British Columbia voted to maintain the current First Past the Post voting system by a three to two margin. Polls showed majority interest in amending the system to have elections decided by some form of proportional representation. The result of the mail-in referendum held between Oct. 22 and Dec. 7 was announced on Dec. 20 by Elections BC. More than six in ten voters – 61.3 per cent – voted to maintain the current system while just 38.7 per cent voted for change.
There was also a second question about what type of proportional representation should be used if the first question was approved.
Two previous attempts to inaugurate a proportional representation system (PR) were defeated in 2005 and 2009. During the 2017 provincial election, both the NDP and the Green Party campaigned in favour of electoral change, with both favouring PR. In 2017, the NDP formed a new British Columbia government and its supply and confidence agreement with the Green Party included a commitment to put the issue of electoral reform before B.C. voters once again.
Campaign Life Coalition urged supporters to vote against changing the First Past the Post system. CLC says that proportional representation threatens democracy by separating elected officials from those electing them. Most PR systems involve the party or leader creating lists of candidates from whom the proportionate number of elected officials are taken. CLC president Jeff Gunnarson told The Interimthat “this makes those MPs or MPPs or MLAs beholden not to voters who elected them but the party leaders and other elite who select them for their lists.”