The left was split and Canada’s true desires weren’t manifest. The Liberals ran a (sorry) lousy campaign, the Green acquitted themselves excellently but are out numbered everywhere and the Cons slipped right in strategically laughing while Layton attacked Dion.
We need a proportional representative system where the House reflects Canada. We need a run-off style ballot so we aren’t flummoxed by the “strategic voting” conundrum (i vote with my heart).
And the parties need to show – in short, clear statements – how we (they) can protect the environment while promoting the economy.
I am still worked up about they way this election went down and riffed more about it at A Few words for Democracy at happyfrog.
I have a Choogle on! podcast coming out shortly (really) with my emotional reaction to the results in Canada and the impending vote in the USA. And I discussed the Conservative minority win on the Dopecast on Dopefiend.co.uk.
While i am on topic, here are my democratic actionable items, observations etc. cross-posted from happyfrog post A Few words for Democracy:
With the Canadian Federal election behind us, a looming USA General election (which will effect everyone), plus a Vancouver Mayoral race in which the winner will preside over the 2010 Olympics and attempt to assuage the controversies around the development, democracy in action is catching the attention of everyone – or should be anyhow.
I’ve personally learned that policy is decided by those who “show up” and let their opinions be heard – not by throwing rocks but rather by civilized discourse and personal expression to the policy makers.
Here are a few tools, events and ideas I’ve come acress to help constructively participate in the political process, while not sinking to the mud-slinging which happens when the issues cut to the core of who we are as a community.
Media Democracy Day- Speak up!
This Saturday at SFU’s downtown campus come “Speak for Ourselves” and learn about the critical issues effecting the media – both in terms of content and delivery – at Media Democracy Day Vancouver 2008.
With mainstream conglomerates amalgamating local media into a generic mish-mash more focused on selling ad space than spreading critical information, and Telcos (with the encouragement of the Federal government) tightening their grip on the gates of what’s “acceptable” there is plenty to educate yourself about.
Noted speakers will share their opinions – including happyfrog columnist and co-founder of Greenpeace Rex Wyeler and Tyee’s chief David Beers – and relevant panels will present different perspectives on this dynamic landscape from open access to citizen journalism to copyright/wrong.
Now Polling Grassroots Opinions
I’ve seen and chatted with Pedro from NowPolling.ca at many community events as he spreads the message that “Participation is the essence of Democracy”.
Sign up for a free account at NowPolling.ca and you can weigh in with your opinion on current issues of concern to the community on a local, provincal and federal level.
Here’s how they describe their work:
“This is a non-profit forum where anyone can register their opinions on a broad range of issues. You can choose your answers now, and if you change your mind, you can return to change your vote anytime.
As far as we know, nowpolling.ca is the first in the world to provide a perpetual polling system which facilitates your democratic right to participate in the political process.”
Sign up for an free NowPolling.ca account and see how your opinions jibe with your fellow electors.
Despite the optimism I held from watching the debates and CBC engaging X Challenge debate (with a cameo by happyfrog pal Chris Livingstone of EPIC Sustainable Living Expo), the results were a split left and a stronger minority government for the Conservative Party. Ugh.
The solution which has come out of the election with some vigor is proportional representation. You can learn more about this at Fairvote.ca but briefly, this means a House of Commons which reflects the popular vote rather than the minority winner from the patchwork of ridings.
Here’s Fairvote’s statement about the recent election:
As usual, the first-past-the-post system played havoc with voters’ intentions. The Green Party, western Liberals, the NDP and urban Conservatives were among the political victims. The Parliament voters tried to create would have looked quite different from what the voting system gave us. Read the Fair Vote Canada press release.
The impetus for many to rally behind this is seeing the Greens leap up to just shy of 7% of the popular vote yet get no seats while the NDP led the Bloc Quebecois in the popular vote but trailed in the seats.
Another related idea is to vote for your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice to form a “run-off” in each riding with the lowest candidate dropped and the votes recounted until a candidate had over 50% of the vote rather than the “first past the post” system now.
Whichever way you feel, it is a big question for Canadians and there is a movement for a voting referendum to encourage *more* democracy.
Registering is the critical first step. Next up, voting! If you are from the USA, you should have received your ballot already – if not, get on the phone to the county auditor in your last county of residence.
If you have received it, fill it out and get it in the mail or drop it off at the US Embassy. Unlike mailing from within the USA, you gotta pony up for an international air mail stamp.
For Demo-politicos seeking bonding in Canada, consider hanging out with the Democrats Abroad in Vancouver or via email. They are likely to be hosting a results viewing party for a big Nov. 4th.
CBC using Twitter
Some netizens have noticed the new happyfrog_ca Twitter account. Like many new web apps, this is a bit strange to explain at first – basically 140 character mini-thoughts.
The recent General election provided a good example as CBC followed the chatter via Twitter as voters watched the Leader Debates and flowed out a stream on collective consciousness with their off the cuff, candid reactions to the Q&A flowed to OrmistonVotes Twitter account.
If you aren’t using Twitter, it’s free and fun. If you are, follow happyfrog_ca and pay attention to #vanvotes and other keywords (known as “hashtags” and when preceded with a # sign) to keep a pulse on what the people are feeling/thinking/expressing right now – all in haiku-like length.