The New Dawn of Democratic Reform in Canada

May 13, 2009

The referendum to bring in a new age of democracy in BC failed last night, the battle, lost.  As we wake up this morning we must realize that the war is not over, it has only just begun for many of us.

Thousands of people across BC and Canada have been woken up to the need for change in the past year.  I had never been involved in politics until last fall when the arguments about the Coalition awoke me to the widespread lack of understanding of our democracy.  Now I have experienced first hand with many others how hard it is to bring about change.

But change is needed.

From the artificial choice between two parties in BC to the continuing minority trials in Ottawa to the growing attention on vote swapping it is clear that our democracy is broken and voters know it. Dispersed voices, such as the Greens are not heard.  Concentrated voices such as the Bloc are heard beyond their actual strength.  Everywhere, voter turnout is lower than ever before and the choices presented to the voter seem more and more meaningless.

So brace yourself, and take a look at the official results:
http://results.elections.bc.ca/REF-2009-001.html

(make sure you look at which cities voted, the areas with the most volunteers, Victoria and Vancouver, did much better. One next step could be to get those city councils to institute STV for municipal elections)

Even StudentVote, which gives high school and elementary students the opportunity to practice voting didn’t do much better. Young people generally support reform more than older people but these students still did not have nearly enough support to pass the reform:

http://www.studentvote.ca/bc/results2009/index.php

To make you feel a bit better, or maybe worse, take a look at these results of how this election might have turned out if we’d been using STV.

Someday soon, the media, the politicians and the Canadian public will connect these dots and realize change is needed. Now our job is to continue working to make that happen.

I have been so honoured to work with and have been deeply impressed by all of the people I have met while volunteering to campaign for STV.  The response online was especially robust but even on the street I can remember the dozens of people who had that lightbulb of hope go off right in front of me.  And of course many people gave money to help the campaign, I wasn’t involved in that but it was essential to get the level of visibility we did achieve.  Thank you to everyone who helped in any way. We did a good thing, and now it seems it was just one  battle of many to come.  But we shall not surrender.

If you aren’t willing to admit defeat either, then you can do two things right now

  1. Join Fair Vote Canada if you haven’t already
  2. Join this facebook group : Canadians for Democratic Change to keep the discussion going and let the politicians and the media know what Canadian voters demand out of democracy and their representatives.
Advertisements

3 Responses to “The New Dawn of Democratic Reform in Canada”

  1. Tide Waters Says:

    Have wanted to join FVC, was even asked to consider running for their Council. Again, affordability got in the way.

  2. Mark Crowley Says:

    Its good to keep in touch with them and on their mailing lists anyways. I’m not sure what they’re next plans are and I think some of us who are quite active now shouldn’t wait for them to come up with the next initiative. Do you know anyone in city councils on the island? If you look at the results the island and Vancouver were the most receptive places to it.

  3. Randall White Says:

    Although proportional representation is necessary, it seems to be too difficult at present to persuade the public. Other simpler reforms could be enacted, however, so maybe the movement should look at ideas such as voting on a weekend and voting by mail. On another blog, creating a tax credit for voting was mentioned.

    As Mark suggests, the notion of municipal electoral reform is a good one, perhaps including proportional elections as well as campaign finance transparency.

    The sad fact, though, was that I heard much more talk about the Canucks than about the election during the past week. What does that say about us?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: