Kelowna MLA happy to hear referendum results for electoral system

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick was happy to hear that B.C. residents voted to keep the province’s current electoral system.

“The vote was (consistent with the last election.) I think it’s time to move on to more pressing issues in the province,” he said, after hearing the results of the referendum Thursday. B.C. residents were asked whether to keep their current system, or change to one of three proportional representation electoral systems during a mail-in referendum.

“I look forward to the next election being First Past the Post,” Letnick said.

Letnick has been an advocate for FPTP throughout the referendum discussion.

Sixty one per cent of B.C. residents voted for FPTP.

“The NDP and Greens came up with a very loose proposal for people to consider, hoping people would support proportional representation and clearly for the third time the population… has said we like the way we elect MLAs,” Letnick said.

READ MORE: B.C. referendum rejects proportional representation

Seventy per cent of voters favoured FPTP in the Kelowna Mission, 70 per cent voted for the old system in Kelowna West and 71 per cent wanted to keep the current system in Kelowna-Lake Country. In the Central Okanagan, 61,611 ballots were cast.

Opposition critics blasted the NDP for giving Attorney General David Eby the task of developing the options, rather than a citizens’ assembly as was the case with referenda in 2005 and 2009 that offered a single transferable ballot system and were defeated.

This referendum also differed from earlier ones by having no minimum turnout and no regional weighting to ensure that urban areas in the southwest didn’t decide the issue.

Premier John Horgan promoted B.C.’s electoral reform options as a way to improve voter participation. In a year-end interview with Black Press, Horgan said the referendum turnout of just over 40 per cent is a valid response to a proposal to change the system for at least the next two provincial elections.

— With files from Tom Fletcher


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