iN VIDEO: Forget the polarized opinions, have some fun researching your ProRep referendum options - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: Forget the polarized opinions, have some fun researching your ProRep referendum options

A sample ballot for the British Columbia electoral reform referendum is shown in Victoria on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner
November 02, 2018 - 11:17 AM

With the “silly season” of municipal elections behind us, we’re diving right into the next big thing – B.C.’s referendum on Proportional Representation.

Ballots were mailed to all British Columbians starting right after the municipal vote and have to be returned to Elections B.C. no later than 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30.

If you rely on the letter to the editor writers, you have no way of knowing how to vote. There is no shortage of opinions, rhetoric, information and mis-information on this topic, led by the political parties in B.C.

The NDP claim it’s “a way of voting that puts people at the centre of politics” while the B.C. Liberals say the referendum is unclear, unfair and unbalanced and Proportional Representation, or ProRep, is unstable, untested and unaccountable.

What is clear is that people are being offered a choice. They can vote to keep the current first past the post system or opt for some form of Proportional Representation. After that, it gets less clear as there are three types of ProRep that you can select: Dual member proportional, Mixed Member Proportional or Rural-Urban Proportional.

The referendum has to pass by 50 per cent plus one to change the system but which system will be used depends on how people vote for the various ProRep options. If the voting system is changed, a second referendum is planned after it’s been in place for two elections.

Rather than get into all the details here, iNFOnews.ca is providing you with some useful websites to check out and some videos to watch.

For a basic outline of the voting options, you can go to Election B.C. website here for the official description.

If you already are leaning one way or another there are two organizations that were each given $500,000 by the province to run campaigns. They are asking for donations as well.

NoBCProRep was founded by Bill Tielman, former communications director for NDP Premier Glen Clark. He also led the fight against two other referendums to change the voting system in B.C.

“We live in the best province in the best country in the world,” states the NoBCProRep website. “A principal reason for our successes is the First Past the Post system that we use to elect governments. It is simple, it produces stable governments and it’s been successful for generations. Simple, stable and successful. To replace it with a foreign voting system that has chronic problems is nonsense.”

The other funded group is VotePRBC, which does not list its founders on its webpage.

“For over 70 years, our voting system has worked for insiders and those who know how to use the system the best: those who have been in power the most,” VotePRBC states on its website. “It isn’t fair that a government that gets 40 per cent of the votes should get 100 per cent of the power. The way to make voting more fair for everyone in B.C. is to give people a new way to vote – and that’s ProRep.”

But, one of the biggest players in the debate is not government funded. That’s Fair Vote Canada, a “national citizen’s movement” that has been around since 2001.

Consulting any of these three obviously biased organizations may just add to the confusion for an undecided voter.

For those who want to get some background on all this, there are two recent in-depth articles in the Tyee and Toronto Star. For those who prefer a more visual representation, check out these videos.

The CBC explained how it all works in less than three minutes.

 

Kumtuks takes a couple of minutes longer.

 

But, if you want a deeper dive in a fun video format, look at blogger Josh Messmer’s (This Here Vancouver) 24-minute video that shows how the different ProRep options could impact the Star Wars, Nintendo, Hogwarts and Mad Max parties. Not only is it entertaining but it also gives more detail about the various potential outcomes of the different voting systems.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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