Dr Dennis Pilon, Associate Professor of Political Science from York University is making a stop in Penticton to host a facts-based discussion on what a new voting system means for British Columbians. Submitted photo

South Okanagan voters get the scoop on electoral reform

Proportional representation learning session to be held in Penticton

A facts-based discussion, held in Penticton, about what a new voting system means for British Columbians is open to South Okanagan residents to learn more about proportional representation.

On July 3, Dr. Dennis Pilon, associate professor of political science from York University will host the discussion on what a new voting system means.

The opportunity comes just as the official campaign period for the B.C.’s fall referendum on electoral reform kicks into action.

Related: Penticton rally for proportional representation

This fall, voters will receive mail-in ballots on whether to keep the traditional winner-take-all voting system or shift to a form of proportional representation. Voting packages will appear in mailboxes starting Oct. 22, to be returned by Nov. 30, 2018.

“There are many arguments for and against reform, but not all arguments are equally supported by evidence,” said Pilon in a news release.

Related: Electoral reform vote includes $500,000 each for pro and con groups

Since Attorney General, David Eby announced the referendum questions on May 30, both sides of the debate have been gearing up their campaigns. Last week saw the group, Fair Referendum, kick off their campaign by purchasing advertising in newspapers across the province. The ‘no’ side claim the referendum is too confusing for voters to understand.

Anton Boegman, chief electoral officer of B.C. and head of the independent and non-partisan office of Elections B.C. who will administer the referendum has said, “I believe that this question is simple and straight forward enough to understand.”

Related: Four options to be offered for B.C. voting referendum

Local Fair Vote chapter member, Tina Lee questioned the ‘no’ side’s motivations.

“The opposition is spending a lot of money to try to discredit the referendum process. Politics should not be about who can spend millions on a campaign to win — this is one of the many reasons we need a new system where voters have more control than lobbyists.”

The official campaign period beginning July 1 will see a ban on contributions from unions and corporations.

According to Pilon, as well as stable governments, nations with proportional representation also have better policy outcomes in economic and social justice areas, the environment and maintain stable democracies with better long-term thinking.

Those with questions about proportional representation and seeking more information can hear the arguments and facts at the July 3 discussion in Penticton at the Shatford Centre (760 Main St.) at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation.

Kristi Patton | Editor


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