Canadians – Go Vote!

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Slap on that mask and get out to you local voting location! This election may be the most. boring in a long time, but it’s important to exercise this very important aspect of democracy. Check out the recap of the election on Wikipedia. Remember this time voting may take longer than normal due to the pandemic.

Over at Settlement.org they have an overview of what you need to vote:

To vote in a Canadian federal election you must be:

  • a Canadian citizen (temporary and permanent residents cannot vote)

  • 18 years old or older on election day

  • a resident in the electoral district

  • registered on the Voters List (also called the list of electors)

If you meet the first 3 requirements but are not on the Voters List, you must add your name to the list using the online voters registration service or by handing in a Registration Certificate at your local polling station or Elections Canada office.

Don’t like the way democracy is practiced in Canada and what to explore better, more democratic, ways to vote? We’ll, you should check out Teardown, it’s an absolutely fantastic book by Dave Merlin that explores tried and true alternatives to our current system.

Go vote to make things even gooder!

These 100 Debates Could Decide the Canadian Election

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Canadians are about to vote in the country’s 44th election and this election may finally be the moment when the nation votes thinking about a green future. From coast to coast to coast in the country there will be local debates about the environment and what the candidates will do to protect their ridings. These 100 debates are back after the very successful first run of the format last election. The debates are run by GreenPAC which is an organization that wants people to care about having a sustainable and healthy future.

Providing a forum for voters to make informed decisions and for candidates to clearly communicate their policy plans are key, he added.

Laurel Collins, another returning debate participant and the NDP’s environment and climate change critic, said hundreds of people attended the 2019 debate in Victoria, B.C.

“It was such an important conversation for community members to hear from candidates about this critically important issue,” said Collins. “It’s so critical that candidates hear from community members about the issues that are most important to them.”

Read more.

It’s Time to Topple the Voting System

Modern democracy is under a lot of scrutiny this century as we’ve seen increased corruption by established political parties and a manipulation of bureaucratic processes to benefit the elite. The rise populism is a reaction to a perception that the electoral system isn’t reflecting the people, the system isn’t actually democratic in many people’s eyes. Let’s change that. Right now on Kickstarter you can back a project that’s trying to revive Canada’s electoral system by replacing first past the post (FPP) with a better system which represents all people. The broken FPP has already been replaced in some municipalities and that’s just the start.

But wait – there is hope! There actually HAS been successful experiments of voting reform in Canada, and the movement is GROWING. In 2018, London city council became the FIRST government in Canada to ditch first-past-the-post. Kingston and Cambridge Ontario also held successful referendums to reform their voting systems in time for the 2022 municipal elections.

YOU can make a difference. We’ve toppled three dominoes, but there are 444 municipalities in Ontario. Who’s next?

Read more.

Canadians: Go Vote!

vote sign
vote!

People in Hong Kong are currently in the streets fighting for a small amount of democracy, and similar struggles exist around the world. In too many places the concept of democracy is under attack and if you live in a country in which democracy is strong it still requires you to show up. Today, Canadians get to vote in their democracy.

If you’re a Canadian then you should get out there and vote today (if you haven’t already). Most political parties are trying to make the future better while one party is actively trying to make the country a worse place. Readers of this blog know that there are issues in this world that need to be addressed now. I encourage you to vote with growing inequity and the climate crisis in mind.

Here are the voting hours for each time zone. All times are local.

Newfoundland — 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Atlantic — 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Eastern — 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Central — 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Mountain — 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Pacific — 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Green PAC’s list of ecologically conscious candidates.
Evidence for Democracy survey results of parties.
CBC election day – what you need to know

Remember democracy doesn’t end at the ballot box, it merely begins there.

Go vote!

Less Open Debates for a More Open Democracy

Interview

The last few years of this bizarre decade have witnessed the resurgence of hate groups. Some of these hate groups are just nicer sounding Nazis and that’s a really bad thing. Since this site is dedicated to good news let’s take a look at how to deal with these ignoramuses. It’s often argued that we should debate people who espouse hatred because we can reason away their stupidity; however, that usually daren’t work. Instead hate groups gain legitimacy by being allowed to be a part of civil debates. The solution is to not to just ignore them but to shut them right out.

Curating debate participants is itself a political choice, because the terms of a debate inform public opinion as much as its content. I’ve lost count of the number of evenings I’ve spent in the role of “shouty leftist” juxtaposed with a set of Tory talking points in a suit, with ten or fifteen minutes (if we’re lucky, a whole hour) to decide whether poor children should be allowed to eat during school holidays or whether migrants deserve human rights. What matters is not who wins on the merits. What matters are the terms: who gets to speak, and who must be silent.

The far right are not themselves committed to the principle of free speech. Far from it. In my encounters with neo-nationalists and professional alt-right trolls I have found them remarkably litigious — more than willing to use money and legal threats to silence their more serious critics. I’ve been legally prohibited from describing racists as racists. That’s why you’ll see so many news outlets use phrases like “alleged white supremacist” or “the deportation policy, which critics have described as xenophobic.” It’s not because there’s serious doubt over where these people stand, it’s because journalists are silenced by threats from speech “defenders” who have the money and spite to shut down their critics. I will not be bullied by bad-faith actors trying to rules-lawyer my own principles against me into treating neo-Nazis with respect they don’t deserve.

Read more.

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