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Bernier unhappy with Attorney General’s report on proportional representation

VICTORIA, B.C. — Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier says he’s not happy about some of the recommendations made by Attorney General David Eby in a report on the upcoming provincial referendum on proportional representation, which is due out this fall.

Bernier said that the report shows that the NDP has “stacked the deck” in favour of B.C. residents to vote in favour of the province adopting proportional representation during the upcoming referendum. Bernier, who has come out against getting rid of the current First Past The Post system, claims that Premier John Horgan broke a promise after saying that the referendum would consist of a simple ‘yes or no’ question.

“They broke their promise on how they were going to do this referendum. Now they’ve made it more rigged where its really convoluted and confusing for people. They have not provided any time for groups to really formulate and understand what it’s about. There’s no maps that are showing how the boundaries might change. It’s a completely manipulated process.”

Bernier said he feels that the current timeline that has been adopted by the provincial government is too short. He said that the previous Liberal government allowed for over a year ahead of the last referendum on electoral reform, which was held in conjunction with the 2009 provincial election. 

During that referendum, just under 61 percent of voters rejected the proposal for the province to switch to the Single Transferable Vote method of voting. That referendum followed on the heels of another referendum during the 2005 election, when 57 percent of residents voted in favour of STV, which was below the required threshold. 

Bernier also says that during previous referendums, there have been regional thresholds that have meant that the referendum would not pass if the initiative did not receive enough favourable votes in rural areas of the the province. He added that the NDP have not set any minimum thresholds for different regions, meaning that rural areas of B.C. could be out-voted based simply on the number of eligible voters who live in the Lower Mainland.

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