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Official Proponent - NO to the Single Transferable Vote -
May 2009 Referendum

NEWS RELEASE Sunday January 11, 2009

NO BC-STV Campaign Society chosen by province as official NO proponent on Single Transferable Vote in May 2009 referendum; group successfully fought STV in 2005 vote as "KNOW STV"

VANCOUVER - The group that successfully opposed the Single Transferable Vote or STV electoral system in the 2005 referendum has been chosen by the province as the official NO proponent for a second vote in the May 12, 2009 referendum.

The decision means that the NO BC-STV Campaign Society - or NO STV in short - will receive $500,000 in provincial funding to run a campaign opposing the Single Transferable Vote, says NO STV president Bill Tieleman.

"We are very pleased with the decision of the Attorney-General's Ministry to give our organization the responsibility for running a vigorous educational campaign to defeat the STV electoral system proposal, which we believe would be disastrous for British Columbia," said Tieleman, a communications consultant and newspaper columnist.

"STV is a confusing and complicated electoral system that would take away accountable local elected representatives and replace them with regional MLAs in ridings with as many as seven members," Tieleman said. "STV also gives unequal weight to votes in different ridings, fails to deliver true proportional representation, especially for rural voters and would make it harder for independent and third parties to elect MLAs."

Tieleman said that "KNOW STV", the group that successfully fought STV in the 2005 referendum, has been renamed the NO BC-STV Campaign Society, a registered non-profit group.

NO STV Secretary-Treasurer David Schreck said the problems with the Single Transferable Vote explain why it is such a rare and obscure electoral system.

"STV is only used as a national government voting system in two small, island countries - Malta and Ireland," said Schreck, a former NDP MLA. "STV has been around since the 1920s in both those countries but no other country has adopted it in over 80 years - why would British Columbians want such a bizarre electoral system with so many problems?"

NO STV's other directors include former Social Credit cabinet minister Bruce Strachan, former BC Citizens Assembly representative Rick Dignard and former Green Party Vancouver school trustee Andrea Reimer, now a Vision Vancouver city councilor, Schreck said. Other active members include former provincial deputy minister Bob Plecas, former NDP cabinet minister Anne Edwards, former Citizens Assembly member Jyoti Gill, Trinity Western University political science professor John Redekop and business owner Paul Gill.

Tieleman said NO STV is completely non-partisan in its approach, noting that in the 2005 provincial referendum it brought together BC Liberal Party, New Democratic Party and Green Party supporters to oppose STV, and its position was endorsed by former Social Credit premier Bill Bennett and former NDP premier Dave Barrett, who both warned of the dangers of STV before the vote.

The Single Transferable Vote was proposed as an electoral system by the BC Citizens Assembly in late 2004. The referendum rules, which remain the same for the 2009 vote, require a 60% majority of all valid votes in the referendum to be in favour, plus the referendum also requires that 60% of all constituencies in BC vote in favour of STV by a simple majority.

In May 2005 STV received 57.7% of the votes cast, failing to reach the required 60%. The BC Liberal government subsequently decided to hold a second referendum.




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