An explosion of petitions!

December 17, 2008

I love petitions, its a direct way for people to voice a strong concern about an issue and its an easy thing for them to do.  Its not always clear they are effective, but when a politician is faced with definitive proof that hundreds of thousands of people care about an issue their instinct is not to ignore it.

In this internet age petitions have become even more popular than in the past.  Many facebook books are set up essentially as petitions for a cause, such as some political leader or to protest the inprisonment of someone or to support a or oppose a newly proposed law.  Facebook groups with hundreds of thousands of members make the nightly news as the main stream media tries to find a way to tap the opinions of the strange younger generation that they do not understand.

Any cause that gets people going will have its petitions, so electoral reform is no different. Here then, is an overview of some of the petitions, in a very broad sense, that I have come across recently.  Take a look and decide if you want to sign one, or all of them.

  • Fairvote Canada – Well of course I have to put this one first.  Full discosure: this website  is loosely affiliated with Fairvote Canada.  They have had a petition going for many months now and it looks like they have a good set of signatures.
  • Electoral Reform Canada – This is a new petition started by the people who created the imfamous Anti-Harper Vote Swap group on facebook. This got a lot of attention in the media and had over 13,000 members.  The petition is just getting started but they have a large base of interested contacts to pull from.  It still has a small number of signatures and it doesn’t seem to link to other existing movements like FairVote.  So, you know, sign it, but send them a note about other resources out there in case they are trying to do it all on their own.  If the people behind that site would like to provide more information to us we’d be happy to talk about it.
  • The FairVote Canada and Yes to BC-STV Facebook groups are essentially petitions, join up if you care about improving our democracy, and join the discussion!
  • Do you know of another petition? Let us know in the comments and we’ll put it up!

Now some will argue that so many petitions dilutes the relevance of each one.  Only electoral reform geeks would worry about vote splitting on their own electoral reform petitions!  Its not clear if one petition is better or many.  What is clear is that we need to raise awareness and attention to this cause however we can.  So the more petitions we have, the more coverage and attention we get, the better.

So sign’en all!  And then get out there and try to make sure no one forgets about this horrible election and how frustrated they feel right now.  The May referendum on STV is a long way away, but voters in BC and I think in the rest of Canada will be waiting for the result.  Those of us currently living in BC have a duty to support this move not just for this province but for the whole country.  Look at all these people thirsting for reform.  The next step is the BC referendum, if it fails again it will hurt all these efforts across the country.  Thats why you’ll be sure to be hearing from, and received petition from, people from all over canada in the next few months.  So brace yourself and get your signing hand ready.

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