Press Release: Deepening Democracy

Deepening Democracy Survey – What BC Parties & Candidates Promise

Fair Voting BC and Fair Vote Canada recently asked BC’s political parties and candidates 22 questions about how they would “Deepen Democracy” in Engagement, Representation and Accountability.

NDP:  The NDP’s two major commitments are to pre-register 16 and 17 year olds to encourage young people to vote, and to eliminate union and corporate donations.  They also plan to put government advertising under the control of the Auditor General, to empower legislative committees and to enhance the powers of local governments, among several other proposals related to accountability and shifting decision-making closer to the communities involved.

Greens:  The Green Party promises to exempt small entities from the so-called ‘Gag Law’, review the Initiative Act to make it more usable, pursue voting reform, empower legislative committees, eliminate union and corporate donations and establish a Legislative Budget Officer.

Liberals:  The Liberal Party promises to implement the majority of the recommendations from its 2010 Local Government Elections Task Force, but had no comment on the remaining issues we asked about.

Conservatives:  The Conservative Party submitted no response to our survey.

Aside from the responses of the larger parties, many independents, smaller parties and individual Green Party candidates provided detailed and thoughtful responses to most or all of our full set of questions (see detailed responses at fairvotingbc.com).

“Our democracy is far from perfect”, said Fair Voting BC president Antony Hodgson.  “It is our collective responsibility to elect MLAs who sincerely believe and truly understand that their top priority is to serve the people of BC and be accountable to us.  In deciding whom we vote for, each of us must consciously seek out candidates who are committed to seriously engaging the public in creating policy, working to reform our voting system to make it more representative, and adopting initiatives such as a Legislative Budget Officer to make our legislature more transparent and accountable to the people.”

“We need to elect candidates who are committed to taking these steps if we are to restore the public’s faith in our core democratic processes,” Hodgson added.  “With trust in politicians dropping through the floor, status quo politics are no longer good enough.”

Full details on the “Deepening Democracy” survey are posted at fairvotingbc.com/deepening-democracy/2013-deepening-democracy-survey-responses.

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