EDITORIAL: Debating the future of our voting system

The referendum on electoral reform has been among the most polarizing (and confusing) political issues in recent memory.

Ballots that have been mailed to households must be returned by Nov. 30 for the vote to count as British Columbians decide the future of how they elect their MLAs.

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The campaign has publicly funded sides arguing in favour and against changing our system from first past the post to one of three varieties of proportional representation.

The campaign has led to serious bitterness between the two sides, with allegations of lies dressed up as advertisements countered with claims the referendum process was created to benefit those behind it — the governing New Democrats and their lifeline to power, the Greens.

There is a wealth of information on the referendum for those wishing to learn more, from the Elections BC website to the information cards the agency mailed out to forums arguing for and against to KTW’s own website, which features a handy video that explains how each of the three forms of PR would work.

This Thursday offers another chance for some insight when Premier John Horgan and Opposition leader Andrew Wilkinson of the B.C. Liberals square off in a 7 p.m. debate to be televised on CBC and Global.

The problem with this referendum, as opposed to the comparatively straightforward STV referendums of 2005 and 2009, is that many people remain confused by the electoral system choices on the ballot.

Perhaps Thursday’s debate will bring some clarity to those voters.

Then again, Horgan versus Wilkinson may well echo the debates we witnessed during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with plenty of style, but a paucity of substance.

Tune in, pick up a pamphlet, contact those arguing for and against and try to make an informed decision.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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