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.

Just Posted

Police swarm South Pandosy area

The public is asked to stay away from the Christleton Avenue area

Pedestrian hit by slow moving vehicle in Kelowna

Rose and Richter are closed due to pedestrian struck

World Water Day: Special challenge issued to youth to be climate conscious

Friday, March 22, the Okanagan Basin Water Board is issuing a special challenge

Challenge issued to keep Okanagan Rail Trail free of dog poop

A Lake Country resident is challenging others to take extra bags with them

Thief takes magnet honouring fallen veteran in Lake Country

The magnet was stolen from a vehicle in the district

Second case of measles reported in the B.C. Interior

Case is connected to an earlier measles case in 100 Mile House

Explore the sunken treasures of the Shuswap

Divers explore historic boats and a Ford Model T that broke through lake ice while on a delivery

Rat problem arises in the Shuswap

Traps repeatedly selling out as Chase residents deal with unwelcome rodents

GM announces jobs, electric vehicle after Trump criticism

The company says it will spend $300 million at its plant in Orion Township

Trucker who caused Broncos crash likely to be deported: lawyer

The Crown has asked that Sidhu serve 10 years in prison

China chemical plant blast kills 47, injures hundreds more

This is one of China’s worst industrial accidents in recent years

Montreal priest stabbed while celebrating morning mass

The incident happened Friday morning at Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory

Organic Matters tea recalled across B.C. due to Salmonella

Recall for OM tea products is B.C. wide, possibly national.

Most Read