BC’s other election: STV

Back in the 2005 BC election, a proportional representation system, known as Single Transferable Vote, or STV, was put to the people. It was recommended as an alternative to the current First-Past-the-Post system that has delivered some unusual and uneven results in BC and other parts of Canada over the years. STV captured a majority of votes – a larger share of the popular vote than the Liberals won in their 2001 landslide – but not the 60% threshold required for victory. It was a narrow-enough margin that the BC government decided to put it back to the people one more time.

The CCPA-BC’s pre-election edition of BC Commentary takes a closer look at that other vote on May 12, the referendum on STV. With an economic crisis on our hands, and controversies about the carbon tax, few people are talking about STV in the lead-up to the vote. That is a shame, because whether for or against STV, the referendum provides an opportunity to take a step back and look at what we like, and do not like, about our electoral system.

In the spirit of democracy, our special edition breaks from our usual publishing pattern, and includes a number of articles written by CCPA members who have taken an interest in the issue of democratic reform, including one who served on the 2004 Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform that recommended STV. We have also included a simple primer on the STV process, and since CCPA has no organizational position on STV we have both the yes and no sides represented.


  • Given that STV is clearly superior to our outdated system that was never intended to be used in a system with more than two parties, why doesn’t the CCPA have an opinion?

    Is it just policy not to have an opinion or are you actually divided in your views?

    At any rate, more attention on the referendum and information provided is always a good thing. My experience is that the more people know about the issue, the more likely they are to see how the old system can be significantly improved.

  • Personally, I am in favour of STV, if only because we should give it a chance given the horrible performance of the current system. But CCPA only takes organizational positions when there is consensus among our board, and that is not the case with STV.

  • George McCutcheon

    We missed the boat in 2005 by 2% (60%0 required) and 22% in 2009. Shame on “us”. The negative advertising on “TV” and the lack of party politics encouragement ensured the results. Same on”us”, the unthinking voter public. Now it will take an act of God to get the chance again as you can be assured Glenn Campbell will not allow it to happen. And not likley any other politician or party.

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