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Thursday, October 07, 2004

This post is mostly about voting 

So the City of Vancouver is about to ask its citizens to vote on whether they want a ward system to replace the at-large council system which the city currently uses. Mercifully, I live two municipalities away, so I don't have to make an excuse for missing the civic plebiscite on the 16th.

The entierety of left-leaning politics in town, from the Mayor to the Georgia Straight to Mike Harcourt have come out firmly in favour of wards, apparently on the basis that what they have done for Los Angeles, Detroit, and Washington D.C., they can do for us. Forgive my suspicions that they figure this would cement the current COPE majority on council, since the west side of town would no longer the gain the unfair advantage of having an overabundance of citzens who bother to vote, thus ensuring their interests are well-represented in city hall. The nerve! Exercising franchise! It must be racist! Or something. The accusations (it hurts minorities, it's unconstitutional, &c.) are weird. I'm not sure if the proponents believe this, or just believe there will be political gain to be had.

The thing that surprises me is that this is the same gang calling quite vociferously for some form of proportional representation at the provincial level. of course, in some key ways, the current at-large system has much more similarity (though some notable differences) to current pro-rep systems. Meanwhile, the proposed wards are are a perfect equivalent to the current federal and provincial systems of electing MPs and MLAs.

I think the move to a ward system represents a move to a slightly less perfect form of democracy. This isn't an entire province, or even counry, where ridings are a consequence of having vast swathes of territory to represent. Vancouver can be traversed by bicycle in less than an hour in virtually any direction. It's not a challenge to check out something happening two neighbourhoods away.

But I'm going to leave off. Port Moody is in the throes of dealing with some major developments, notably recreating Rocky Point, facing some sort of upcoming rapid transit system, the reconstruction of Murray St. for the purpose of making traffic go faster, and a lot of development.

More some other time.

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