COPE is hosting a debate on Wednesday (April 1) on electoral reform featuring leading campaigners on both sides.
At 7 p.m. at Creative Individual Studio (#110 60 East 5th Avenue), Bill Tieleman of the "no" committee will square off against Antony Hodgson of the "yes" committee.
Elections B.C. is dividing $1 million between the no and yes committees to enable them to get their messages out in time for the May 12 referendum, which will coincide with the provincial election.
This is probably the most important referendum in B.C. history because it might determine the method for electing legislators for the rest of our lives.
Under first-past-the-post, the candidate with the most votes wins in each of 85 geographic constituencies. Under BC-STV—which was recommended by a Citizens' Assembly—candidates would be elected in multimember districts, with voters' second, third and possibly fourth or even fifth preferences being taken into account.
Proponents of BC-STV say it will result in a legislature that more accurately reflects voters' intentions, rather than having a winner-take-all system in which a party can capture a majority with less than 40 percent of the vote.
Proponents of first-past-the-post say that under BC-STV, the person who gains the most first-place votes still might not win the election.
According to the Electoral Reform Referendum 2009 Act, the result of the referendum is binding on the government only if 60 percent vote in favour and if in 60 percent of the electoral districts, more than 50 percent vote in favour.
The Georgia Straight will have more on the referendum on electoral reform in the next printed edition of the paper, which will be distributed across Metro Vancouver on Thursday (April 2).
Anyone interested in voting in the next provincial election can go to www.elections.bc.ca/. Voters have until April 21 to register prior to the election. It's possible to register on voting day (May 12), which might involve waiting in a lineup before getting a chance to cast a ballot.