks whether voters want to keep the current first-past-the-post system or switch to one of proportional representation. A second question lays out three choices for proportional representation: dual member, mixed member and rural-urban systems.

The process has been criticized for being too close to the Oct. 20 municipal election, not providing voters with new electoral maps, and for having begun the campaigning process in the summer, when the legislature is not in session.

READ MORE: Four options to be offered for B.C. voting referendum

READ MORE: B.C. cabinet approves multiple-choice voting referendum

The association also alleges the province has “rigged” the results by placing limits on campaign spending and not properly explaining the choices available.

Each official side, Vote PR B.C. and the No B.C. Proportional Representation Society, will receive $500,000 in public funds and be allowed to spend an additional $200,000.

Justice Miriam Gropper had denied the interim injunction request because she said the association’s claims were full of “rhetoric, conjecture and exaggeration.”

In a statement, Attorney General David Eby said the referendum was a chance for British Columbians to decide their democratic future.

“By appealing the decision on its injunction to suspend the upcoming referendum on electoral reform, the ICBA continues to work against the right of people to vote on how their provincial representatives are elected,” said Eby.

“As I’ve said before, our government will vigorously defend the right of people to vote on the question of whether to change B.C.’s voting system or keep the current system.”


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