British Columbia’s public engagement, to help shape the referendum on how B.C. votes, wrapped up Feb. 28, with more input collected than in any public engagement in the province’s history.
Over the course of three months, the public engagement website received more than 180,000 site visits, with over 88,000 questionnaires completed. Visitors spent time on the site learning about the referendum and voting systems used in B.C. and elsewhere in the world, in addition to spending an average of about 16 minutes completing the questionnaire.
“How we choose our legislative representatives is a fundamental part of our democracy and the strong response to this public engagement underlines the importance of this process to British Columbians,” said Attorney General David Eby, in a news release. “This input will help shape the referendum process and, ultimately, the decision about the future of our democracy will be made by the people of B.C. in a province-wide referendum.”
British Columbians completed the online questionnaire, offering input on topics such as how the 2018 referendum ballot should be designed, the question(s) it should contain and whether organizations should receive public funding to campaign for their preferred voting system. In addition to the website, the engagement received hundreds of written submissions from people, as well as submissions from more than 30 organizations.
Input gathered will inform a report by the Attorney General, with recommendations for the referendum. The final piece of the engagement process includes work being done by an Indigenous liaison, which should be completed in the coming weeks. The report will be posted on the public engagement website later this spring and presented to cabinet for decision.
Details will then be announced, including the referendum date, campaign period, campaign rules and ballot question(s).