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Editorial, Langley Times
1st December, 2004 : Vancouver (Internal)
Langley Times, 01 December 2004
Whatever happens in a referendum on a new voting system next May, the Citizens Assembly of B.C. has been a resounding success.
It has been a success for three quite different reasons.
First, Premier Gordon Campbell followed through on an election promise in setting it up - and did so by giving up part of his power, something that very few premiers have ever done. He gave up his power to either change the voting system, or keep the status quo, something he exercises through his majority in the House.
Instead, he left it up to randomly-selected citizens from all over B.C. to recommend a new system, without any pressure from government. The Assembly, in turn, has now left it up to voters to make the choice between its recommended Single Transferable Vote or the status quo.
Second, the citizens who were chosen did a terrific job in examining alternatives and listening carefully to a raft of public submissions. They proved that a group of citizens can do a better job than elected politicians when it comes to considering how a vote can really count. Votes are fundamental to our democratic system, and the best way to increase voter turnout is to make each vote meaningful.
Third, chair Jack Blaney did a masterful job in keeping the process moving and working well. He was an inspired choice and was integral to the ultimate success of the Assembly.
Thanks are also due to the prominent citizens who have been lobbying hard for such an Assembly and necessary change, to ensure that votes are treated with more respect. These include several former MLAs, including Gordon Gibson, Rafe Mair and Nick Loenen, all of whom have invested a great deal of time and energy to press for this change.
Now it's up to voters next May. May we all make wise choices.
[This editorial also appeared in the Burnaby News Leader, New Westminster News Leader, Abbotsford News and Mission City Record.]
[© Copyright 2004 Langley Times . Reproduced here by permission of the Langley Times.]