The 2018 BC Referendum on Electoral Reform: The Challenge of Citizen Consultations

Maxwell A. Cameron
Megan Dias
Chuka Ejeckam

Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver BC Canada V6T 1Z1
Max.Cameron@ubc.ca

April 2019

Published as: Cameron, Maxwell A., Megan Dias and Chuka Ejeckam. “The 2018 BC Referendum on Electoral Reform: The Challenge of Citizen Consultations,” Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law, Vol. XIII, Special Issue on Election 2019.

Authors’ Note. Chuka Ejeckam and Megan Dias are the authors of a report on electoral reform written for the Broadbent Institute. Dias also worked with the Tyee to create an explainer video, while Ejeckam participated in a debate held by Simon Fraser University on electoral reform. Cameron was invited by the Attorney General of BC to offer advice on the public consultation process. He also submitted an expert report on proportional representation to the Ministry of the Attorney General. The views expressed in this paper are exclusively those of the authors.

 

Introduction 

Electoral reform events are rare (Nohlen 1984; Katz 2005: 58; Shugart 2008: 8), and case studies of rare phenomena are important (Gerring 2011: 1154). This study of a public consultation to change a voting system—the 2018 BC referendum on electoral reform—offers a glimpse into why electoral reform is difficult to achieve, and it provides insight into how reform efforts might be better designed. Although the status-quo prevailed, and the voting system was not changed, the process was worth documenting and analyzing. Our study highlights the importance of well-constructed measures of citizen consultation and engagement, the absence of which, in this case, weakened the effort to reform the electoral system.

There are three paradoxes of electoral reform. In the first place, as all political reformers know, those who hold power are typically unwilling to change the system through which they gained access to public office. That is why demands for reform often come from political outsiders who have not yet achieved power. Moreover, the will to reform is often diminished by success in attaining power. This paradox applies to the reform of electoral systems. Successful political parties have few incentives to change the electoral rules under which they came to power (Shugart 2008: 46, 54). Parties may advocate for reform when they are in opposition, and abandon reform once in power. For example, the federal Liberal Party came to power on a promise to make 2015 the last election under First Past the Post (FPTP, see glossary), a promise that was abandoned when it was elected with a majority government.

There is, however, a circumstance that might seem, at least intuitively, to favor electoral reform. Minority parliaments (see glossary) may be more likely to initiate electoral reform, especially when the balance of power is held by a smaller, under-represented party that has an unequivocal interest in a more proportional electoral system. This second paradox, however, is that the time horizons of minority governments may be short, while electoral reform often takes a number of electoral cycles to complete. Moreover, politicians may underestimate the complexity of changing electoral systems. In particular, they may fail to anticipate the need to build a broad, cross-partisan mandate for reform. So, while minority parliaments may initiate reform, they may not be able to bring the reform process to a successful conclusion.

A final paradox concerns partisanship. Some of the most important goals of electoral reform—for example, making the electoral results more proportional, encouraging more cooperation in the legislature, and so forth—are not fundamentally about specific parties or partisanship; indeed, one of the goals of electoral reform may even be to reduce partisanship. However, many of the changes that electoral reform is likely to bring have partisan implications, and those who have the power to change the electoral system are inevitably going to see the issue through partisan lenses. It is entirely to be expected that politicians will decide whether and how to change the electoral rules depending on expectations about whether they will be able to win elections under a new voting system.

Electoral systems are not necessarily a formal part of the constitutional structure of a democracy, but since they involve the rules by which we select those who rule it has become a norm in Canada that they must command broad and cross-partisan support. Changing the electoral system for partisan advantage is rightly seen as inappropriate. There is, therefore, a delicate balance to be found between partisanship and reform. If voters see reform as inappropriately motivated by partisanship, or as exacerbating excessive partisanship, they are less likely to support it. As we shall see, evidence from BC suggests that the process of electoral reform should, as much as possible, be arms-length from partisan politicians. Yet, partisanship is inevitably a driver for electoral reform.

How can these paradoxes of reform be overcome? A key lesson from the 2018 BC referendum is the importance of public consultations and their design. Around the world, a wide range of mechanisms and innovations have been devised to consult citizens, including citizens’ assemblies, deliberative polls, citizens juries. The use of such deliberative and participatory innovations might have taken key decisions out of the hands of politicians, and thereby addressed concerns about partisan manipulation of the process. However, to be successful, deliberative and participatory processes require a major investment of time and resources. Ideally, parties advocating reform should commit to these strategies during election campaigns—rather than advocating a particular outcome (whether a referendum or even a promise of change like “making 2015 the last election under First Past the Post” [Barton, Do 2015])—and pursue them over multiple electoral cycles.

