Promises of throne speeches past are coming back to haunt the Campbell administration. In 2005, the Liberals reaffirmed their commitment to "lead the way in Canada on electoral reform." As part of that commitment, the government said there would be an "extensive effort to better inform British Columbians" about the present first-past-the-post system and its proposed replacement - the single-transferable vote. And that effort will include "equal funding" for those who favour change and those who don't. But the government hasn't given any further details on how it's going to keep said promises.
In an interview with Public Eye, Fair Voting British Columbia president Bruce Hallsor - who supports change - said, "If a subsidy is going to be given, we need to know what the rules are going to be, what the playing field is going to be and who's going to get it. These are details that no political party would do any campaign planning without knowing. And yet here we are, two years away from a referendum (on electoral reform) and we have no idea what the rules are going to be for fundraising, for funding, for anything."
Continued Mr. Hallsor, "The government's recent throne speech doesn't even mention electoral reform or anything about the referendum. Nobody in the government seems to have given any thought to it. Nobody seems to know what the plan is. And that does a disservice to the Campbell government's leadership on this issue. There's not going to be an informed public debate and there's not going to be effective use of taxpayer dollars unless the yes side and the no side understand what the rules are for the next referendum and have them laid out clearly in advance."