Posts Tagged ‘Liberal’

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.


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.

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,
  • 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!

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

The Most Important Election in a Generation

April 15, 2009

In his campaign kickoff speech yesterday, premier Gordon Campbell proclaimed that this election will be the most important election in a generation. The choice voters make this election will indeed reverberate through BC and Canada for decades to come, but not based on whether we choose to have the NDP or the Liberals run the province for the next few years.  The choice that matters is whether we decide to stay with the current First-Past-The-Post electoral system or switch to BC-STV.  Read the rest of this entry »

Test Drive BC-STV

April 13, 2009

The best way to understand some things is to give it a try.  Democracy is like that.  If you still don’t have a good idea of how voting in BC-STV works or how votes are counted up why not trying voting right now online. Read the rest of this entry »

Resp to CBC The House: Lack of MPs does not mean lack of support

March 28, 2009
(This was an email I sent in response to a discussion on CBC Radio’s The House on Sat, March 28 2009)

Dear Ms. Petty,
One of your guests this morning, while discussing Michael Ignatieff’s new focus on the west, mentioned the failure of the Green party to win a seat in recent elections. While acknowledging that the Green party was the only one to gain new votes he simultaneously dismissed all green (small “g”) voters by saying that Elizabeth May had not done enough to “excite the population” about the green agenda. This is hogwash and you should have called him on it. Read the rest of this entry »

Now is the time for a discussion on democratic reform

December 10, 2008

I need a rest, maybe even a “cooling off period” to recover from all the political intrigue of the past week. Not that parliament necessarily needs a break, at such a pivotal time, but I sure do.  Rarely have constitutional issues and parliamentary maneoveres raised so much interest with the Canadian public.  People are engaged, whether because they are upset, angry, confused or excited.  Hardly anyone is bored by it.  For now it seems to have settled down, whether for good or ill.  One good thing that should arise from all this excitement, however, is that Canadians are more aware than ever of the inner workings of our democracy. Furthermore, regardless of where you stand on this particular coalition, Harper’s behavior, Dion’s leadership, or any of the other issues, almost everyone would agree that something is broken with democratic system.

It is time for  national discussion on democratic reform.  Never before have Canadians been soon interested and so upset at how the system works.  This is the opportunity, with the STV referendum coming up, to discuss ways to fix our system.  Canadians want to know that their voice is heard and that decisions are being made in a transparent manner.

So lets start that discussion now. It’s easy. Here, I’ll start.

Some may blame the recent fracas in Ottawa on politicians and their crass, greedy, conniving ways.  But really, contrary to some reports,  politicians are people too.  The problem, I think is that the system we use to govern ourselves have very strange incentives built into it.  It has incentives for prime ministers to shut down government to avoid being voted out of his job. It has incentives for opposition parties to make any compromise just for the hope of forming a more representative government.  If the members of parliament elected only two months ago actually represented the votes cast nationally then a coalition of opposition parties would look very different.  See Larry Gordon’s letter to see the break down of what the party numbers could have been.

While we do that, the parties will realign themselves, the Liberals have already chosen a new leader, the Quebec election is over even with historically low turnout and eventually parliament will sit again.  Parties are playing political games and voters are still tuning out.  Do you agree? Disagree? Think I’m crazy. Let me know.

Assuming you agree, and I will assume that until you tell me otherwise, what’s a responsible citizen to do?

Get involved.  Join groups (fairvote, stv, fairvoteubc ), join the discussion (twitter, or comment on this blog! any others? let us know! ), writer letters (some hints), talk to people!

Mark Crowley is a PhD student in Computer Science at UBC

The sound of one democratic hand clapping

December 5, 2008

Coalition government? Yes, but it’s not the one we deserve

After 141 years is Canada finally, albeit accidentally, on the path to modern representative democracy? Don’t pop the champagne cork yet. We still have a way to go, but the law of unintended consequences may be at work in Ottawa. Read the rest of this entry »