FREE YOUR VOTE: A Citizen's Initiative to Reform our Electoral System

A Citizen's Initiative to Reform our Electoral System
Monday, November 26, 2001

Carr Launches Proportional Representation Initiative

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada - Adriane Carr filed her paperwork with Elections BC this morning and launched a major campaign to reform BC's electoral system. The 29-page draft legislation, the Proportional Representation Electoral Amendment Act, is the result of months of research by volunteers committed to seeing BC's electoral system modernized to allow voters to be better represented in the legislature.

"The timing for this initiative is perfect," said Carr. "There's disillusionment with our first-past-the-post system and growing interest across Canada in proportional representation. This citizen's initiative will bring together people interested in improving our democracy and give BC the chance to be the first province in Canada to put proportional representation to public referendum."

The Act establishes a mixed system of proportional representation and reduces the number of BC Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to 68 from the current 79. Of the 68 MLAs, 34 would be elected to represent constituencies, the boundaries of which would be redrawn to match federal riding boundaries. The other 34 MLAs would be allocated so that each party's share of the total 68 seats matches its share of the province-wide vote for that party. Voters will have two votes: one for the constituency candidate whom they feel would do the best job of representing their area, and one for the party whose values and platform they would like to see represented in government.

Carr announced her intention to pursue the initiative under BC's Recall and Initiative Act shortly after the Spring election which saw the BC Liberals gain 97 per cent of the seats in the house despite receiving only 58 per cent of the vote. Meanwhile the BC Green Party, which Carr leads, received over 12 per cent of the popular vote but no seats.

"It's time we changed to a fairer electoral process in BC, like so many other democracies around the world have done," said Carr. "People want their votes to count. They want to feel free to vote with their conscience. If we'd had this system in place for the spring 2001 election, we'd now have a legislature that truly represents voters' wishes, with healthy checks and balances that would be better for BC."

The Free Your Vote campaign will have the next three months to sign up 4,000 canvassers in time for the 90 day signature gathering period which will start in spring 2002.

For more information please contact:
Adriane Carr, Initiative Proponent, 1-604-740-1321

Summary and text of legislation (will be) at

What is the Free Your Vote Campaign?
The Free Your Vote campaign is a broad-based coalition of citizens coming together, using BC's Recall and Initiative Act to forward a petition for mixed proportional representation in BC. Starting in Spring 2002, volunteers around the province will be collecting the signatures of at least 10% of registered voters in every constituency. A successful petition could make BC the first province in Canada to bring proportional representation to a province-wide referendum.

phone: 1-866-PROREP-9
PO Box 130, Gibsons, BC V0N 1V0