IMPROVING DEMOCRACY IN B.C.
The Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform says the new
proportional electoral system it proposes for B.C. will improve the
practice of democracy in the province.
"Election results will be fairer, reflecting a balance between
votes and seats, voters will have more choice and candidates will
work harder to earn their support," says the final report of the
Assembly, Making Every Vote Count: The Case for Electoral Reform
in British Columbia.
"Political parties will remain at the centre of the electoral
process, but they will give up some of the excesses of party
discipline and the adversarial style that alienates many voters.
The Legislative Assembly will be strengthened in its ability to
hold governments accountable."
The report was released Friday 10 December 2004.
» TECHNICAL REPORT
The Assembly also issued on
20 December 2004 a Technical
, with detailed explanations of the BC-STV system,
background documents, and more. This is a 280-page
document in PDF format (6MB). It accompanies and expands on the
Final Report. It includes a few blank pages so that the index
numbering, prepared for the printed version, still applies.
In late January, a copy of the Final Report will be distributed
to every household in B.C. Copies of the larger
Technical Report will be sent in January to
libraries, post-secondary schools, MLAs' offices,
government agents, and others.
After late January, you can get reports from the B.C.
in Victoria: 250-952-4460 (toll free 1-800-282-7955). E-mail
» ABOUT BC-STV
system the Assembly members propose for the province is
short for British Columbia Single Transferable Vote.
Under the proportional BC-STV system, voters rank candidates by
numbers on the ballot paper. BC-STV is designed to make every vote
count, and to reflect voters' support for candidates and parties as
fairly as possible. It was proposed by the Assembly after
almost 10 months of study, research and debate, plus 50
public hearings and 1,603 written submissions from the public.
» ABOUT THE REFERENDUM
Now it's up to the
voters of B.C., who will cast ballots on BC-STV in a referendum in
the next provincial election, on May 17, 2005. The provincial
government says that if voters approve the BC-STV model in May, it
will introduce legislation so the new system can go into effect for
the 2009 election.
The referendum question now reads: "Should British Columbia
change to the BC-STV electoral system as recommended by the
Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform? Yes/No"
"STV does more than other systems to
guarantee that everyone gets their views represented in parliament
and that they have a say in what is done by their elected
Electoral Reform Society
, London, England
“. . . The STV system
perhaps comes closest to an ideal electoral system. It combines the
virtues of proportionality with those of preferential voting. It is
a system which politicians, given a choice, would probably least
like to see introduced but which voters, given a choice, should
, Comparing Electoral Systems
Prentice Hall, 1997 (reprinted by Macmillan 1998, 1999).
“The STV electoral system is
supported because it is seen as fair since it delivers proportional
representation, and because of the power it gives voters to choose
their parliamentary representatives by ranking all candidates in
order of their
choice.” — The
(Administration and Cost of Elections).
"STV will give voters more real choice
but it will also mean minority or coalition rather than majority
governments. That's the real choice we face. Ultimately, it's a
decision about the kind of government we want, not the mechanism we
use to get there." — Craig
, The Vancouver Sun
» WHAT WAS THE CITIZENS'
The Assembly was an
independent, non-partisan assembly of 160 randomly selected British
Columbians, with a mandate to look at how votes cast in provincial
elections translate into seats in the Legislature. Their final report
to the people of B.C. was submitted on 10 December 2004, and the
Assembly then disbanded. [MORE
BC-STV FOR BC
Assembly has proposed a new proportional electoral system for B.C.
, a version of the Single Transferable
Vote system that's often called "as easy as 1, 2, 3."
The Citizens' Assembly disbanded after issuing its report on 10
December 2004, and its office now is closed.
For current contact information, please click
at the top of this page.
(You may still see Assembly phone numbers and e-mail addresses
on other pages on this website, but they are no longer
» NEED A SPEAKER?
Citizens’ Assembly Alumni, a large group of ex-members
of the Assembly, can provide guest speakers in every region of the
province. You can request a speaker by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The alumni also have a website explaining the BC-STV voting
Want more information from the
alumni? E-mail: email@example.com
There will be no further updates to this website, now that the
Assembly has issued its Final Report and has disbanded.
The site, however, will remain online at least through 17 May
2005, the date of the public referendum on the Assembly's
» WRAP-UP VIDEO
We have an 11-minute
mini-documentary video online that wraps up the Assembly and its
work. It's on our Audio-Video
, at the very bottom of the page, and is called Making
Every Vote Count
. You can view it by streaming (Windows Media
Player) or download it for playing later. (wmv, 512K, 11
» IN THE NEWS
What did the media
say about the Assembly and its recommendation?
Check out our News
menu. You'll find
stories that include:
Rafe Mair saying the Assembly was "the best political exercise
I've seen." Read it
And Gordon Gibson telling Vancouver Sun
politicians don't like STV. Read it
» WEBSITE TRAFFIC
was launched on 23 November 2003. From then through 20
December 2004, we had a daily average of 317 individual
visitors, and they checked out more than 1.6 million pages.
We had visitors from 151 countries. Canada was #1,
followed by the U.S., the U.K., France, Taiwan, Slovakia, Korea,
Germany, Australia and New Zealand. [More web statistics]
» DELIBERATION PHASE
The Assembly wound up its
fall "Deliberation Phase" on 28 November 2004. That
concluded six weekends of deliberation and decision-making. Here
are wrap-up pages of documents from the Assembly meetings of September 11-12
, November 13-14
» SUBMISSIONS FROM
received a total of 1,603 written public submissions en
route to its recommendation, and you can
read them all here
» CLASSROOM RESOURCES
encouraged to join in
and engage their students in an examination of
B.C.'s core democratic values. Use the Assembly's Educational
to explore electoral reform in your classroom.