The votes have been counted and British Columbia will not adopt a proportional representation system for our provincial government.
Yes, the result is in. In Cowichan the announcement was muted by the windstorm and the power outages that resulted from it.
We wrote previously about how the referendum was set up to get a “no” vote. Dividing the “yes” vote into three different options that there was little time to get people to understand spelled doom from the start. You really couldn’t blame people for sticking with what they know.
It was no surprise that areas that traditionally have skewed towards supporting the provincial Liberal Party most strongly rejected PR. The Liberals were closely aligned with the “no” side, and first past the post has tremendously benefited them in the last several decades as they formed majority governments.
All in all, the turnout was better than we expected, with 42.6 per cent of voters mailing in their ballots. Given that sometimes turnout for provincial elections isn’t too much higher than this, especially in some areas, it’s more than we hoped, though it’s still a sad number.
Think about it. Less than half of British Columbia voters could be bothered to have an opinion on how our province should be run.
The result wasn’t a landslide, but don’t expect to see the question of changing to a proportional representation system floated again any time soon. That’s why it was such a shame that the question was posed in the way it was. Previous referenda posed a much simpler question, with a specific PR system on the table. One of those votes achieved over the 50 per cent mark that was the threshold here.
This time around just over 61 per cent of voters said “no”, many of them on the rural Mainland, where the “no” side hit the 70 to 80 per cent range.
So there you have it. The status quo remains. Ultimately, it remains up to the voters to fill our provincial legislature. Let’s get those voter numbers up.