CBC Premier John Horgan and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson debate in Vancouver Wednesday.

Value of leaders’ proportional representation debate questioned in Kelowna

Both sides feel debate between B.C. premier and Liberal leader added little to the discussion

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick and former Kelowna-West Green Party candidate Rob Mellalieu disagree on the issue of proportional representation, but they agree that voters got little out of a televised leaders’ debate on the issue Thursday night.

In the 30-minute debate, Premier John Horgan and B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson squared off over the issue of replacing the current first past the post voting system with a form of proportional representation.

But the debate turned into more sound and fury than information for voters, with both men repeatedly talking over each other and not answering questions posed to them about their respective positions.

RELATED: John Horgan, Andrew Wilkinson square off on B.C. voting referendum

“I’m disappointed,” said Mellalieu, who like Horgan, supports moving to a form of proportional representation to elect B.C. MLAs.

“(The debate) could have been so much more. Instead it was the fight for the sound bite.”

Letnick, who like Wilkinson supports keeping the first past the post system, agreed the debate added little to the public discourse.

“I don’t know how much the public got out of that,” he said after watching the debate.

He pointed to Wilkinson’s repeated questions to Horgan about how many MLAs there would be under proportional representation and how big provincial ridings would be and Horgan’s refusal to answer.

He said he supports Wilkinson’s call for a citizen’s assembly to be created to figure out the best way to elect MLAs going forward, rather that the government-imposed referendum that is now underway.

He said he feels the public, not politicians should determine what sort of change is needed, if any.

RELATED: The case against switching to PR

RELATED: The case for switching to PR

Mellalieu said he was surprised Horgan would not answer the question about how many MLAs there would be given that the government has already said there would be no more than 95 under proportional representation.

But he said his belief that it’s time to change to proportional representation has not changed because it would make every vote count and would better reflect the wishes of voters.

Three forms of proportional representation are included in the referendum and all, call for multiple MLAs in larger ridings with at least one MLA voted in using the first past the post system and the others appointed in order to reflect the percentage of the total provincial vote a political party receives in the election.

Opponents of proportional representation say the power of the voter to select their political representative would be transferred to political parties under any one of the three proposed new systems, while proponents say it would make every vote count, would be more reflective of what the entire voting public’s wishes and would be more fair.

Voters have until Nov. 30 to return their referendum ballots by mail. So far, only 2.5 per cent of ballots have been returned.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Day one of Hometown Hockey in West Kelowna

Special guests, music, games, and free pizza! Hometown Hockey countinues on Sunday.

Women’s March draws small crowd in Kelowna

The small, but passionate, group marched along Water Street Saturday

Surrey man fined $10,000 by Kelowna’s Provincial Court

The man was convicted for three Wildlife Act offences after shooting a bull moose not in season

UBCO Heat men’s and women’s basketball squads bounce over MacEwan

The women got their first win of the season, while the men keep their playoff hopes alive

West Kelowna Warriors fall short to Vernon

The Warriors lost 1-0 in the hard fought battle

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read