Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

And they’re off!

September 5, 2009

Its that time of year again, the kids are buying their supplies, the buses are filling up, the lectures are starting, the private jets are being booked and painted…that’s right, its time for another federal election!  What did you think I was talking about, yes school is starting too I suppose.

UBC is starting to fire up and soon it will be swarming with young people excited about learning … 🙂  Statistically they will probably be even less excited about a federal election.  Many young people are disconnected and cynical about our democracy.  This is understandable given the very disappointing result of the last BC election.  I don’t mean the party result, I’ll stay neutral about that, I mean the BC-STV referendum result.  Young people overwhelmingly supported switching BC’s electoral system to a proportional one that would have more fairly represented the wishes of the electorate.  Unfortunately, their parents believed the fear mongering and voted it down giving only 40% support when 60% was needed.

It’s easy to become depressed about changing the world when you can’t even make a sensible change to your own province.  There has been lots of discussion of what went wrong with that campaign but the truth is, in one sense, it doesn’t matter why it failed.  We need to keep trying to change our democracy, to improve it, to move it into the 21st century where we, all of us at UBC especially, will spend the bulk of our lives.  We live in a 21st century democracy with a 19th Century electoral process.  There are many ways it can be fixed, and all of us who want change need to work together for some change regardless of the details.  Any progress is progress.

So this year at UBC, we at the FairVoteUBC club will be asking you to put aside apathy and cynicism about democracy.  About politics sure, but not democracy.  We’ll likely be having a federal election before we even have our first term exams.  Then in the the spring we’ll have a campus election.  Last year we used a proportional system for the first time on campus, Condorcet ranked voting. Will we do so again this year, can we do even better? Can we use an STV style system to show everyone that we were not happy with the referendum result?  Can we send a louder message to Vancouver, to Victoria, to Ottawa?  Can we demand that the politicians who will be coming to woo us on this campus make electoral reform a top priority?

We need your help to find out.  We need your ideas. We need your energy. Let us know if you’ll join us (face/twit). And we’ll let you know where to find us on campus soon.

Parliament reaches web 2.0…well, sort of

August 4, 2009

A fantastic new site has just appeared in the wilds of the Social Media-sphere, Parliament2. The site is not run by parliament (booo, parliament) but is brought to you by the makers of PoliTwitter and Blogging Canadians. It lets Canadians propose, discuss and rank any priorities important to them.  The hopeis to send a message to parliament about what Canadians value and let the people actually discuss topics of interest and weigh the pros and cons.  Its democracy for the social media age, I strongly encourage you to go take a look. Its currently still very new so now is the time to make a mark in this new community.

For #fairvoters, the “Proportional representation and fairness in voting” priority is currently ranked 15, surely we can take it higher.

Referendum on Electoral Reform – A Citizens’ Assembly Member’s Perspective

May 11, 2009

Below is an email about the BC-STV referendum by Craig Henschel, a Citizens’ Assembly Alumnus that I have worked with and think very highly of.

Also, here is an absolutely excellent 6.5min video by Christie Clark about why she supports STV now that she is no longer a politician.

-Bruce

Apologies for the spamishness of this e-mail.  Please pass this on to your address book by Bcc.

Hi,

As you know, there will be a Provincial Referendum on Tuesday May 12th to determine which electoral system we will use in future provincial elections, First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) or the Single Transferable Vote (BC-STV) as recommended by the BC Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

You may recall that I was a member of the Citizens’ Assembly.  I’m sending you this e-mail so that you will make a more informed choice on May 12th.  I’m also hoping that you might forward this e-mail on to your friends. Read the rest of this entry »

Our second — and last — chance for change

May 5, 2009

A few must reads:

Oh ya, STV, that’s gonna pass this time right? #stvrocks

May 2, 2009

I get this a lot.  There are a lot of people who know about BC-STV, think its a great idea, an obviously great idea and assume its going to pass this time around.  That really gives me hope, I hope they’re right, I really do.  But some polls indicate that a lot of people, half the province or more, don’t even know about the referendum.  So I don’t know what to think except, lets not count our eggs until they’re hatched.  There is only a week and a bit to go, so lets just pretend for the next week that we’re not sure and make sure we do everything we can to make people aware of the importance of this referendum. Read the rest of this entry »

BC-STV, and why it’s annoying that I’m ineligible to vote for it.

April 30, 2009

This article was written by Darren Peets, recently graduated PhD student in Physics from UBC and formerly of the UBC board of Governors. If you are on FaceBook you can read the original post here.

On May 12, 2009, BC residents have the extremely rare opportunity to change their voting system. Not having lived in BC the last 6 months, I’m not eligible to vote, which is rather annoying given the importance of this referendum. But I can encourage others to vote. I wholeheartedly support BC-STV, and would be voting Yes. Read the rest of this entry »

Why BC-STV is Simpler than FPTP, Two Words, Strategic Voting

April 3, 2009

Strategic voting is one of the things people like to complain about most in our current electoral system. I  wrote about strategic voting during the last federal election and how it has led to creative voting solutions like vote swapping.  Strategic voting is a natural response to an unfair system, if you don’t vote strategically under FPTP then you are not really accepting how your vote is counted. Bernard von Schulmann has a nice article about strategic voting and how BC-STV removes the need to worry about it.  Ideally we would like to have  a system that does not require strategic voting or anything complicated except people expressing their true, honest preferences on election day.

Thats why BC-STV is actually simpler than FPTP.

Read the rest of this entry »

STV system for voters

February 18, 2009

Bruce Krayenhoff’s letter to the editor, originally published at: http://www.bclocalnews.com/kootenay_rockies/trailrosslandnews/opinion/letters/39751053.html

Re: Voting systems explained, February 10, 2009

In this article Bill Tieleman is quoted as saying “Why would B.C. change its way of electing members of the legislature to one favoured in just a few places?,” referring to the fact that STV is only used nationally in three countries (although it is used municipally in several more).

The answer is that, whereas most voting systems are designed by politicians to work for politicians, BC-STV is a voting system designed by our fellow voters in the Citizens’ Assembly to work for voters! Read the rest of this entry »

Op-Ed : Blake, don’t pull an Al Gore

February 7, 2009

The recent AMS elections left me with a warm feeling in my heart in more ways than one.  It was the highest turnout in UBC history, over 6000 students, a big achievement in a  campus democracy.  Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »