Is­lan­ders get to choose

Bi­par­ti­san leg­isla­tive com­mit­tee to en­gage Is­lan­ders on elec­toral re­form be­fore a plebiscite is held in 2016

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STEWART THE GUARDIAN

Is­lan­ders will be head­ing to the polls next year to de­cide whether to change the way they elect MLAs.

Premier Wade MacLauch­lan tabled the White Pa­per on Demo­cratic Re­newal in the P.E.I. leg­is­la­ture on Thurs­day.

Es­sen­tially, a white pa­per is a doc­u­ment cre­ated that ini­ti­ates public dis­cus­sion on a given is­sue.

The process right now sees Is­lan­ders vote for a sin­gle can­di­date in their dis­trict in what is known as the first-past-the-post sys­tem.

Who­ever re­ceives the most votes rep­re­sents the dis­trict in the leg­is­la­ture.

MLAs voted unan­i­mously Thurs­day to be­gin a process that will en­gage Is­lan­ders, ask­ing whether they want to change that sys­tem.

A bi­par­ti­san com­mit­tee made up of MLAs from all three par­ties in the leg­is­la­ture will han­dle the task. It will con­sult Is­lan­ders, present an in­terim re­port by Nov. 30 that will clar­ify the ques­tion to be posed in a plebiscite and then con­sult with Is­lan­ders again on a fi­nal re­port. Is­lan­ders will then vote in the spring of 2016.

MacLauch­lan said he heard calls dur­ing the re­cent elec­tion cam­paign for chang­ing the process.

Read the latest blog post from The Guardian’s Teresa Wright about a vote on elec­toral re­form next year.


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