Across BC voting is decreasing in all levels of elections—federal, provincial and municipal. Voter turnout in federal and provincial elections is now below 60 per cent, but more dramatically we are seeing many municipal elections in which only 20 to 30 per cent of people go out to vote. What is happening in communities where 70 to 80 per cent of READ MORE
Jamie Biggar’s Dinner Plenary at the Deepening Democracy Civic Governance Forum 2013: “In order to be able to address the massive challenges that are facing our society, we have to work on this crisis of declining trust. We need to bring people together, and build social trust, so that we can take collective action, and move from READ MORE
E-Voting was used in the 2012 Halifax Municipal Election Electors received municipal notices in the mail before the start of advance voting. Security codes and other information were in those letters, which included the site of community voting stations for those who plan to cast ballots in two weeks. The civic and school board elections READ MORE
Mordenites will again be getting more opportunities to share their views with the mayor and council in the months ahead. In addition to the weekly meet with the mayor sessions, Morden’s municipal leaders will offer another open forum this fall providing a chance for residents to speak with council without the formalities of a regular council READ MORE
Abbotsford principal Dexter Horton is cancel-ling his school’s monthly newsletter as part of an effort to improve communications with parents buy delivering more frequent messages to Clayburn middle school parents using Face-book, Twitter and school blogs. He hopes these messages will draw more parents into the school to find out what’s going on, meet the teachers, discuss their READ MORE
Inspired by Toronto civic activist Dave Meslin’s TED Talk The Antidote to Apathy, Pemberton villager staffers set out to dramatically redesigned its public notices covering development applications, zoning and Official Community Plan amendments so residents can more easily understand them, and respond. “We’ve received a lot of feedback from different community groups with compliments saying how they READ MORE
Citizens are encouraged to take advantage of the City of London’s efforts to gather input when it comes to creating a vision for London’s future through the ReThink London project. The city is asking London residents to share their ideas on how to make the city a better place to live, work, play and visit through READ MORE
The Centre for Civic Governance presents: Catalyzing Conversations: Innovative Strategies for Engaging the Public Saturday, March 17th, 2-4pm Delta Bessborough Hotel, Kelsey Room Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Tickets $30 Featuring presenters: Philippe Leclerc, Interactive Communications Manager, City of Regina Phillipe Leclerc has been working in the Interactive field for 13 years. His work as Interactive Communications Manager READ MORE
This past year, city councils in Toronto and Calgary initiated Participatory Budgeting processes, to allow citizens more of a voice about where their city’s money goes. In Calgary 23,000 people took part in the process. Other communities, such as Victoria, are watching closely and talking about possibilities for engaging their citizens. Participatory Budgeting is being READ MORE
Preliminary calculations for ballots cast in Saturday’s municipal election show that only 29.51% of eligible voters cast ballots. The municipality of Greenwood had the highest voter turnout at 69.84% and Chilliwack had the lowest with 17.50 %. Read more at CivicInfo BC.
” low voter turnout in municipal elections means that only a small proportion of community members are choosing the path for the entire community.” – Charley Beresford Occupy the Ballot Box Op-Ed 3.pdf
In a newly released Centre for Civic Governance poll, 67.1% of British Columbians surveyed said they would be in favour of their municipality adopting a living wage bylaw which would ensure that all directly-employed city staff, as well as staff contracted by the city to work on service contracts are paid a locally calculated living READ MORE
Fabrice Murtin, an OECD economist in Paris, and Romain Wacziarg, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, compared 74 countries’ democracy scores from 1870 to 2000 with their educational attainment. The study found that primary education had a far greater Impact on participating in democracies than did income. The authors suggest that primary READ MORE
Hamilton Ontario has created a voluntary climate action charter that can be used by local individuals, businesses and organization to foster communication and commitment on addressing climate change. Signees are expected to keep informed on climate change issues, set targets, show leadership, report annually on climate change measures, and to educate fellow Hamilton residents. A READ MORE
Many on-reserve First Nations don’t have government issued id which has made voting difficult or impossible in the past. Saskatchewan’s chief electoral officer is changing the rules in time for the upcoming election allowing people to vote if they have a witness on hand to vouch for their identity. Read more at the CBC.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s plans to replace a neighbourhood-oriented plan for Toronto’s waterfront with a commercialized zone that included shopping centres, a Ferris wheel, and a monorail received a flood of criticism from the public and the majority of fellow council members. Ford is now agreeing to stick with the original plan, but to speed READ MORE
The Cameroon Councils Against Climate Change Network are working together to combat climate change. Loss of agricultural land to reoccurring droughts has taken its toll on many Cameroon communities and a top-down government approach failed to address the different realities each community faced. This new network “will enable local councils to exchange ideas and experiences READ MORE
Vancouver city council has approved a motion to introduce on-line voting in time for the upcoming municipal election in the fall. The motion was introduced by councillor Andrea Reimer who stated, “There are risks to online voting, but there are also huge risks to having so few people participating in the political process, and particularly READ MORE
Mark Lakeman of Portland’s City Repair seems to think so. He explains that when examining a new project most city staff, consider liability first, rather than the merits of the project. Cities are more focused on risk aversion than innovation and it is holding back creativity and community building. Read more in the Tyee .