We review the BC referendum on electoral reform and argue that the consultative process was flawed, but not for the reasons that were often suggested by journalists and pundits. Ironically, the BC referendum was criticized both because it ostensibly stacked the deck in favor or electoral reform and because it stacked the deck against electoral reform. In contrast, we argue that the process was flawed in its inability to engage citizens, provide space for public engagement, and deflect the objection that reform was motivated merely by partisan gain. Ironically, BC’s electoral system may have contributed to the flaws in the process. Although this article does not analyze the merits or demerits of alternative electoral systems, there is evidence that proportional representation contributes to less adversarial and more consensus-oriented politics (see, for example, Lijphart 1999: 275; Powell 2000). The politics of the electoral reform process reflected the polarization and winner-take-all tendencies typical of majoritarian systems.

The paper is organized into three substantive sections. The first section analyzes how the reform agenda was set, how the consultation process was designed, and how the ballot was constructed. The second section analyzes the referendum process. The third section analyzes the outcome. The paper concludes with lessons for future electoral reform initiatives, and, indeed, any initiative that aims to consult and engage citizens around a major public policy issue. We hope the analysis may be of interest and value to the movements, parties, and governments that seek to improve parliamentary government in Canada.

I. The Consultation Process
British Columbia held two referendums on electoral reform before 2018. After a 1996 election which saw the BC NDP form government despite winning fewer votes than the Liberals, and having won a greatly exaggerated majority in 2001, taking 77 out of 79 seats despite receiving only 58 percent of the vote, the Liberal party proceeded to deliver on the promise of a Citizens’ Assembly made during the election campaign (Carty, Blais, Fournier 2008: 141). The Assembly chose the Single Transferable Vote system (see glossary), and the proposal was put to a vote in a referendum in May 2005. Although Single Transferable Vote was favored by an absolute majority (58 percent, and a majority in 77 of 79 ridings), it fell short of the 60 percent threshold set by the Liberal government. A subsequent referendum did not change the outcome: 61 percent of the electorate opted to keep FPTP in May 2009.

In 2017, the NDP, led by John Horgan, ran on the promising of changing BC’s voting system to a proportional system. So did the BC Green Party, under the leadership of Andrew Weaver. Indeed, the Greens were open to introducing proportional representation through legislation without a referendum. The result of the election not only gave a barest of majorities to parties that favored electoral reform, it also reinforced some of the reasons motivating reform. When the final ballots were counted, the result was 43 seats for Liberals, 41 for the NDP, and 3 for the Greens (Shaw 2017). The Greens won only 3 of 87 seats despite winning almost 17 percent of the popular vote. The result placed the Greens in a position of king-maker regarding forming government, and strongly motivated to change the electoral system.

Since no party commanded an absolute majority in the legislature, talks were held between the Greens and both the Liberals and NDP (see Shaw and Zussman 2018). Weaver put PR on the table, but did not see it as a deal-breaker (Hoekstra 2018). Despite pessimism about whether a stable minority or coalition government could be formed (Laanela 2017), a supply and confidence arrangement (see glossary) was ultimately reached between the NDP and the Greens (“B.C.’s NDP” 2017; “BC NDP and Greens” 2017). As part of the deal, the two parties agreed to hold a referendum on proportional representation in 2018, which created an extremely quick timeline. After Premier Christy Clark resigned in early August 2017, the NDP quickly formed government and, in its throne speech, promised to set the terms for a referendum to take place no later than November of 2018.

Newly appointed Attorney General David Eby was recused from cabinet deliberations in order to serve as neutral arbiter in the process. He set out to launch a process of consultation via a government website, engage.gov.bc.ca/HowWeVote (Palmer 2017). In addition to the online questionnaire, which was open to the public at large, the polling firm Ipsos was commissioned for study of public opinion that would be statistically representative. A team of civil servants in the Ministry of the Office of the Attorney General was charged with coordinating the process. The initial options presented during the survey and public consultation included systems widely used throughout Europe and around the world.

