Premier John Horgan, Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson to debate electoral reform on Global on Nov. 8

The date is set.

The time is set.

Now it’s up to Premier John Horgan and BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson to make their pitch on how British Columbians will vote in the upcoming electoral reform referendum.

The two political leaders have agreed to take part in a 30-minute, commercial free debate that will take place at 7 p.m. on November 8 on Global BC, CKNW and

“It’s an opportunity for British Columbians to see the arguments I put forward on behalf of change and the arguments the leader of the opposition wants to make in favour of the status quo,” Horgan said.

“Allowing me to challenge some of his assertions I think gives people a sense of confidence we take this seriously.”

The debate is a joint production with the CBC and will be moderated by CKNW’s Lynda Steele and the CBC’s Stephen Quinn.

Wilkinson originally challenged Horgan to the debate on changing the electoral system. The electoral reform referendum is now underway and voters have until the end of November to cast their ballots.

The ballots can be sent back in the mail or dropped off at pop-up locations across the province.

The debate will focus in on certain issues associated with the current first-past-the-post electoral system and the potential proportional representation systems.

“I’m glad to know that the premier will finally be accountable to British Columbians for this referendum,” Wilkinson said.

“There is a lot of confusion about this referendum and there is also low awareness. We want to make sure people are aware of it and the ballots don’t end up in the recycling bin.”

WATCH HERE: Confusion surrounds electoral reform ballots that have begun arriving at B.C. homes

As for the arguments on both sides, Horgan says proportional representation offers a much fairer system. Under first-past-the-post a party could get around 40 per cent of the vote, while winning a majority of the seats in the legislature. Under the proposed systems, a party that gets less than 50 per cent of the province-wide vote would have to work with other elected officials outside their party.

WATCH HERE: What you need to know about the proportional representation voting package

“If you like what we got where 40 per cent of the vote means 100 per cent of the power all the time then stick with what we have got,” Horgan said.  “If you want your vote to count, then proportional representation is for you.”

As for Wilkinson’s argument, he is attacking the premise of the referendum. The Liberal leader says it is unfair that a referendum that can be passed with 50 per cent-plus one of the vote is used to change the electoral system.

“Our electoral system is very stable and if there is a need to change it, it should be done through a citizens’ assembly,” he said. “It is not up to the NDP to change it and play games with it to keep the Green Party happy.”

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