Dear Democratic Reform Supporters:
We are delighted to invite you to join us in celebrating the 10th anniversary of BC’s remarkable Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform at a dinner in Vancouver on Wednesday, December 10th [get your tickets here – only $40 in advance (includes a 3-course meal, plus a great group of speakers)].
The Assembly: A Brief History:
Ten years ago, the BC government broke new ground in consulting citizens by establishing the Assembly. This was an independent non-partisan group of citizens drawn from across the province – one man and one woman from each of BC’s then-79 electoral districts, plus two Aboriginal representatives. The members were selected by lot from a list of citizens that reflected the gender, age and geographical make-up of British Columbians.
The Assembly spent nearly a year meeting and examining in detail how the province’s current electoral system (Single Member Plurality, more commonly known as First Past the Post) worked and how it failed to support our citizens’ core democratic values. In the end, they recommended that BC adopt a new, more proportional way of voting known as the Single Transferable Vote that they felt would better support these values. As most of you know, STV was endorsed by nearly 58% of voters in 2005, but the government of the day had established a bar of 60% for adoption, so STV was not implemented.
Despite the fact that their recommendation has not yet been adopted, the Assembly itself has proven to be very influential. Its design inspired the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly, and it has been cited as a model for a number of related citizen-focused consultation processes that have happened since, including Oregon’s Citizen Initiative Review, the move in California for a standing Citizens’ Assembly, the Dutch Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, Iceland’s Constitutional Assembly, and last year’s Irish Convention on the Constitution.
The Celebration on Wednesday, December 10th:
Please join us for dinner and discussion on December 10th as we reflect on the BC Citizens’ Assembly and its influence on deliberative dialogue and citizen engagement around the world.
We have a wonderful lineup of speakers for you, including:
- Former Attorney General Geoff Plant
- Assembly Designer Gordon Gibson
- Assembly Chair Jack Blaney
- Assembly Academic Director Prof. Ken Carty
- Assembly Members Wendy Bergerud, Craig Henschel and Shoni Field
Joining us with video messages will be:
- Former Premier Gordon Campbell
- Political Science Professor Fred Cutler
We will also have some ‘participatory activities’ including an STV vote to determine what dinner is served (at the Pink Pearl Chinese restaurant in Vancouver) – this vote really matters!
This will be a wonderful evening of good food and interesting conversation – don’t miss it, and invite your friends! Tickets available by clicking the image above or here. Invite others to buy tickets at tinyurl.com/BCCA10thAnniversaryTix.
Hope to see you in a few weeks!
Yours for a stronger democracy,
President, Fair Voting BC
President, Fair Voting BC
Photo credits: CA: Participedia, Buy Tickets: Leo Reynolds
8 thoughts on “Join Us! 10th Anniversary Celebration of BC Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform!”
The Citizens Assembly was another Gordon Campbell SCAM. They were never given the choice of proportional representation. I hope you learn a lot from my posting to the powellriverpersuader (powellriverpersuader.blogspot.ca) which shows that it was just another of Gordo’s plan to take down BC and con the people. I have come to the conclusion you are not educated enough to do what you are doing.
There doesn’t appear to be anything on your blog that refers to the Citizens’ Assembly. Since the CA actually recommended a proportional representation voting system, I’m not sure what you’re alluding to.
Even only just a video of Campbell would make me puke. He was the worst premier of BC ever, tied with the uneducated photo-op Clark.
J Moffat – I’m sorry you won’t be joining us. The primary purpose of this event is to focus on the Citizens’ Assembly itself and their evaluation of our voting system. The speakers who have been invited have been invited because of the role they played in initiating, designing, running or evaluating the Assembly. We believe it’s important to reflect on the work the Assembly did on behalf of all citizens of BC and the lessons that work might have for future reforms.
The presence of people like Gordon Gibson and especially Gordon Campbell makes me wonder about you guys. These people never demonstrated any commitment to enhanced democracy while in office. Quite the contrary.
David – thanks for your comment. Fair Voting BC is resolutely non-partisan. We invited these people because they were responsible for establishing the Citizens’ Assembly ten years ago, and we have invited each of the provincial parties to send a representative to offer their comments. We democratic reformers always have to struggle with the fact that politicians frequently make promises when in opposition that they do not follow up on when in power. This dynamic has played out historically on both the political left and right – our struggle won’t be over until the party in power does not make the rules governing its own behaviour.
Fair vote I am all for but to celebrate the garbage the citizen committee served up for us to vote on by referendum was a far cry from fair voting. Anyone with an idea of how proportional representation is supposed to work should boycott your shindig. Harmen Kooyman
Thanks for your comment, Harmen. However, it would be more useful if you could state more objectively what your concern was with the Assembly’s recommendation. By all academic accounts, they made a wise decision that would have ensured that upwards of 90% of voters would have contributed to electing someone (vs about 50% with our current system). On key metrics of disproportionality, STV and MMP perform very similarly (disproportionality indices in the range of 2-5%, vs 20-30% for our current system). STV has the additional advantage of being party-agnostic – that is, it does not fundamentally require that candidates be affiliated with a party in order to achieve proportional representation of the voters’ views (in contrast to most other proportional voting systems). The Assembly judged this emphasis on the individual candidate to be an important value held by BC voters.
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