Policy experts pushed back: why not consider newer and more innovative made-in-Canada approaches? A submission to the government by an ad hoc group of electoral system experts, the “BC Symposium on Proportional Representation,” recommended, inter alia: Dual Member Proportional (DMP), Rural Urban Proportional (RUP), and Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) as well as a number of other systems. DMP is an innovative system that would have created binomial ridings in which the primary candidate for each party would be chosen by plurality and the secondary by proportional representation. MMP was a well-known system, pioneered by Germany and adopted by New Zealand in the 1990s. Rural Urban Proportional (RUP) was a combination of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) in the rural areas, and Single Transferable Vote (STV) in the cities (BC Symposium on Proportional Representation 2018).

The Attorney General sided with the experts. Eby ignored the recommendation of his own caucus and the BC Greens–who made a joint submission recommending a mandate-only question (that is, no specific PR system would be on the ballot). The government did not, however, consider the experts’ warnings that meaningful public engagement takes time and must be carefully designed (Thomas 2018), and that rushing into a referendum would prove hazardous for this government. Instead, the government pushed ahead, and on May 30 details of the referendum were released by the Office of the Attorney General (“B.C. government” 2018).
A controversial decision by the Attorney General was the use of a two-part ballot structure. The first question would establish public support for the principle of proportionality. The second would ask which PR system voters prefer. Voters were given the opportunity to rank their preferences of the three PR systems offered; Dual-Member Proportional, Mixed-Member Proportional, and Rural-Urban Proportional. Voters were permitted to rank these options regardless of their answer to the first question. As well, voters could rank one, two, or all three of the choices as they saw fit. The outcome of the second question was to be determined by plurality. Per the referendum’s design, the outcome of the second question would only take effect if changing to PR received majority support on the first question.

There were good reasons for this approach. First, a majority (58 percent) of those who responded to the survey said voters should be able to rank order their support for alternative systems. Second, it is pointless to rank alternatives unless there is agreement on the principle of proportionality. And there is no mandate for change unless that principle is explicitly established. There is an implicit hierarchy in the decision voters faced. At the highest level, they were asked whether they wanted PR. The second-order question was which PR system would be best. Third, polling suggests that FPTP is likely to be the plurality winner among electoral systems—it is, after all, the devil voters know. PR supporters often fail to converge on a single alternative, yet prefer any PR system to the status quo. The best way to test this claim directly was to ask the question directly. Fourth, voters who favor the current systems, but want a say over which PR alternatives is picked if there is a change, can express both preferences. Similarly, voters can choose PR without taking a position on the type of system.

A similar ballot was used in New Zealand in a referendum on electoral reform in 1992. The first part of the ballot asked voters if they wanted to retain FPTP or change the system, and the second part gave voters a choice between four different system. However, New Zealand held a second referendum in 1993 in which voters were given a choice between FPTP and MMP, which was the system that was preferred by the largest number of voters on the second part of the ballot in the 1992 referendum. MMP was introduced in 1996, and reaffirmed in a referendum in 2011.

The BC NDP pursued a high-risk strategy by presenting voters with three unfamiliar alternatives and putting them to a vote without giving citizens a chance to familiarize themselves with each of the systems. The Office of the Attorney General had the benefit of hearing expert and public opinion, but citizens were not given meaningful opportunities to engage in a discussion of what should be on the ballot. Although the public was surveyed, and had the option of submitting proposals to the BC government, most voters found themselves thrust into a referendum with a low level of knowledge of why electoral reform was on the agenda, and little understanding of the options on the ballot and why they were chosen. Nevertheless, for better or worse–and far from stacking the deck–the process was an attempt to give voters a choice that reflected the best available thinking among electoral reform experts. Rather than an excessively politicized process, it was, if anything, an expert-driven process. But since it was not transparent, credence was given to the suggestion that the reform effort was primarily motivated by partisanship. Not surprisingly, voters quickly divided down partisan lines.

II. The Referendum Process
When, on May 30, the office of BC Attorney General released its report detailing the results of the consultation process, it also stipulated a set of conditions any future electoral system would need to meet, outlined the post-referendum process through which the new system would be implemented, and laid the groundwork for legislation to regulate the referendum process itself. There were three specific requirements of any proportional representation system to be implemented (Attorney General of BC, 2018: 7). These were: (1) that electoral reform could not produce an increase of more than eight Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the province, (2) that electoral reform could not reduce the number of MLAs serving any region of the province, and (3) that no party receiving less than 5 per cent of the popular vote would receive sets in the provincial legislature. The report also indicated that specific details of any new system would have to be determined after the vote by an all-party committee (Attorney General of BC, 2018: 7).

