B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson gathers his opposition caucus outside the B.C. legislature to call for a “prime time” debate with Premier John Horgan on electoral reform, Oct. 23, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson gathers his opposition caucus outside the B.C. legislature to call for a “prime time” debate with Premier John Horgan on electoral reform, Oct. 23, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Time running out for TV debate on proportional representation

B.C. Liberal leader spars with Premier John Horgan over timing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson devoted most of his legislature time Tuesday to demanding that Premier John Horgan set a date for an evening TV debate on his government’s referendum on voting reform.

Throughout question period, in a brief rally with MLAs outside, and then debating the latest legislation to offer the option of a second referendum, Wilkinson hammered at Horgan to keep his Oct. 4 promise to debate.

Horgan replied that Wilkinson “can’t take yes for an answer,” and his staff have only to finalize a date.

“I’ve agreed to debate the member in November,” Horgan told the legislature. “We’re working with the networks to find a day.”

Wilkinson said later he has been offered evening airtime on Global TV, and only Horgan’s reluctance to set a date has held up the scheduling. In the legislature, he accused the NDP of “voter suppression” tactics, keeping interest in the vote low while public sector unions and other government allies work to win a low-turnout referendum.

Voting packages began being mailed out this week, with a deadline of the end of November to have them filled out and returned. The delays mean many people will have voted by the time a debate happens, and the choices and process are intentionally complicated, he said.

“People will look at this package and say, ‘I don’t even understand what this is about,’ and throw it out,” Wilkinson said.

Horgan was scheduled to join Finance Minister Carole James, B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and Green MLA Sonia Furstenau at a rally in downtown Victoria Tuesday evening.

B.C. Liberal MLA Sam Sullivan said he was surprised to find that a video he made to illustrate the manipulation that went into preparing the referendum could not be promoted with a $50 advertising fee on his Facebook page, because Elections B.C. rules for the referendum don’t permit him to spend money.

RELATED: Horgan agrees to debate, Sullivan releases video

Most importantly, the government has introduced a bill to have a second referendum,” Sullivan said. “The only reason why they introduced this in the middle of the campaign is to influence people to vote yes. This violates the spirit of the Referendum Act.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureProportional representation

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rossland council encourages everyone to support locals only recommendations. Photo: Jim Bailey.
Rossland council promotes ‘Locals Only’ inititative

Rossland mayor encourages people to restrict travel and enjoy what your home has to offer

Caroline Lafond is a Recreation Fish and Wildlife student at Selkirk College. Photo: Submitted
Ecological Comment: Help keep the goats of Gimli wild

A column written by Recreation Fish and Wildlife students at Selkirk College

Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union president Andy Davidoff. Photo: Jennifer Small
An open letter to Premier Horgan and Minister Whiteside: Let’s stop harming our children during a pandemic

A letter from Andrew Davidoff, President Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Most Read