An activist stands before a poster that reads "Make every vote count" at a Dec. 2016 rally for electoral reform. Photo by Leadnow Canada
Nanaimo

Do Nanaimo candidates support electoral reform?

We sent MLA candidates your election questions. Here’s what we heard.
Lauren Kaljur October 19, 2020

“What will you do about electoral reform, now that a third referendum has failed?” That’s a question The Discourse heard after we asked what questions you have for provincial election candidates. 

We sent the question to candidates in the Nanaimo riding. BC Liberal candidate Kathleen Jones did not respond to the request by the deadline. We will update this story if we receive a response.

The Discourse is offering pop-up election coverage in Nanaimo based on feedback from residents. Sign up to get our stories straight to your inbox. If enough people want us to continue in-depth coverage in Nanaimo, we’ll stick around. 

Lia Versaevel, BC Green Party

The most recent referendum was designed to fail. There should have been a public
education program in effect for several years to teach people what all the options really meant, and to give people time to wrap their minds around the concept of proportional
representation. People are averse to change. We need to introduce concepts to students at a very young age to permit the concept of “winner take all” to be only one of the possible
outcomes in elections. We need to encourage a social fabric of inclusivity and amplify
all voices around the table. The referendum question should have been designed by a non-partisan academic entity familiar with accessing real answers, rather than asking leading questions. Many people voted no because they simply did not understand what was being asked.

Sheila Malcolmson, BC NDP

In 2018, British Columbians had the opportunity to decide whether B.C. should keep its current voting system or move to a system of proportional representation. Elections B.C. reported that well over one million people voted in the referendum and we thank all British Columbians who turned out to have their say in the decision on how we vote in our province. It was the largest public consultation in our province’s history.

Following Election B.C.’s tabulation of the ballots, it was declared that British
Columbians preferred to stick with our current voting system. Our government held this referendum because we believe that this decision needed to be up to people, not politicians. I personally support electoral reform and while we were disappointed in the outcome, we respect people’s decision.

Since forming government, we have been working to make life better for people. We’ve already banned big money and introduced tough new restrictions on lobbyists to put people back at the centre of our politics. There’s a lot more work to do and if re-elected a BC NDP government will keep working to make government work for people in B.C.

Further reading: 

  • Former BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver is partly to blame for the failure of bringing proportional representation to the province, writes Vaughn Palmer in commentary for the Vancouver Sun.