The referendum’s official voting period spanned from October 22 to November 30, during which period mail-ballots were distributed to voters to be returned to Elections BC. Ballots could also be submitted in-person at any Referendum Service Office, the locations of which were identified on the Elections BC website. The referendum’s official campaigning period began on July 1 and ran until the end of the voting period. On November 23, Elections BC announced the deadline for ballot return would be extended by one week, to December 7, citing ongoing Canada Post strikes as reason for the decision.

The province’s Chief Electoral Officer was empowered to provide non-partisan information to voters regarding the referendum (Attorney General of BC, 2018: 7). A website was created to inform voters of the three PR systems offered, and provide information regarding the referendum process itself. Two organizations were selected to act as the official proponents and opponents of electoral reform in the referendum. The group Vote PR BC was selected to support changing to a PR system, while the No BC Proportional Representation Society was selected as the official opponents. Both groups were granted $500,000 to conduct their campaigns between July 1 and December 7. The groups were also permitted to accept campaign contributions of up to $1,200 from Canadian citizens and permanent residents of British Columbia. Specific requirements were made of the groups’ operations, including providing their name and contact information in all advertising, spending no more than $700,000 total on the referendum campaign, and filing disclosure reports with Elections BC.

In addition to the several unofficial debates between opponents and proponents of electoral reform which occurred during the referendum campaign, at least two officially sanctioned debates took place. On October 22, representatives of the official ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ sides of the campaign met in a debate hosted by the Vancouver Sun. On November 8, CBC Vancouver hosted a 30-minute electoral reform debate between Premier John Horgan of the BC NDP and BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson. Horgan spoke in favour of adopting proportional representation, while Wilkinson spoke against.

After the voting period closed on December 7th, Elections BC took two weeks to review the ballots and tally the results. They released the results at a press conference on December 20th.

III. The Outcome
The status-quo prevailed, and by a wider margin than expected; 61.3 percent of those who voted supported FPTP, 38.7 percent voted for PR. Voter turnout was 41.2 percent, lower than either of the two previous referendums on electoral reform in BC–turnout was 61.48 percent in the 2005 referendum, and 55.12 percent in 2009. As for what PR systems British Columbians support, MMP was most favoured, with 63.05 percent of voters ranking it first, on the second round of counting. However, there were significantly fewer responses to the second question of the referendum question than to the first. Indeed, 1,391,423 ballots were received and considered by Elections BC. Of these ballots, 99.09 percent answered the first question, while only 59.78 percent answered the second question.

From the numbers released, it is not possible to tell whether those who voted for proportional representation in the first question were more likely to answer the second question as well, but this seems logical. Proportional representation only won over 50 percent of the votes in 16 of BC’s 87 ridings. Of these 16, 14 were located in the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island — 8 in the Lower Mainland, and 6 on Vancouver Island. Of the 8 in the Lower Mainland, 7 were in Vancouver proper. Of the 6 in Vancouver Island, only 1 was north of Victoria. Interestingly, these results are very similar to those of the 2009 referendum. On that occasion, support for PR was mainly concentrated in the Lower Mainland and the southern part of Vancouver Island.

Several exit polls, released after the results were made known, offered possible insights into why voters voted the way they did. An Angus Reid exit poll suggested that the voters’ partisan leanings were a significant predictor of how they voted. 70 percent of those who supported the NDP in 2017, and 74 percent of those who voted for the Green Party, voted for proportional representation, while only 16 percent of those who supported the BC Liberals did (Angus Reid, 2018). The same poll also suggested that 41 percent of voters had made up their mind before the campaign even began, perhaps already influenced by these partisan cues. This poll also found striking differences in age cohorts. 67 percent of those between the ages of 18-34, and 54 percent of those between the ages of 35-54, stated that they voted for PR. Only 35 percent of those above 55 said the same. Of those who voted for proportional representation, 78 percent said that the fact that their “vote will matter more in a PR system” was a major reason for their vote. 76 percent said that the current system creates unfair results. 65 percent said it will force politicians to compromise more. Interestingly, 47 percent acknowledged that the fact that the BC NDP and the BC Green supported PR influenced their vote. Of those who voted for FPTP; 68 percent said it was because it was the “best system available,” 65 percent said they did not want more minority or coalition governments, 63 percent said they saw no reason to change, 62 percent thought FPTP was easier to understand than the other proposed systems, and 58 percent said that they were greatly worried about the rise of fringe political parties under PR.

