Letters to the Editor

Election dates are not fixed in B.C.


It is understandable why many residents in B.C. believe we have a law that fixes dates for provincial elections.

Most simply do not pay attention to the details of legislation but, rather, depend on the media for guidance.  It is less understandable, and disappointing, that some of the media, The Times included, continue to foster the suggestion we have a fixed election date law (The Times, opinion page, July 5).

A section of the law, to which the editorial Heightened interest refers, provides the lieutenant-governor with the authority to call a provincial election whenever he or she desires, as it has always been.

A following section, as introduced by former Premier Campbell’s government, schedules a date for an election should the lieutenant-governor, usually upon the advice of the premier, not choose to dissolve the provincial parliament at an earlier time.

Mr. Campbell’s amendment, to the constitution act, scheduled an election, with certain perimeters, but did not create a fixed election date law.

The media, and official opposition, were asleep at the time of those amendments, and did not challenge the suggestion, by the former premier, that we had fixed election dates.

By way of contrast, we have fixed election dates for municipal governments. These elections are held the third Saturday, in November, every three years.

We do not have fixed election dates in B.C., at the provincial level,  nor would such a practice be viable if we continue to embrace the concept of a government losing a non-confidence vote in the legislature, and the subsequent events, that could include the lieutenant-governor dissolving parliament and calling  a general election.

All B.C.  provincial  parliaments have been required, by law, not to continue beyond a period of time before dissolution and subsequent general election, but not a specific date.

Jim Nielsen

Walnut Grove


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