At this morning’s Surrey Board of Trade Surrey Hot Topic Dialogue on Proportional Representation and the Economy, panellists spoke to how a different voting system in provincial elections might impact spending and decision-making. Participants learned why this is important to business, the choices of voting systems being proposed and whether changing voting systems will improve democracy and enhance economic decision making for BC communities.
The BC government is proceeding with a Referendum on Electoral Reform for provincial elections. The referendum voting period will be between October 22 to November 30, 2018.
“However the Surrey Board of Trade is calling for a delay on the referendum,” said Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade.
“Changing how we vote in BC Elections is a critical decision to our economy, to Surrey. There has not been enough education or detail provided on the different options that residents are being asked to vote on in the upcoming referendum. It is like the HST Referendum all over again – not enough time to educate the public or even to communicate the importance of this referendum. This is especially concerning as residents are also considering who to vote for in municipal elections.”
The Surrey Board of Trade released their survey results at this morning’s event. The survey was to obtain a pulse of what businesses were thinking on the topic of changing voting systems in BC Elections.
When asked “Which system should British Columbia use for provincial elections?” just over 60% favoured the current First Past the Post Representation System.
All but a handful intend to vote in the referendum. Of the comments given, the prevailing view is that not enough information is given on the Elections BC site or that the information doesn’t really explain the systems sufficiently. Several would like clear examples to show, exactly, what it is they are voting for. Other concerns include whether more MLAs would be elected and how costly the whole thing will be. A couple commented on the low (50% plus1) threshold.
The Panelists were Seth Klein – Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Suzanne Anton – No BC Proportional Representation, and Dr. Anke Kessler – Simon Fraser University.
This was the first education event of its kind in preparation for the upcoming Referendum.
The Surrey Board of Trade has over 6,000 business contacts as members, represented by over 2600 members.