A recent poll conducted by Focus Canada shows that Canadians are more supportive of gay marriage and abortion than ever before and are less supportive of capital punishment. "Focus Canada’s survey finds Canadians’ top spending priorities to be education, health care, elderly programs, the environment and reducing child poverty." Read Jeffrey Simpson’s editorial in the READ MORE
In a push to increase Alberta’s power grid, the Conservative government has introduced several pieces of legislation that concentrate power into the hands of government while severely limiting, or in some cases eliminating, individual land rights. These draconian policies may result in new party governing the province. Read story in the Tyee .
Parliament is in the process of drawing up a new electoral map, but a bill that would have awarded more seats to Ontario, Alberta and BC is being shelved. The original decision to give these provinces more seats was based on recent census numbers that showed large population increases in urban and suburban areas. Pressure READ MORE
Mayor, Dianne Watts of Surrey BC, has just won fourth place in the World Mayor Project . The project honours mayors from across the globe who’ve made their cities better places to live.
The City of Calgary has just released a poll that shows the number of people who support an increase in property taxes to cover services has jumped from 48% in 2009 to 55% in 2010. The survey also showed that 94% of citizens thought the overall quality of services in Calgary is good. Read article READ MORE
Listen to newly elected Calgary Mayor, Naheed Nenshion, talk to Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC radio’s The Current , about pluralism, community diversity, and about his mayoral campaign that reached out to young voters, used social media and worked hard to engage citizens on civic issues.
The BC Local Elections Task Force delivered its recommendations on improving local government elections yesterday. In their recommendations they highlighted the need for expense limits on local election campaign participants and the need for sponsorship information on all election advertising. Despite pressure from business groups the task force also recommended that corporations not be given a READ MORE
In an effort to increase turnout at the polls, Alberta Liberals are proposing a $50 tax credit for those who vote in the provincial election. The proposal is part of a 12-point strategy to increase accountability and effectiveness in government. Read the full story in the Globe and Mail .
On October 2, 2009, Gordon Campbell announced the creation of the Local Government Elections Task Force to make recommendations for legislative changes intended to improve the electoral process for local government elections across the province. Read more about the Task Force here .
Youth environmentalist and filmmaker Slater Jewell-Kemker spoke out at the Anti-Prorogation Rally at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on January 23rd. Watch the her speak on YouTube .
George Heyman, Executive Director of Sierra Club BC, ends the “Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament” rally with a stirring speech on what our democracy really means. Over 1000 people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery January 23 for the rally. Watch the speech on YouTube .
In the wake of failed climate negotiations in Copenhagen, more people are looking to bottom-up approaches to climate activism. However, these small-scale contributions will not be enough to successfully address global climate change. The poor nations, who are the true victims of climate change, should propose the international framework necessary to target this global problem. READ MORE
Jamie Biggar is a student at the University of Victoria and member of the Canada Youth Delegation. She attended the climate change conference in Copenhagen, and wrote a letter to environmental law professor Michael M’Gonigle regarding her experiences and insights. Read the full letter in The Tyee .
The Sunshine Coast town of Gibsons has earned an award for livability from the International Awards for Livable Communities. The award recognizes Gibsons’ sustainable development practices and a unique geo-exchange district energy system, which will use below-ground thermal energy to supply heat to residential and commercial buildings. Read the full story on Canada.com .
UBC students have criticized Translink’s failure to represent campus residents in transit planning processes. The UBC campus, which has a population of 11 000, is currently the second greatest transit destination in the region, and members of the UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS) are asking for an elected member of the Mayor’s Council to represent READ MORE
YOU ARE BRILLIANT, AND THE EARTH IS HIRING” – Paul Hawken Community Earth Councils (CECs) are groups of elders (50+) and youth (16-28) working together to address global environmental and social challenges at the local level. CECs build community, helping young people find meaning and purpose while providing elders with a way to READ MORE
This book, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), highlights the important role that the public plays in ensuring that high-quality public services are provided and shared public policy goals are achieved. It provides guidance of how to ensure public participation and putting open and includsive policy making into practice, and includes READ MORE
COOL 2012 is a nation-wide initiative aimed at educating North Americans on the importance of getting compostable products out of landfills. It is an education campaign comprised of tools, materials and public policy suggestions designed to achieve this goal in communities across North America. Find out more information at the COOL 2012 website .
The campaign has been produced for The Municipal District of Aalborg in Denmark in association with the North Jutland Police and The Danish Cyclists Federation. Watch the video here.
This policy brief, by Christopher J. Bruce of the Institute for Advanced Policy Research at the University of Calgary, analyses two public involvement processes in Alberta, imagine Calgary (2006) and the Banff Bow Valley Study (1996). Bruce looks at the lessons to be learned from these two processes about how formal consensus-building processes might work READ MORE
This presentation was given at the 2006 BCSTA Academy by MaryLynne Rimer, Chair of the Saanich School Board and Dr. Keven Elder, the Superintendent of Saanich School District. It provides some background and information on: Saanich School District’s school closure process and the lessons learned from that process; how the school district engaged the community; READ MORE
The Citizen Participation Toolkit offers various types of information on citizen participation in local governance and maintains a database of cases from all over the world of participatory governance, including tools used and lessons learned. In this way, local authorities and civil society organisations can learn from each others’ experiences. The database is searchable by region, scale, focus, and READ MORE