NDP referendum rules leave opponents scrambling, say BC Liberals

Michael Lee

THE BC Liberals on Monday slammed the provincial government for releasing its long-awaited rules to govern the referendum campaign on proportional representation with little more than a week to go before the official campaign starts on July 1.

“The government is using every trick in the book to stack the deck in its favour,” said MLA and Attorney General Critic Michael Lee. “Setting the rules at the very last minute, with an application deadline of July 6, means the referendum campaign will begin and continue for at least a week without an official opponent group.

“This just confirms we are dealing with a stacked deck in a rigged game. The NDP and the Green Party made a commitment more than a year ago to actively campaign on the side of proportional representation and they show no concern for a fair and informed process. This is not the way to hold an impartial referendum on how we elect a government in British Columbia.

“We don’t even have a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no” question for voters to consider. The Chief Electoral Officer conducted only a limited review of the language of the proposed ballot questions, and was restricted from addressing their structure or format as the decision on the ballot structure was made by cabinet. To suggest that the Chief Electoral Officer signed off on the structure or format of the ballot questions is false. Voters will have to sort out a highly complex referendum ballot with limited information.”

The provincial government has spent the better part of the year making preparations for the referendum, leaving many to speculate as to why it has been so slow to provide proper details for such a fundamental issue, said the BC Liberals.


  1. I can appreciate that in his role as ‘critic’ that Mr. Lee has to be critical – a problem with our current political system. When I read the Attorney General’s report, the two questions seemed very clear. What I find compelling is the support for each of the two sides in this issue. The proponents seem to be a collective of citizen groups, while the opponents appear to be lobbyists and politicians – that says a lot.

  2. “This just confirms we are dealing with a stacked deck in a rigged game.”
    Lordy, don’t those moaners ever get tired of those two adjectives? They seem to be an umbrella protecting the complainers and naysayers from saying anything relevant. If I could just borrow those two words for a short moment before they’re completely worn out. “Stacked and rigged” is the clear definition ofthe results of first-past-the-post. In a supposedly democratic country how can anybody defend a popular vote of 40% receiving 60% of the seats? Or how is it possible for a smaller party receiving 17% of the popular vote being allocated only 3 seats? Stacked? Rigged? More like both! We’ve had fraudulent governments for far too long!

  3. The present government is behaving like governments generally do, autocratically, and this on the fundamental issue of the electoral rules of the game. You cannot play a game without agreeing the rules are fair. FPTP is a largely discredited system. But the MMP system, that the collectivist parties seek to replace it with, is the best system politicians have come-up with to end meaningful elections, in all but name. They are a double safety net for candidates. Those first past the post keep their seats. Those not first past the post take party list seats. Every one a winner, every voter a loser of representative democracy. Not that you ever really had that, as the pro-MMP cynics say.
    To change that, the BC Citizens Assembly recommended elections that actually elect. (Single Transferable Vote). The parties, all three, indeed have played “every trick in the book” to trash STV.

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