A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

Change on the way for BC?

This was in my in-box today, from Fair Voting BC.  I am encouraged by news of so many groups that have spawned (to use a word from my sons' gaming world) into existence for the sole purpose of re-claiming a democratic society.   If change can happen in BC, I believe it can happen across the entire country, but as with all things demanding political will, we have to help make it happen.

January 26, 2012
Networks and Partnerships for Democratic Reform
Dear Democratic Reform Supporters:
As both the western and Chinese New Years get underway, our news is mainly about networking and partnerships. Fair Voting BC is pleased to announce the following:

Vancouver City Council To Renew Request for Power to Choose Best Voting System for City: Fair Voting BC has had numerous discussions with Vancouver city councillors over the years about addressing some of the problems with the city’s democratic processes. We were therefore very pleased that Councillor Andrea Reimer has introduced a motion calling on the province to change the charter to allow the city freedom to choose its own voting system and to make detailed ballot data publicly available (our request! See last month's newsletter). While council generally appears to be favourable, the minister responsible, Ida Chong, stated that she’ll only implement the requests if the Local Government Elections Task Force and the Union of BC Municipalities agrees, so there’s still a lot of work to be done yet before we win our democratic rights. Fair Voting BC will be speaking in favour of this motion when council hears speakers (likely next Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning). It would be great to have FVBC supporters join us and speak in favour of the motion yourselves - there's strength (and fun) in numbers! Check out the meeting agenda and, if you can come, please send a note to Jim DeLaHunt (jdlh@jdlh.com) to get put on the speaker's list.

Fair Voting BC Partners With Party X on Democratic Dialogue Series: Party X is a Vancouver-based non-profit community of tech innovators and social entrepreneurs who are developed new web-based tools for building public consensus. Fair Voting BC is delighted to partner with Party X to offer a dialogue series later this spring on issues of democracy, technology and collective decision-making. Our first organizing meeting will take place downtown at 6pm on Feb 1 (next Wed) and we invite anyone who’s interested to join us. Please click here to register (no charge).

Integrity BC Invites FVBC Supporters to Sign Petition Banning Union and Corporate Donations: Integrity BC is a relatively new non-partisan organization championing accountability and integrity in BC politics and we are pleased that two of Fair Voting BC’s founding directors sit on their board: Nick Loenen (former Socred MLA) and David Marley (former assistant to the BC Attorney General). Integrity BC is currently running a campaign called “Who Really Runs BC?” which calls for a ban on corporate and union funding of political parties, a cap on personal donations and a Citizen's Assembly to study and make binding recommendations on a host of other reforms, including banning contributions from outside B.C. They invite you to visit their website for more information on this issue, to sign a petition and to volunteer to help collect signatures.

Liberal Convention Supports Alternative Vote: At the Liberal Convention last week, the party adopted a motion that recognizes the failings of Single Member Plurality voting and endorsing the Alternative Vote (AV). AV is much like our Single Member Plurality system, but it substitutes a preferential ballot for the current ‘Mark an X’ ballot. With a preferential ballot, you rank the candidates (1, 2, 3, etc). If no candidate wins 50% on the first vote, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the ballots supporting them transferred to those voters’ second choice. This repeats until someone has 50% support. While there are some (arguably small) benefits of using AV, it is by no means a form of proportional representation (despite some confusion in news reports). Fair Vote Canada regards AV as a non-reform, and Fair Voting BC calls on the Liberal Party to initiate a combined multipartisan and public deliberative dialogue to build consensus on voting reforms that can be broadly supported.

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