Horgan urges Yes vote in B.C. electoral reform referendum
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks during a transit funding announcement in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday September 4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, September 14, 2018 4:46PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 14, 2018 9:00PM EDT
WHISTLER, B.C. -- Premier John Horgan says he will take an active roll on the vote Yes side in British Columbia's upcoming referendum to change the electoral system.
Horgan told municipal politicians at the annual Union of B.C. municipalities convention in Whistler Friday the current system of electing provincial governments must be amended and modernized to ensure political parties with 40 per cent of the vote no longer hold 100 per cent of the power.
A mail-in ballot referendum set to conclude Nov. 30 will give voters the opportunity to choose between three forms of proportional representation or support the current first-past-the-post system of electing governments.
"I'm going to campaign as hard as I can in the next month to convince other British Columbians to join with me and take a leap of faith on a change that works in jurisdictions around the world," said Horgan. "This is not something that's never been tried before. Do not be put in a place of fear."
The Opposition Liberals are opposed to the referendum's options for proportional representation, with Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson saying the NDP wants an electoral system where one-party majority governments become rare or extinct.
Horgan said proportional representation allows the voices of all voters to be heard.
"I believe the time is right," he said. "Proportional representation will allow us to ensure every vote matters. I believe we'll get better outcomes."
Two previous electoral reform referendums in British Columbia in 2005 and 2009 were not successful.
Horgan told delegates he also expects an economic decision on a proposed liquefied natural gas plant and export terminal that could bring billions of dollars in economic activity to the province's northwest.
"We are now very very close to realizing a final investment decision from LNG Canada that will transform Kitimat, most assuredly, but will provide certainty and sustainability for our gas sector from well head to waterline," he said.
The $40-billion Kitimat project is a joint venture of Shell Canada, Royal Dutch Shell, PetroChina, Korea Gas Corp., and Mitsubishi Corp. LNG Canada said it will be up to them to determine a date for the decision.
"LNG Canada is currently conducting site preparation and marine work that is seasonally dependent to ensure the project is in the best place possible should our joint venture participants take a final investment decision later in 2018," said Susannah Pierce, LNG Canada's external relations director, in a statement.
On Thursday, TransCanada Corp. said it had signed community and project agreements with all 20 of the elected Indigenous bands along its Coastal GasLink pipeline route in British Columbia.
The proposed 670-kilometre pipeline is to be used to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to LNG Canada's proposed Kitimat facility where it will be super-cooled and loaded on ships for transport to mainly Asian markets.
Horgan also appealed to all B.C. communities to send the government plans and ideas to combat floods and fires, which have resulted province declaring states of emergency for the past two years.
"I believe we need to do more," he said. "We need to make sure we don't just do another review. We need a call to action."
He hinted at a news conference following his speech that his government is considering a review of current policy for annual rent increases and may revisit an unfulfilled campaign promise of a renter's rebate.