A Research Co. exit poll reported results similar to the outcome of the referendum. The poll, which was conducted online between 18-20 December 2018 among 803 respondents in British Columbia, revealed why such a large percentage of British Columbians decided not to vote in the referendum. According to the President of Research Co., Mario Canseco, “not feeling informed enough” was the number one reason eligible voters gave for not voting (Canseco, 2018). The same survey found that voters were wary of the process by which reform was undertaken. 41 percent of the respondents strongly agreed, and 35 percent moderately agreed with the statement: “Politicians are in a conflict of interest when it comes to making decisions about how we vote, so any future proposals should involve an independent, non-partisan citizens’ body.” Similarly, 21 percent strongly agreed, and 34 percent moderately agreed with the statement: “An independent, non-partisan process should be set up to reflect on the results of this referendum and recommend what British Columbia should do next.”

Finally, the survey asked the following question:
Suppose an arms-length review panel recommended that British Columbia hold another referendum on electoral reform at the time of the next election with guarantees addressing the major concerns that arose in the recent referendum. Now suppose that the ballot question were the following: “British Columbia is proposing to elect our MLAs by Proportional Representation. This means that the MLAs elected in each region would accurately reflect the diversity of political views in each region. The number of MLAs in each region of BC would stay the same and voters would vote for individual candidates, not for party lists. There would be a moderate threshold to encourage parties to have broad policy platforms.” “If voters endorse Proportional Representation, an independent citizens’ panel with representatives from around the province would deliberate on and recommend a final system that would be voted on in the legislature in a free vote. If accepted, there would be a confirmation referendum after we have used the new system at least twice.” How would you vote? Choose one.
In this scenario, 41 percent definitely or probably would vote for PR, while 36 percent definitely or probably would vote for FPTP. 18 percent were not sure. Imagining such a scenario caused voters who voted for FPTP in the 2018 referendum to change their mind, as well. Of these voters, 15 percent said they would support PR if it was recommended by an independent body of citizens, and another 15 percent said they would be undecided (Canseco 2018).

Whatever the reasons for the voters’ choices, the outcome was clear and unequivocal. All politicians accepted it, and expressed a willing to move on from the issue of electoral reform. John Horgan released a statement saying that, while he was disappointed, he respects the result. Finance Minister Carole James took this further. In a press conference, she stated that “electoral reform is finished.” Andrew Wilkinson argued that the result was a “clear message” that British Columbians do not want reform. In his statement, he also reiterated his belief that the process was “flawed” and that the NDP had “stacked the deck” in favour of reform (Eagland, 2018).
Several weeks after the results were made known, David Eby spoke out, defending the process and the ballot structure (Shaw, 2019). He stated that the first question gave citizens a clear option: do they want to keep the current system, or move to a proportional one? He defended the second ballot question by saying that advocates for reform, and British Columbians in general, could not agree on a single preferred system. Putting multiple systems on the ballot and allowing voters to rank them reflected this, and gave voters a meaningful choice. Eby ultimately said he would not change the process at all. While he did muse whether a Citizens’ Assembly would have affected the outcome, he said he personally believed the referendum result reflected the preferences of British Columbians (Shaw, 2019).

Conclusion
We began by observing that a party that has won under a given set of electoral rules may feel it has little to gain from changing those rules. In the case of BC’s electoral reform initiative, however, the NDP leadership appeared to have decided that the benefits of electoral reform, or at least the benefits of fulfilling an election promise, outweighed the potential costs of remaining with the status quo. The fact that the NDP and the Greens were able to work effectively together in a supply and confidence arrangement pointed to the potential upside of an electoral system that would make coalitions and minority governments more commonplace. The Greens in particular were motivated to change an electoral system that clearly disadvantaged them. However, the cooperation of the NDP and the Greens may also have created in the minds of some voters the impression that these two parties were seeking to change the electoral laws to transform a temporary partisan advantage into an institutionalized feature of the political system. This impression was reinforced by the rapid pace of reform which was also a reflection of the minority position of the NDP. This brings us back to our second paradox of reform: Minority governments may not have the time horizons necessary to carry through on such a difficult and challenging process.

