2011 Vancouver Democratic Reform Survey – (Condensed) Responses by Question

This page presents responses to our Democratic Reform Survey (Vancouver) question by question.  For answers by candidate and party, click here.  For our press release, click here.  Special thanks to Korky Day for collating the following answers.


  • “Yes” is indicated by + .  “No” is indicated by – .
  • Respondents’ names are preceded by their electoral group.
  • “Ind.” is an independent candidate (not nominated by an electoral group).
  • Answers presented here have been condensed;  for verbatim responses, click here.
  • COPE answers provided by their candidate, RJ Aquino, Green Party answers provided by their candidate, Adriane Carr.
  • Candidates for mayor responding:  Suzanne Anton (NPA), & independents Menard Caissy, Gölök Zoltán Buday, Robin Lawrance, Paquette, & Sam Pelletier.
  • All other respondents are city council candidates.

1.  Should city be able to pick its voting system?  (Do you commit yourself, if elected, to renewing in the first year of your term the city’s long-standing request for Victoria to grant Vancouver the power to choose our own voting system?)

  • Vision Vancouver (VV):  +
  • NPA Suzanne Anton:  –
  • NPA George Affleck & Sean Bickerton:  +
  • COPE (from RJ Aquino):  +
  • Green (from Adriane Carr):   +
  • NSV Elizabeth Murphy:  +
  • D-G Chris Shaw & Ian Gregson:  +
  • Ind. Amy “Evil Genius” Fox:  +.  Leave specifics to citizens from concerned groups.
  • Ind. Menard Caissy:  +.  Ward system, up to 14 councillors.
  • Ind. Grant Fraser:  –.  I support it but would be drowned out by a majority government due to our current faulty election system.
  • Ind. Ted Copeland:  +.   Voting is important, but some feel it’s meaningless.  Allowing people to vote for someone to represent them in their neighborhoods will help.
  • Ind. Gölök Zoltán Buday:  –.  Ward system: www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150351434004822  or http://youtu.be/7H7ylN1Ul70 . Maybe transferable vote.
  • Independents Robin Lawrance, Rick Orser, Michael Dharni, & Sam Pelletier:  +.
  • Ind. Victor Paquette:  +.  Ward system for next election.

2.  Deliberative dialogue?  (If elected, will you endorse expanded use of deliberative dialogue approaches (similar to the Mayor’s Advisory Council) to generate future policy options?  Please elaborate [if in favour, please also identify the main issues you believe are amenable to such an approach].):

  • VV:  +
  • NPA Suzanne Anton & George Affleck:  +
  • NPA Sean Bickerton:  +, with changes.
  • COPE:  +
  • Green:  +.  Engage citizens at beginning, impartial information (not done for Citizens’ Assembly); true commitment to citizens’ wishes.  Hand-picked councils can backfire.
  • D-G Chris Shaw & Ian Gregson:  +
  • Independents Amy Fox, Grant Fraser, Rick Orser, & Michael Dharni:  +
  • Ind. Menard Caissy:  –.  Too vague to configure.  City council is mayor’s advisors.
  • Ind. Gölök Zoltán Buday:  –.  Sounds like government to create more government.
  • Ind. Victor Paquette:  +.  Advisors, each from a different ward.
  • Ind. Sam Pelletier:  +.  Vital to democratic process; gives mayor many views.

3.  City council election split example.  (Imagine a civic election contested by four parties. Pre-election polling indicates that Party A has the support of 40% of the voters, Party B has the support of 30%, C 20% and D 10%. Which of the following outcomes do you think would be preferred by the greatest number of voters?

  • Party A wins all 10 seats.  [10-0]
  • Party A wins 9 seats and Party B wins 1 seat.  [9-1]
  • Party A wins 8 seats and Party C wins 2 seats because they formed an electoral alliance with one another.  [8-2 with alliance]
  • Party A wins 6 seats and Party B wins 4 seats.  [6-4]
  • Party A wins 4 seats, B 3 seats, C 2 seats and D 1 seat.  [4-3-2-1 proportional]
  • Other.)
  • VV:  Other—prefer 4-3-2-1 (proportional), but voters’ choice of system.
  • NPA Suzanne Anton:  Other.
  • NPA George Affleck:  Other.
  • NPA Sean Bickerton:  Other—current at-large system.
  • COPE:  8-2 (with alliance) until we establish ward system.
  • Green:  4-3-2-1 (proportional).
  • D-G Chris Shaw & Ian Gregson:  4-3-2-1 (proportional).
  • Independents Amy Fox, Rick Orser, & Michael Dharni:  4-3-2-1 (proportional).
  • Ind. Menard Caissy:  6-4.  Likely with 2 main parties.  Vision’s 8/9 – 1 is a bit much.
  • Ind. Grant Fraser:  10-0.  Tricky wording.  Many fear minority governments from proportional representation, but that is clearly ideal.
  • Ind. Gölök Zoltán Buday:  Other.  Ward system.  Maybe elect a separate city council of 4 for non-resident property owners & business owners.
  • Ind. Victor Paquette:  4-3-2-1 (proportional).  Equal representation, participatory democracy.
  • Ind. Sam Pelletier:  4-3-2-1 (proportional).  All voices heard.  Results may appear negative, but are consequence of democracy & irrelevant.

4.  Internet voting for democratic engagement?  (Which of the following best describes your view of the benefits of online (internet) voting?

