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

Nanaimo byelection candidates get their first chance to debate

NDP, B.C. Liberals, Greens participated in Forum for Millennial Leadership debate Monday

Sinking sailboat kept afloat near Nanaimo

Ferry and marine search and rescue vessels assist near Five Finger Island

Nanaimo RCMP seek suspect after armed robbery of gas station

Alleged incident occurred Sunday night at Uplands Drive and Turner Road

Nanaimo man dies in rollover crash in Brechin Hill area

Medical emergency suspected in incident Saturday on Poplar Street

Tonight’s Nanaimo byelection debate intended to inform ‘young professionals’

B.C. Liberals, NDP and Green candidates to participate in Forum for Millennial Leadership debate

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

Factors for increase in eagle cases can be anything from lead poisoning to vehicle strikes

Most Read