Electoral Reformers Pressing Ahead

By Tom Fletcher
Published July 19th 2005 in The Williams Lake Tribune

 VICTORIA - On the heels of their near-victory in May's provincial election, supporters of electoral reform are gearing up for another run at changing the way British Columbians vote.
Fair Vote Canada, a national citizen's group dedicated to electoral change, held a founding meeting on Saturday to mark the birth of its new Victoria chapter.
Derek Simon, a member of the organizing committee, said May's referendum on the Single Transferrable Vote system generated enough interest in electoral reform to warrant starting a Fair Vote Canada chapter in the capital region.
I think it's gotten to the point where there's sort of a critical mass of members," Simon said.
We want to build off that momentum."
The proposed STV system received majority support in 77 of B.C.'s 79 ridings, easily meeting the requirement of majority support in at least two-thirds of the province's electoral districts.
However, province-wide support among voters came in at just over 58 per cent, just shy of the 60 per cent threshold set by the provincial government.
Simon said coming so close encouraged supporters of electoral reform to step up their efforts and sent a clear message to politicians across Canada.
Seventy-seven of 79 seats - that's a pretty strong message," Simon said. I think it put a little bit of fear onto the politicians as well."
B.C. would have been the first province in Canada to change its voting system if voters had approved the STV proposal.
Five other Canadian provinces are currently developing proposals for electoral reform, Simon added.

Bruce Hallsor, who stepped down as Fair Vote Canada's vice-president to run the Victoria Yes to STV campaign," said May's results undermined the legitimacy of the province's electoral system.
How can we run the next election on a system that's be rejected by the majority of British Columbians," Hallsor said, adding that he never accepted" the 60 per cent threshold as reasonable.
In the wake of his re-election in May, Premier Gordon Campbell promised to take a second look at electoral reform and provide more news on the government's plans early this fall.
Hallsor said Fair Vote Canada believes it's still possible to change the province's voting system in time for the 2009 election.
The Victoria chapter of Fair Vote Canada will join 10 other chapters across Canada.
The organization has Ontario chapters in Toronto, Northumberland, Halton, Guelph and Durham.
There are also chapters in PEI, Nova Scotia, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.