B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson gathers his opposition caucus outside the B.C. legislature to call for a “prime time” debate with Premier John Horgan on electoral reform, Oct. 23, 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Time running out for TV debate on proportional representation

B.C. Liberal leader spars with Premier John Horgan over timing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson devoted most of his legislature time Tuesday to demanding that Premier John Horgan set a date for an evening TV debate on his government’s referendum on voting reform.

Throughout question period, in a brief rally with MLAs outside, and then debating the latest legislation to offer the option of a second referendum, Wilkinson hammered at Horgan to keep his Oct. 4 promise to debate.

Horgan replied that Wilkinson “can’t take yes for an answer,” and his staff have only to finalize a date.

“I’ve agreed to debate the member in November,” Horgan told the legislature. “We’re working with the networks to find a day.”

Wilkinson said later he has been offered evening airtime on Global TV, and only Horgan’s reluctance to set a date has held up the scheduling. In the legislature, he accused the NDP of “voter suppression” tactics, keeping interest in the vote low while public sector unions and other government allies work to win a low-turnout referendum.

Voting packages began being mailed out this week, with a deadline of the end of November to have them filled out and returned. The delays mean many people will have voted by the time a debate happens, and the choices and process are intentionally complicated, he said.

“People will look at this package and say, ‘I don’t even understand what this is about,’ and throw it out,” Wilkinson said.

Horgan was scheduled to join Finance Minister Carole James, B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and Green MLA Sonia Furstenau at a rally in downtown Victoria Tuesday evening.

B.C. Liberal MLA Sam Sullivan said he was surprised to find that a video he made to illustrate the manipulation that went into preparing the referendum could not be promoted with a $50 advertising fee on his Facebook page, because Elections B.C. rules for the referendum don’t permit him to spend money.

RELATED: Horgan agrees to debate, Sullivan releases video

Most importantly, the government has introduced a bill to have a second referendum,” Sullivan said. “The only reason why they introduced this in the middle of the campaign is to influence people to vote yes. This violates the spirit of the Referendum Act.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Comox Valley Monarch Lions help ‘SPOT’ possible student vision problems

When Helen Keller challenged Lions Clubs International in 1925 to become “Knights… Continue reading

Vancouver Island brewery re-brands again after cryptic new logo failed

Victoria-based brewers said goodbye to confusing hexagon logo

North Island College Foundation helps more students than ever in the Comox Valley

More than 170 North Island College students in the Comox Valley received… Continue reading

Courtenay mom warns of candy-luring incident near Willemar Road

A Courtenay mother is speaking out after a man was reported to… Continue reading

VIDEO: Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee dies

Marvel co-creator was well-known for making cameo appearances in superhero movies

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

VIDEO: Newcomer kids see first Canadian snowfall

Children arrived in Canada with their mother and two siblings last week from Eritrea

Feds dropped ball with WWI anniversary tributes: historians

Wrote one historian: ‘Other than the Vimy Ridge celebration … I think they have done a very bad job’

Sides ‘far apart’ in Canada Post talks despite mediation, says union

The lack of a breakthrough means rotating strikes will resume Tuesday

Feds’ appeal of solitary confinement decision in B.C. to be heard

Judge ruled in January that indefinite such confinement is unconstitutional, causes permanent harm

B.C. health care payroll tax approved, takes effect Jan. 1

Employers calculating cost, including property taxes increases

Nunavut urges new plan to deal with too many polar bears

Territory recommends a proposal that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking

Shelter struggles: Landlord takes over rental unit whenever visiting B.C. town

Renter’s story highlights how hard it is to find accommodation in Revelstoke

Most Read