BURNABY, B.C. – The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday to get an injunction that would put the upcoming provincial proportional representation referendum on hold.
The ICBA said in a release today that its petition lays out arguments that the referendum process is legally flawed and violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the filing, the organization argues that the referendum that was announced by the NDP government last year is not consistent with the Referendum Act, which calls for “a clear statement of the majority of voters on whether to implement a well-defined and comprehensible new voting system, or to keep the existing electoral system.”
The ICBA also argues that the referendum violates foundational constitutional principles, which require a binding referendum on matters of fundamental importance to be “endorsed by a clear majority on a clear question,” and that the referendum does not meet sections 2(b) and 3 of the Charter.
“Whether people support proportional representation or not, the process set out by the Horgan Government was rushed, the questions are confusing and the rules restrict voters from getting the information they need to make an informed decision,” said ICBA president Chris Gardner. “On fundamental democratic issues like this, British Columbians have a constitutional right to a clear question, open debate, and as much information as possible.”
One month ago, Attorney General David Eby announced the recommendations made in a report on the proposed referendum. Then last week, the government announced the full list of regulations that the government said would govern the referendum.
The list of regulations on the upcoming referendum, and the full 49-page Supreme Court petition by the ICBA can be found below.