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British Columbia's Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform

The Citizens' Assembly is an independent, non-partisan, diverse group of British Columbians with a unique and important job - reviewing BC's electoral system.  This process is unique in Canadian history.  Never have randomly selected citizens played such a vital role in shaping the democratic process.

 

The Citizens' Assembly comprises 160 British Columbians - 80 men and 80 women - plus the Chair, Dr. Jack Blaney.  These members were randomly chosen from the provincial voters list to:

  • ensure the member-selection process was as fair and unbiased as possible
  • create a Citizens' Assembly that is reasonably representative of British Columbians
  • reflect the gender, age and regional make-up of the province

 

The Citizens' Assembly was launched in May 2003 by the Government of British Columbia with the unanimous support of the BC Legislature.  It was created in response to a concern voiced by some British Columbians that our provincial electoral system needed a review. 

 

The Citizens' Assembly met from January to March 2004 to learn about electoral systems - the way democracies elect their political representatives.  They then listened to British Columbians in a series of 50 public hearings held throughout the province in May and June.  From September through November, the Assembly deliberated, considered the alternatives, and came to a decision on the best electoral system for British Columbia.

Learning

Public Hearings

Deliberation

Final Recommendation

Jan - Mar 2004

May - June 2004

Sept - Nov 2004

Dec 2004

Six weekends of meetings in Vancouver studying and examining electoral systems used in democracies around the world.

50 hearings throughout BC followed by a full Assembly meeting in Prince George to review and discuss what members heard from British Columbians.

A further six weekends of meetings in Vancouver considering submissions, discussing options and deciding on the best electoral system for British Columbia.

Citizens'' Assembly members submit a report of their recommendation on British Columbia's electoral system.

 

The electoral system Assembly members believe is best suited to BC's needs is Proportional Representation by Single Transferable Vote (often abbreviated PR-STV or STV).  The Assembly has branded its made-in-BC system BC-STV. 

 

The Citizens' Assembly will issue a full report on its recommendation of BC-STV to the people of British Columbia and to the Attorney General in December 2004.  The Citizens' Assembly report will describe the pros and cons of both our current system and the recommended system and explaining why the Assembly advocates BC-STV. 

 

Referendum

The Assembly's recommendation of BC-STV will be put directly to the voters of BC in a May 17, 2005 referendum.  The referendum question that voters will see when they cast their ballots in the May 2005 provincial election will be written by the Assembly.  If British Columbians choose to endorse the Assembly's recommendation, the new electoral system would come into effect for the 2009 election.

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