Category Archives : Public Engagement

Getting the Majority to Vote: Practical solutions to re-engage citizens in local elections

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 – 2013 Centre for Civic Governance Forum

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

Municipal E-voting Used in Halifax Municipal Election

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

Schools strive to open lines of communication

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

How one BC municipality is getting people to actually read public notices

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

Catalyzing Conversations: Innovative Strategies for Engaging the Public

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

Getting a Say in the City’s Budget

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

“Better primary schooling leads to a more robust democracy”

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 becomes first Ontario municipality to create a climate charter

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

Voting for on-reserve First Nations in Saskatchewan will be easier with new rules

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.

“Passionate Torontonians” put the brakes on Mayor Ford’s plans to add glitzy attractions to Port Lands

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

Cameroon creates network of councils to combat climate change

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

Canadian Values More Liberal than Ever Before

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

Alberta’s Conservatives’ Push to Expand Electrical May Backfire

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 .

Newly Elected Calgary Mayor Talks About the Youth Vote, Social Media and Encouraging Meaningful Dialogue on Civic Issues

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.

Local Elections Task Force Delivers its Recommendations

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

Beyond Copenhagen: what kind of bottom-up climate activism do we need?

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

Gibsons Named World’s Most Liveable Community

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 .

No mayor, no vote: UBC students criticize Translink structure

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

Focus on Citizens: Public Engagement for Better Policy and Services

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

A Tale of Two Cities: Public Participation Processes in Banff & Calgary

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

Engaging the Community: School Closures and Other Issues of Interest

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

Citizen Participation Toolkit

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