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It was independent and non-partisan 

The Assembly was an independent, non-partisan assembly of 160 randomly selected British Columbians who looked at how votes cast in provincial elections translate into seats in the Legislature. This was their mandate.

They began on the weekend of January 10-11, 2004, to examine the province’s electoral system — that is, how our votes determine who gets elected to sit in the provincial legislature. And they looked at other electoral systems in use around the world.

They decided in the fall that B.C. should have a new system, a proportional system they called BC-STV.  Their proposal goes directly to the voters in a referendum with the provincial election of May 17, 2005. If a change is approved by voters, the current government will introduce legislation so the new system could go into effect for the election of 2009.

Here is the Assembly's final report and recommendation.

It was the first in the world

This initiative was unique. Nowhere else in the world had randomly selected citizens been so empowered to shape the electoral process.  The Assembly was unanimously endorsed by the parties in the legislature, and parties and community leaders outside it.

The Citizens’ Assembly had 160 members, 80 women and 80 men, from all of the province's 79 electoral electoral districts. Chair Jack Blaney was also a member.

Their year was divided into three phases:  Learning about electoral systems, January-March 2004; public hearings, May-June; and deliberation, September-November. Their final report and recommendation was delivered on 10 December 2004.

For more about the origins and history of the Assembly, click here.

 Photo: Assembly members in the Asia Pacific room of the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver. This is where Assembly members held their plenary sessions. These were open to the public. [Photo courtesy of The Vancouver Sun.]
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