BC election writ drops; referendum campaigns underway
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The provincial election was called today in British Columbia. Alongside with the election, the citizens of the province will also be debating if they should change their electoral system from to (STV). The vote for both the election and the referendum is to be held on May 12th.
According to theonline poll, the issues before the candidates this year are the economy, crime and public safety, and health care.
British Columbia, and leader of the . Three new tax measures have been proposed, increasing apprenticeship training tax credits, reducing small business income tax, and raising the revenue definition for small business. "Keep B.C. Strong" is the Liberal slogan.is the current of
The(NDP) leader is focusing her election platform on supporting a green economy, eliminating the carbon tax, offering families tax relief, freezing post-secondary tuition, raising the minimum wage, and providing a small business tax holiday. The NDP slogan is "Take back your B.C."
The, led by , is focused on environmental issues, crime and police, and a 'green economy'. The Green Party is in support of the carbon tax and will be campaigning in favour of the new STV voting system that is being proposed again. The Green Party slogan is "A better plan for B.C."
is at the helm of the which opposes the Recognition and Reconciliation Act, privatization of BC Hydro Bill 42 'gag law', and the carbon tax. They propose to reduce senior civil employee pay scale, as well as personal and corporate income tax.
Other parties running candidates are theunder , the under , the under , the under , the under , and the under .
For 60 days before the election, each party may campaign with an allowable1.1 million, in the final 28 days, $4.4 million may be spent. $70,000 is allowed by candidates before the writ is dropped, and another $70,000 in the midst of campaigning.
The referendum will allow BC voters to choose between two voting systems. The Ottawa. The other system is , which would replace 85 single-member ridings with 20 larger ridings in which between two and seven (MLA) would be elected. The total number of MLAs will not change. Voters would rank the candidates in order of preference, as many or as few as they wish. When the results are tallied, votes are transferred to the next preference on the ballot when the first preference has been elected or eliminated. The system is designed to ensure that every vote helps to elect someone, every vote counts as fully as possible, and every voter is represented by a candidate they voted for, as nearly as mathematically possible.system is the current system in all Canadian provinces, and is also used to elect in
Previous elections held under the current Single Member Plurality (also known as First Past The Post) system led toin certain elections, such as the where the winning party obtained 77 of the 79 seats of the legislature with just 58% of the vote, and the , in which the party with the most votes failed to win the election. The recommendation to switch to STV was made by the , a group formed in 2004 of randomly selected citizens. They spent a year learning about voting systems around the world and consulting with BC citizens.
It's the fourth referendum in the country and the second in the province within the last 4 years. The country to adopt of the electoral system in recent history.held in 2005 also voted on these same electoral systems and came within 2.3% of the 60% threshold. In order for the referendum to be binding, BC-STV will again need 60% of the popular vote and 50% of votes in 51 of the 85 ridings in BC. If the change is approved, it will be the first province in the
Fair Voting BC, recognized as the official proponent group, argues that STV will lead to fairer election results, effective local representation and greater voter choice. They argue that BC-STV will give voters the power to hold politicians and political parties accountable, by giving every voter a vote that actually makes a difference. If the STV system is approved, then it will be put into use for the first time for the 2013 provincial election.
The recognized opponent group is the No STV Campaign Society. Their arguments are that STV will give larger ridings, voters would be unsure of whom their MLA would be, there would be unequal geographic representation, that the counting method is too complicated, the electoral system results are unverified in practical usage, the system results in a higher probability of minority governments and the subsequent coalition of parties. They also argue that other countries who use systems similar to STV have had problems with their election results.
$500,000 in public funding has been given to both the proponents and the opponents of the referendum.
- R. Freeman. "Election writ drops today" — , April 14, 2009
- Bill Tieleman. "Straight Goods - BC Liberals lead - Voter turnout will decide the BC election." — , April 10, 2009
- "NDP would freeze tuition fees, drop carbon tax" — , April 9, 2009
- Bill Tieleman. "Campbell's Challenge from the Right: The BC Conservative Party" — , April 7, 2009
- Sacha Peter. "First BC Liberal promises of the campaign 2009 April" — , April 7, 2009
- "Battle of election slogans heats up in B.C." — , April 6, 2009
- Mike Laanela. "B.C.'s referendum on proportional representation Is it time for a new electoral system?" — , April 6, 2009
- Mike Laanela. "Gordon Campbell: leader of the BC Liberal Party" — , April 6, 2009
- "British-Columbians for BC-STV: May 12, 2009" — , April 1, 2009
- "STV - Know before you vote" — , April 1, 2009
- Dirk Meissner. "B.C. legislative session ends, unofficial election campaign begins" — , March 31, 2009
- Adrian Nieoczym. "BC Conservative Party rolls out platform, candidates" — , March 26, 2009
- "B.C. Green party wants pot decriminalized, Tasers prohibited" — , March 19, 2009
- Ministry of Attorney General. "Referendum information office now open for BC voters" — , February 2, 2009