Posts Tagged ‘electoral reform’

Ignatieff talks at UBC – but will he Say anything?

January 15, 2010

UBC is being visited today by the Liberal party road tour, Michael Ignatieff will be talking about his and our dreams for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.  I’m planning on going, hopeful there is room for questions from the audience. If so I’m going to ask him this:

Will your party commit to working with other opposition parties to address the democratic deficit in Canada? Fair Vote Canada recently sent a letter to your party and the others suggesting some ways to improve democratic representation in Canada.  This is more important now than ever when we have to endure a Conservative minority government that was rejected by 60% of the population and who are willing to reckless abuse the constitutional powers of government to shut down debate and investigations.

So, Mr. Ignatieff, will you commit to working with the other opposition parties to ensure that Canada gets the representation that they actually vote for in Ottawa?

Thank you.

I’ll let you know what he says later…

Getting out of that funk.

November 3, 2009

Reposting from my blog about UBC Professor Michael Byers’ proposal for how to the NDP and Liberals could get our democracy out of the funk it’s in with a little creative thinking.

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.

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.

Today is the day.

May 12, 2009

Today is the day we move democracy in Canada into the 20th Century.  Yes, we’re overdue, we’ve been living with an 18th century system for too long and most of the world has already moved on.  I’m excited, scared and hopeful.  Will British Columbians look at this very sensible voting system, BC-STV and make a very sensible choice.  I have to believe so.  If not, then I’ll drown my sorrows tonight, I’ve been saving up my Canucks mourning from last night’s game, so I can get it all out at once.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  Democracy isn’t like hockey, there doesn’t have to be a winner and a loser.  Everyone can win if we believe it and make a rational choice.  That’s what STV is all about, finding a way to let everyone have a say and stop running democracy like its a horserace.  Democracy is about representation not about winning and losing.  When we vote, we are trying to select sensible people to represent us.  Under STV you get to help select 3-7 people rather than just one.  Who can argue with that?

So if you haven’t already, get out and vote for STV, and I guess vote for a party too if you can figure out who to choose.  But if we make the right decision, then  next time it will be different.  Next time, you’ll be able to vote honestly and know that your vote won’t be wasted.

If you are on twitter please consider adding a few tweets today with the #bcstv tag and the #bcelection tag, I’d love to see it trending today on the twitter sidebar or on What the Trend, last night half the trending topics were about the Chicago – Vancouver hockey game, so don’t say we can’t do it.

Good luck BC — the rest of Canada is watching, lets show them what the West beyond the West can think outside the box.

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 »

Don’t let them out of downtown without thinking about BC-STV

May 11, 2009

Hey there.  One more day to go.  Tomorrow is the big vote and we’ll see if the forces of reason win out over the forces of fear and lack of information (its a weak force 🙂 )

Take  a look at the events map, there are some people planning to cover skytrains in vancouver and maybe bridges too so that no one can get home tonight without having to think about BC-STV again, at least for a second.

If you haven’t already, take a look at this video from Christy Clark, former Deputy Premier of BC and current host on CKNW.  Be sure to rate it with five stars and leave a comment. This has drawn some attention and some people think it may be turning the tide in our favour.  We’ll see tomorrow night.

Long List of Official Endorsements of BC-STV released

May 8, 2009

This is a great list of famous people, smart people and fantastic community people who support BC-STV. Take a look!  My favourite part is this subset of the list of Canadians outside BC:

  • Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, Council of Canadians
  • Andrew Coyne, journalist, Macleans, National Post columnist
  • Bruce Cox, Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada
  • Kim Elliott, Publisher, rabble.ca
  • Andrea Horwath, Leader, Ontario NDP
  • Tom Kent, former chief advisor to Liberal Prime Minister Lester Pearson
  • Naomi Klein, author
  • Preston Manning, former Reform Party leader
  • Elizabeth May, leader Green Party of Canada
  • Farley Mowat, author
  • Walter Pitman, former NDP MP, former President, Canadian Civil Liberties Assoc.
  • Hugh Segal, Senator, Conservative Party, former PC leadership candidate
  • Lois Wilson, former President, World Council of Churches, former Senator
  • (US) Krist Novoselic, musician, formerly of Nirvana, currently Chair, Fair Vote (US)

Never thought I’d see Naomi Klein, Preston Manning, Elizabeth May and Farley Mowat together in any list of any kind.

Go BC-STV!….and go Canucks!

Take Heart, we’re almost there and we’re not alone.

May 7, 2009

Two fantastic articles/posts in the last 24hours from influential people in the media that you should read before you go to bed tonight, you’ll rest a bit better knowing there is reason and sanity in the world. Then get out there and spread the word for a few days more.

Andrew Coyne (editor : Macleans Magazine) : A Vote That Really Counts

Christy Clark (Host on CKNW and former BC Deputy Premier) : Why I’m Supporting STVyoutube video

Cyberspace is ours, now BC-STV must conquer meatspace.

May 7, 2009

I think the online buzz and opinion making for BC-STV is pretty solid at this point.  Letters are flooding onto websites of newspapers and blogs and twitter is all, well, a-twitter about the benefits of BC-STV.  Of course, the internet doesn’t get a vote and you can’t send in your ballot via twitter (yet) and there are some people out there not buzzing around online talking about the election.  Actually, most people aren’t.  This weekend most people will be shopping, attending conventions, street festivals and hockey games.

So we need to be there.

We need to get out of cyberspace and get into meatspace and talk to people using modulated soundwaves in the air.  We need to ask them to consider this important choice, offer them pamphlets to read more, tell them about the website to find videos and just plain-old answer their questions and assuage their fears, because there is nothing to be scared of except staying with FPTP forever.

So this is a call to everyone online, to go offline at some point in the next 4 days and connect with some real, physical people.  If everyone one of us online can convince 10 people and raise awareness of 100 people we might be able to actually do this thing.  Of course, we’ll use the internet to organize that 😉

Flyers : Here are some great flyers to print out about BC-STV. Print 100 and give them out this weekend.

Map : Here’s a map with the locations of some of BC-STV events that need volunteers or where people plan to be talking to pedestrians.  It will grow in the next few days, so far its just vancouver, but anyone in BC can use it.  If you have a gmail account you can edit it yourself and add your plans.  Maybe people will show up to help.

Pass the link on to your friends and add stuff to the map, then get out there and talk to people, the link is http://tinyurl.com/bcstvevents