Chamber hosts debate on proportional representation

Goal is to get more information about provincial referendum out to the public, chamber CEO says of Oct. 24 meeting in Coquitlam

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is staying neutral on whether B.C. needs electoral reform and hopes voters inform themselves on the choices in time for the upcoming referendum.

To that end, the business advocacy organization is hosting a panel discussion on the topic, with representatives from both sides to speak on whether the province should switch to proportional representation or stay with the current first past the post system.

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“We just want to have an open dialogue and perhaps a debate about which is better and what each side thinks so people can make their own minds up,” said Michael Hind, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

From Oct. 22 to Nov. 30 a referendum is being held to decide what voting systems should be used for provincial elections. Voters will be asked whether to move to proportional representation or stay with the existing system and then to rank three type of proportional systems.

Hind said the chamber’s policy committee reviewed the options and was unable to determine which, if any, would be best for business.
“We’re going to stay neutral on it for now,” Hind said.

However, he said the BC Chamber of Commerce did have a position early on in the discussion, advocating for a 60% threshold for support for change, not a 51% minimum, and more clearly defined questions.

The electoral reform panel discussion will feature representatives from both official sides and will provide information as well as an opportunity to answer questions.

It will be held Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 7-9 p.m. at Douglas College, Coquitlam, Building A Room A1470.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Hind said the event is open to the general public as well as chamber members.

“I think there’s a need out therefor more dialogue on it if we can provide information on both sides I think we are doing a good community service.”

Registration is required at https://business.tricitieschamber.com/events/details/electoral-reform-panel-discussion-9162
 

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