Municipal democracy could use some innovation in Canada.  Local elections suffer from the lowest levels of turnout and our elected councils are deeply unrepresentative of the diversity we see in our neighbourhoods. Council members are disproportionately older, white and male. And with First-Past-the-Post, thousands of Council Members across Canada are serving without a definitive mandate. It's normal for a Mayor to "win" a race in Canada, with less than 50% of the vote - or even less than 30%.

Our voting system is a big part of the problem. In fact, Canada is the only member of the OECD that uses First-Past-the-Post for all levels of government.  It's time we joined the modern world! But there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to local democracy. There are many modern voting systems to choose from, including ranked ballots (San Fransisco, Minneapolis, New York City), proportional ranked ballots (Cambridge, MA) or Mixed Member Proportional (Berlin and London). 

From Victoria to Iqaluit to St John's, each municipality has their own unique needs, demographics and history.  That’s why our local councils need flexibility and tools to maximize participation and diversity.  If cities have Local Choice, then they can begin to experiment with democratic reform. Change always starts local!

This is where you come in.  We've just launched our own Amazing Race, challenging all of our supporters across the country to organise in their own province or territory to secure Local Choice.

These are the twelve "legs" of a Local Choice advocacy campaign:
 

Leg 1: Learn about Ranked Choice Voting!  Check out our LondonLeads booklet, and skim through online resources like this, this and this. And, of course, this!

Leg 2: Find a few allies and supporters. Start to organise. (Get in touch with us - we'll help get you started!)

Leg 3: Build a larger list of supporters, endorsements, media friends and political allies.

Leg 4: Recruit a municipal Councillor who will put forward a motion, asking the province for Local Choice.

Leg 5: Speak to other Councillors, asking for their support.

Leg 6: Win the vote at Council!

Leg 7: Build support from other municipal councils.

Leg 8: Recruit an MPP / MLA to introduce provincial legislation.

Leg 9: Build multi-partisan support in the legislature

Leg 10: Mobilise all your supporters, allies and donors.

Leg 11: Win the vote.

Leg 12: Celebrate!!

 

We're here to help you with every step!!





         


 

 

Currently in 1st Place: Ontario!

Ontario completed all twelve legs of the Local Choice race, with the introduction of the Municipal Elections Modernisation Act in 2016. (CBC. Toronto Star). This was Canada's first ever Local Choice legislation.

Two years later, London City Council becoming the first government in Canada to actually ditch first past the post. The results were incredible.  More cities were planning to switch to ranked ballots (including Burlington, Kingston and Cambridge), and active campaigns were growing in Toronto and Ottawa. Instead, Team Ontario was given a U Turn card by Premier Doug Ford when he decided to ban the use of ranked ballots province-wide - even though his own party used ranked ballots to elect him as leader. 🙄  So Ontario is back to Leg 8.

The good news for Team Ontario, is that all three opposition parties have promised to bring Local Choice back to Ontario, as soon as possible!

    

       

 



Currently in 2nd Place: BC!

British Columbia is close behind Ontario!  They're on on Leg 7, after Vancouver Councillor Christine Boyle successfully moved a motion in February 2021. 

Team British Columbia includes volunteers from Fair Voting BC, Local Choice BC, 123 Vancouver and FairVote Vancouver.

Vancouver City Council has repeatedly asked for local choice, but has so far been ignored by both NDP and Liberal governments.  To date, only the BC Green Party has endorsed modern elections.


 

Currently in 3rd Place: New Brunswick!

A small group of volunteers have come together in New Brunswick to push for democratic reform at both the provincial and the municipal level!

They're called Fair Voting for New Brunswick, and you can connect with them on Facebook or through their website.

Get involved!  The Provincial Coordinator is Vivian Unger ([email protected])

 


Currently in 4th Place: Newfoundland & Labrador!

The Newfoundland and Labrador NDP put Local Choice in their official election platform in 2020. That puts NL on the Amazing Race map. But without a citizen-led advocacy group pushing... they haven't formally entered our race. Stay tuned!




We're tracking which provincial parties in Canada
have endorsed our call for local choice:


We're recruiting 
you, to help push your province or territory towards Local Choice.  Get in touch!! We'll connect you with your local team and we'll help you out, every step of the way.

 


                    

 

 

 

 

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Showing 4 reactions


commented 2021-11-05 11:52:14 -0400 · Flag
We need this idea to be more know. We humans like to buy merchandise so they should be merchandise about this. I know I would buy a t-shirt.
commented 2021-05-02 08:39:02 -0400 · Flag
“Digital content access service” sounds good to me. The board game visual on https://www.unlockdemocracy.ca/local_choice does too. What if there was a game (online, of course) for running Canada that became so popular that people decided to use it instead of the sclerotic federal system we have?

jme/smoke dept
commented 2021-04-26 18:24:04 -0400 · Flag
To protect ourselves from that industry that facilitates the spread of lies and scams designed to deceive and exploit, we need to get over the anti-socialism mind set and pass legislation to create and fund an independent publicly financed digital content access service.

We need a publicly funded service that is a combination of Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc, minus the surveillance and the advertising.

The public service should give everyone access to everything and at the same time pay for production of the content.

This service should automatically pay micro-payments to the copyright owners when their content is being accessed by the audience. Importantly each individual should have a manual option to claw back to the service those micro-payments they have triggered through their use if they deem the content to be unworthy or inappropriate. This manual clawback option should severely discourage those who may want to profit from deception and manipulation.

Any assumption that a public service could not do a better job and leave us with more money in our pockets should be explained with financial data.

Thank you for your work and please give some thought to writing about this.
published this page 2021-02-16 17:15:32 -0500