“Mr Fletcher didn’t do his homework on BC’s Proportional Representation referendum,” writes Halberstadt, referring to “The fix is in on proportional representation” (Trail Times May 8).

Fletcher didn’t do his homework

Letter to the Editor from Antoinette Halberstadt of Castlegar

Mr Fletcher didn’t do his homework on BC’s Proportional Representation referendum (“The fix is in on proportional representation” Trail Times May 8).

Odd that a “legislative reporter” hasn’t heard or read BC’s “Bill 6 – 2017 Electoral Reform Referendum Act” legislation that he implies doesn’t exist, about this Fall’s referendum about changing to a Proportional Representation election system, nor read the government’s “How We Vote” website that clearly spells out that the public will know by the end of May what the Attorney General’s proposals are for the referendum question and how it will be rolled out.

Let me help Tom Fletcher to catch up on the homework he didn’t do prior to writing his piece.

1. A minimum turnout has indeed been legislated. The threshold for a Yes vote to win in the Fall, is a simple majority, i.e. 50 per cent + 1 of all BC’ers who cast a vote. Try googling the legislation, Mr F.

2. The public will have plenty of time to weigh the pro’s and con’s. The government website https://engage.gov.bc.ca/howwevote/ clearly says:

“Results of the public engagement will inform a report by the Attorney General with recommendations for the referendum. The report will be posted publicly on this website before being presented to Cabinet.

“The regulations will be completed after final direction is received from Cabinet later this spring and will contain detailed rules for the referendum. The Attorney General will then announce details of the referendum, including the referendum date, campaign rules and ballot question(s).”

3. As for the “fringe party“ bogeyman, as a ‘political columnist’ one would expect that Mr Fletcher — rather than searching for the directorship of the hardly-heard-of group whose directors he slurs with innuendo — would have checked out the main Proportional Representation sites, such as Fair Vote Canada-BC. Searching for “PR4BC” would have found him this:-

“When we look at models for BC, …. the natural threshold to get a seat can range between 5 and 16%, depending on the design of the system and how it is implemented in each region.

“In the last three federal elections, all 15-20 “fringe” parties put together didn’t get 1% of the vote.

“If we look at other countries using proportional systems similar to what would be recommended for BC the number of parties in their legislatures is very similar to Canada today.

“Natural thresholds are built into made-for-BC systems because the proportionality would be at a REGIONAL level, not a province-wide level.”

Finally, Mr Fletcher and associates such as Bill Tieleman, how about the fine First-Past-The-Post country to the south of us, where the fringe is in power after having been invisibly absorbed into the Republican party?

Antoinette Halberstadt

Castlegar

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