Door open for electoral change: B.C. premier
Published May 18th 2005 in CBC News
VICTORIA - A majority of British Columbians voted for a radical revision of the electoral system but fell short of the support needed to make the province North America's first large jurisdiction with proportional representation.

However, Premier Gordon Campbell said Wednesday that the results showed a strong mandate for change.

The referendum on electoral reform was held Tuesday during the provincial election, in which Campbell's Liberals captured a second-straight majority government with 46 of the legislature's 79 seats.



A majority of people supported ditching the first-past-the-post voting system in provincial elections and adopting the Single Transferable Vote, a form of proportional representation.



Although the final tally wasn't completed by late Wednesday, about 57 per cent of the votes counted were in favour of the new system.

Under the rules, BC-STV required an overall approval of 60 per cent province-wide – plus a simple majority in 60 per cent of the ridings in the province, a requirement that was met.

However, Campbell said the fact that a clear majority voted for electoral reform is "significant." He said he's ready to take the issue forward once the final results are tabulated.

"I think we should bring that to the legislature, to all members of the legislature and review where we may go from there, because there is clearly some hunger to see an improvement."

Julian West, who helped lead a modestly funded campaign in favour of the reform, said he was heartened by the results and the premier's comments.

"I think people really see now that electoral reform is a winnable issue with the Canadian public," he said.

"The government got 46 per cent support. The referendum got 57 per cent support. So we're more popular than the government is."

NDP Leader Carole James – who led her party's resurgence from two seats in the 2001 election to 33 seats on Tuesday – said she voted against BC-STV, but still supports electoral reform.



James said she favours a mixed-member, proportional representation model. She would like to see another referendum on electoral reform, possibly tied to future municipal elections.