  • Online voting is proven to substantially improve democratic engagement.
  • Online voting has good potential to improve democratic engagement.
  • Online voting is unlikely to significantly change democratic engagement.
  • Other (please elaborate below).
  • VV:  Good potential.
  • NPA Suzanne Anton & George Affleck:  Good potential.
  • NPA Sean Bickerton: Completely unsafe.
  • COPE:  Good potential.
  • Green:  Good potential.  Youth want it.
  • D-G Chris Shaw:  Good potential.  Youth want it.  More crucial is perceived lack of choices.
  • D-G Ian Gregson:  Good potential.
  • Ind. Amy Fox:  Other.  More accessible but don’t know if it will help.
  • Ind. Menard Caissy:  Unlikely to help.  City backed off when we warned of on-line fraud in advanced voting.  Scrutineering a problem.
  • Ind. Grant Fraser:  Unlikely to help.
  • Ind. Gölök Zoltán Buday:  Other.  Unlikely to help.  Secret ballots.  For the home-bound, a voting booth on wheels.
  • Ind. Victor Paquette:  Good potential.  Average citizen now alienated.
  • Ind. Rick Orser:  Proven to work.
  • Ind. Michael Dharni:  Good potential.
  • Ind. Sam Pelletier:  Good potential, but opposed for security reasons.  If someone can’t bother to vote, don’t coddle them.

5.  Is Internet voting secure?  (Which of the following best describes your attitude towards the security issues related to online voting?

  • Online voting is now sufficiently robust and secure to be used in civic elections
  • Online voting is relatively secure and may be valuable for consulting citizens, but is probably too insecure to be relied on for civic elections
  • Online voting is currently too vulnerable to undetectable fraud to be used in a civic election
  • Other (please elaborate).
  • VV:  Other.
  • NPA Suzanne Anton & George Affleck:  For consulting, not elections.
  • NPA Sean Bickerton:  Unsafe for elections.
  • COPE:  Good for elections.
  • Green:  Unsafe for elections.
  • D-G Chris Shaw:  Other – don’t know; heard those variations.
  • D-G Ian Gregson:  Good for elections.
  • Ind. Amy Fox:  Other.  Can see auditing systems, but might lose anonymity.
  • Ind. Gölök Zoltán Buday:   Other.  Would be insecure.  Lazy–harming secrecy.
  • Independents Menard Caissy & Grant Fraser:  Unsafe for elections.
  • Independents Victor Paquette & Michael Dharni:  For consulting, not elections.
  • Ind. Sam Pelletier:  For consulting, not elections.  Too easy to manipulate.
  • Ind. Rick Orser:  Good for elections.

6.  Please comment on what democracy-related issues most concern you (e.g., voting, campaign financing, citizen engagement, etc.).

  • VV:  Electoral & campaign finance reform ($ limits, disclosure).
  • NPA Suzanne Anton:  Citizen engagement.  www.npavancouver.ca .
  • NPA Sean Bickerton:  Oppose American $ in elections.
  • COPE:  $500 maximum individual donation to local political parties. Ban foreign donations.  Spending limits per resident, + inflation.  Then ban corporate & union $.
  • Green:  Raising voter turnout above 30%.  Limit campaign $; no corporate or union $.  People feel ignored–even after public meetings.
  • D-G Chris Shaw:  Campaign $ reform.  Direct, bottom-up, grassroots democracy.
  • D-G Ian Gregson:  Campaign $; publish donors.
  • Ind. Menard Caissy:  Local per vote subsidy, so more people run.  Young leaders.
  • Ind. Grant Fraser:  Proportional representation, campaign $, direct democracy, grassroots governance.
  • Ind. Gölök Zoltán Buday:  Ward system.  No proportionate or majoritist methods.  Mayor candidate wins by winning majority of wards.  Liberalize ballot access–for a fee.  No $100 fine-in-advance.  25 signatures is too many.  Even worse the accountant demand.  Debate access.  Count ballots in public.
  • Ind. Victor Paquette:  Civic governments affect us more than any other.
  • Ind. Rick Orser:  Citizen engagement – more citizens.
  • Ind. Michael Dharni:  Vancouver asked for reform, yet BC government is silent.

7.  Democracy initiatives by incumbents & incumbents’ parties in past term.  (If you are a current council member, please highlight any democracy-related initiatives you or your party has undertaken in the past term.)

  • VV:  Established all-party committee. Increased citizen input. Open data & open source initiatives.  Published all councillor expenses.  Advocated online voting.  More advance polls.
  • NPA Suzanne Anton:  SA Neighbourhood consultation for our Taxpayers First platform.  www.npavancouver.ca .
  • COPE:  Electoral $ reform, as above.  Better neighbourhood consultation.  Our members develop policy, support the same city-wide.

8.  Promises for democratic reform?  (If elected, what do you personally commit yourself to doing during the coming council term to promote democratic reform?)

  • VV:  As above.  More participation by young people.  Build on “Talk Green to Us” program.  Engage our diverse communities, seniors, youth and aboriginals. Task force on Expanding Citizen Engagement.  Expand open data and open source.  Develop smart-phone app.
  • NPA Suzanne Anton:  +.
  • NPA George Affleck:  Raise voter turn-out.
  • NPA Sean Bickerton:  Ban foreign $ for elections.  Public consultation earlier and more.
  • COPE:  More democratic engagement.  Ward system.
  • Green:  A more clear role for citizens in decisions.  Election campaign $ reform.  Replace current electoral system with STV; current number of seats.
  • D-G Chris Shaw:  Total grassroots democracy.
  • Ind. Menard Caissy:  Referendum in 2014 on at-large or ward voting.
  • Ind. Grant Fraser:  Drive home the imperfections of our current system.
  • Ind. Gölök Zoltán Buday:   As above.  Initiate wards; cut politician pay.  A separately elected commissioner, under the mayor, replaces whole commission.  Mayor chooses running mate for deputy mayor.  Mayors not aligned with an electoral group, but an impartial adjudicator among the caucuses.
  • Ind. Victor Paquette:  Ward system.
  • Ind. Rick Orser:  Develop social media for dialogue with constituents.

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