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How members were selected

The process of selecting Assembly members got under way in August 2003, with a letter of invitation going to 15,800 British Columbians whose names were picked at random, by computer, from the B.C. Voters List.

The names (200 in each of the 79 provincial constituencies) were split evenly between men and women, and reflected the age distribution of individuals in the district. The aim was to produce a pool of names that was representative of people in B.C.

The computerized process of selecting the pools of 200 names was executed by Elections BC.

Letters of invitation were sent to these 15,800 people, with a fact sheet explaining the role and responsibilities of the Citizens’ Assembly and offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something unique. 

The names of those who expressed interest went into a pool for their constituency. From each of those 79 pools, up to 20 people were selected by random draw and were sent an invitation to one of the regional selection meetings. They also received information about the meetings.

There, the potential members sat through a presentation on the work of the Assembly, the expectations for members, their workload, their compensation, and the details of schedules and deadlines.

Then each potential member was publicly asked to declare if they were interested in joining the Assembly, and to confirm publicly that they were eligible.

The names of those who responded "Yes, and Yes" were sealed into envelopes, and went into a hat.  Then two people from each electoral district pool — one man and one woman — were selected by random draw for membership on the Citizens’ Assembly.

Five of the initial 158 members who had been selected later withdrew for personal reasons, and, sadly, one member died soon after being selected.  Substitutes were then randomly drawn from the remaining sealed envelopes from the original members' electoral districts.

On December 10, 2003, the provincial cabinet approved the selection of two additional members, both Aboriginal, from the random pool. Thus membership grew to 160.  In the fall of 2004, one member resigned (it was the only resignation), leaving the membership at 159 plus chair Jack Blaney.

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