A helpful clarification on the referendum requirement from Bill Holmes:

 

In (a Kickstart) post, you stated that “according to the law” there would have to be a referendum to approve mobility pricing unless the province decides otherwise.

You might be interested to learn that there is no law in force requiring a referendum. It is purely a political decision whether to hold a referendum/plebiscite.

You are probably thinking of the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Funding Referenda Act, which was enacted by the BC Legislature in 2014. The referenda provisions in that Act have not been brought into force. They require a regulation to cause them to have effect. To date, there has not been a regulation bringing the provisions into force.

Even if the referenda provisions were in force, they would not require that referenda be held. (I say referenda because, if that Act applied, it would require each municipality to conduct a referendum within its boundaries, and Metro Vancouver to conduct a referendum in Electoral Area A.) The provisions would just permit cabinet, by regulation, to “order that referenda respecting funding for the regional transportation system be conducted”.

Section 34.1 of the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act, which is in force, is relevant when a new regional funding source is proposed. Here’s what it says:

Proposed additional funding sources

34.1  (1) In this section, “additional funding sources”means

(a) a source of revenue for, or funding of, the authority, other than a source of revenue or funding that is available to the authority under this Act,

(b) an increase of the limits on or rates of a source of revenue for, or funding of, the authority under this Act,

(c) the modification of assessment mechanisms that apply under this Act to a source of revenue for, or funding of, the authority, or

(d) amendment to an enactment to enforce a source of revenue for the authority.

(2) The mayors’ council on regional transportation may present a proposal to the minister that demonstrates the need of the authority for additional funding sources.

(3) The mayors’ council on regional transportation must demonstrate to the minister’s satisfaction that a majority of the electors in the transportation service region supports the proposal referred to in subsection (2).

(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may repeal this section by regulation.

This section is a bit of a mystery. It requires the Mayors’ Council to demonstrate to the minister that a majority of electors support a proposal for an additional funding source. As far as I know, the term “electors” has not been defined for the purpose of this section, but if it were to be given the same meaning as in other legislation, it would mean everyone who is eligible to vote. I don’t know how the Mayors’ Council could demonstrate that more than 50% of those eligible to vote support an additional funding source.

That’s probably more than you ever cared to know about the legal requirements!

 

Bill Holmes

Alternate Director,

Electoral Area A, Metro Vancouver