Attorney General David Eby announces public consultation on next year’s voting system referendum, including a website questionnaire that critics say is slanted in favour of proportional representation, B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2017. (Black Press)

B.C. group files for injunction to suspend voting referendum

Contractors to appear in early August to press constitutional case

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association has taken the next step in its effort to challenge the B.C. government’s plan for a fall referendum on changing the province’s voting system.

The ICBA has filed an injunction application to be heard in B.C. Supreme Court Aug. 7, after lawyers for Attorney General David Eby asked for more time to prepare its defence of the plan for a mail-in vote that begins in October.

“Given that the NDP government needs more time to defend its own law and regulations, we think the only fair and reasonable course is for the referendum to be postponed,” said Chris Gardner, president of the ICBA.

Eby’s chosen options have been a target of criticism, partly because two of the three have never been used before. The referendum will also have no regional weighting or minimum turnout, which means urban voters will have a major advantage over sparsely populated rural regions that may be most affected by the change.

RELATED: Four options offered for voting referendum

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson denounced the referendum plan as “rigged” to favour the NDP and B.C. Greens, calling the options “alphabet soup” designed to baffle the public.

Horgan and Green leader Andrew Weaver have vowed that both parties will campaign for the yes side, while the B.C. Liberals are opposing the change.

Elections B.C. has selected official yes and no committees. Vote PR BC says proportional representation is a more democratic system because parties with a low percentage of votes wouldn’t get all the power while the No BC Proportional Representation Society maintains that system is complicated and confusing.

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