In particular, minority governments may not have the patience to create arms-length, credible, and broad public consultation. The recusal of the Attorney General was insufficient to create a sense that there was a genuinely neutral arbiter overseeing the process. Experts played a role in shaping the process, but not a sufficiently visible public role such as might have given citizens confidence that the process was guided by the public interest. Without meaningful public deliberation and participation, reform foundered on partisan dynamics that are toxic to achieving public goods. In the 2005 referendum–the only referendum in which PR received majority support–the vote was preceded by a Citizens’ Assembly that gave voters explicit input in determining which systems to present for the public to vote on, and created effective electoral-reform ambassadors whom had received extensive education on electoral systems that they could share within their communities. As the Research Co. survey notes, voters’ sense of not being sufficiently informed was a significant motivator for both voting ‘No’ in the referendum, and not voting at all.

The ‘Yes’ campaign was unable to turn dissatisfaction with the FPTP voting system into support for change. A potential majority of British Columbians may well prefer a system that reduces the need for strategic voting and does not generate false majorities. But such sentiments were insufficient to overcome the reservations many voters had about changing the system. On balance, we believe that the 2018 referendum provides compelling evidence that the type and quality of public consultation matters. Voters’ survey responses, and evidence from past referendums suggest that voters are open to change, and that they value broad and rigorous public consultation, but unless the decision-making process is taken out of the hands of politicians, and voters are provided with the information they need to make an informed choice, the public remain skeptical of partisan manipulation.

 

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Glossary of Terms

Coalition: two or more parties, with enough seats between them to command the trust and confidence of the House, agree to form government and share cabinet or other appointments.
Dual Member Proportional (DMP): A PR system in which most districts would be amalgamated with a second district to create two-member districts. Parties would nominate pairs of candidates in each district, and each voter would cast one ballot. The first candidate would be elected on the basis of the plurality result, as in FPTP; the second would be allocated on the basis of the province-wide vote and the individual district results (Attorney General of BC 2018: 3).
First-Past-The-Post (FPTP): An electoral system based on constituency-level competitions among candidates from different parties. Each riding is carried by the candidate who wins a plurality of votes. Also called Single Member Plurality (SMP).
Mixed Member Proportional: A “hybrid form of PR combines single member districts elected by plurality with a compensatory party list that is utilized to ensure that the overall election results are proportional for the parties.” (Pilon 2007: 184).
Minority government: government is formed by a party that does not have a majority of seats in parliament.
Proportional Representation: A family of electoral systems based on the principle that the proportion of seats for each party in a legislature should roughly match its share of the popular vote (Pilon 2007: 185).
Rural-Urban Proportional Representation (RUPR): STV is used to fill seats in multimember districts in urban areas, while MMP is used in most rural areas. “In the MMP regions, a small number of List PR seat are filled proportionally on a regional basis.” (Attorney General of BC 2018: 4).
Single Member Plurality (SMP): See First-Past-The-Post (FPTP).
Single Transferable Vote: “A form of PR where voters mark their preferences (i.e. 1,2,3, and so on) over the range of candidates in a multi-member riding and candidates who obtain the quota are declared elected” (Pilon 2007: 185).
Supply and confidence: An arrangement in which parties agree to support each other in votes of confidence and on budgets to ensure the survival of a minority government.

 

Bios

Maxwell A. Cameron is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in which capacity he runs an annual Summer Institute for Future Legislators. His research focuses on comparative democratization (especially in Latin America), constitutions, and ethics in politics. His publications include Strong Constitutions (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Political Institutions and Practical Wisdom (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Megan Dias holds a Masters of Arts in Political Science from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Megan has written about electoral reform for several Canadian newspapers, and has given public lectures on reform in BC. She is currently working as a Program Coordinator with the Institute for Future Legislators at Ryerson.

Chuka Ejeckam is a Master’s student in the Political Science Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and has worked as a research assistant in UBC’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI), as well as with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). He has written for the Broadbent Institute on topics including drug policy and electoral reform, and served as a facilitator at CSDI’s annual Summer Institute for Future Legislators. His work focuses on political and economic inequality, drug policy, and labour.