From: Rev.Brother John Allen West. C.O.U.
#8 Arthurs Road R.R.1
British Columbia Canada.
To: The People of British Columbia
Her Excellency, The Governor General of Canada,
Her Excellency, The Lieutenant Governor of B.C.,
Editors of Local and Provincial Newspapers,
The Premier of British Columbia,
Attorney General of B.C.
Chief Electoral Officer of B.C. S.D.G.
Mr. Gordon GibsonDear Sir/Madam,
The chicanery of the Campbell government, has now become obvious to even the most casual observer of the provincial political scene. The “terms of reference” given to Mr. Gordon Gibson, the Cabinet-appointed so-called “constitutional expert” for the purposes of electoral reform, and a “citizens’ assembly were clumsily designed to ensure a Liberal government mandate until at least 2008-2009.
These terms of reference in this proposed legislation are so contrary to the intent and provisions for fairness in the Elections Act that it immediately calls for the resignation of the Cabinet. It is a fact that proposed Legislation also requires the signature of the Lieutenant Governor in order to be passed into Law. It is Her excellency’s primary function to ensure government business requiring her sign-off is in accord with the intent of the provisions of any Act. Should this flawed Liberal document be passed into Law over her Signature, then the Lieutenant Governor is also called upon to resign.
Mr.Gibson’s “report” which has now been made public, is without any significant input from the general public. However the public is aware of the Constituent Assembly idea that is part of the NONE-OF-THE-ABOVE proposal, which has been placed before both the public and the government, present and previous, for more than 7 years.
Elements of this widely understood idea have been plagiarized, misunderstood and diluted by the Liberal party for their obvious advantage.
Certainly the proposed legislation undermines the Function of the Chief Electoral officer, who is mandated under the Elections Act to make recommendations for changes to the Act. It is precisely this undermining of an existing Act , which renders the Liberal government’s proposal ultra viries, outside their authority. If the present government desires to change legislation to ensure their continuance in office through future elections by mean of adopting parts of a good idea and blind-siding the public’s efforts to bring about electoral reform, then they must get the one-party Legislature to enact a new Elections Act, and hope that is not contravening the Constitution of Canada. But this current proposal for the “citizens’ assembly” is now illegal and immoral.
Their proposed legislation flies in the face of the provisions of the Elections Act. This Act calls for an “all party” Elections advisory committee, comprised of two people from each party which ran a sufficient number of candidates in the last election and includes the Liberal, N.D.P., Green, Marijuana, and perhaps several other parties.
Mr.Gibson’s expensive report fails to provide any simple or clear method for creating a pool of non partisan people from which representatives for this so called “citizens’ assembly” can be randomly selected. The shaky idea proposed, that random selection is to be made from the current voters list is ludicrous, because most people who bother to register to vote are party supporters, and the same bickering and left and right adversarial struggle will be carried into the deliberations of the “citizens’ assembly”.
People who are dissatisfied with party-supported candidates will be brought back into expressing their ideas at the ballot if there is a NOTA option for them on the ballot. When choosing NOTA on the ballot, they understand that there is a very real, if remote, possibility that they will be randomly chosen themselves to fulfill the role of constituency representative. Secrecy in voting will be maintained by revealing only the names of those chosen from the NOTA pool who agree to fulfill the role.
A voluntary willingness to serve would ensure that people who felt themselves incapable of personally fulfilling the representative role at the time, but still preferred randomly selected non-partisan candidates, could vote NOTA, and stand aside.
In the event that a majority of seats in the Legislature are held by none-of-the-above randomly chosen candidates, then a CARETAKER GOVERNMENT comes into being with the sole purpose of ensuring individual and collective well-being.
The Constituent Assembly proposal in NOTA suggests gender balance in representation by randomly selecting a man and woman from each riding. This will encourage thoughtful participation by many more people in the good management of collective affairs, which is what government without partisan hoopla should become.he NOTA option also allows individuals to retain their sovereignty, that is, their choice-making abilities, by encouraging official polls to be undertaken by the Chief Electoral Officer, who is already empowered and equipped to do so.
Referenda would give the people the final authority for changes in legislation, a proposal which has been offered since the time of the Barrett government and is yet to be adopted by any party. Historically, 83% of the electorate voted for the use of referenda, introduced by the Social Credit government of Mr. Vander Zalm, but following governments, specifically the NDP, have never properly introduced this form of direct democracy.
The Constituent Assembly of a Caretaker Government would clarify trends then prioritize directions toward well-being through public official polls. A men’s and a women’s circle would meet separately and then come together to ensure consensus around proposed legislation. This would then go to referenda for endorsement and people’s authority, thus ensuring a people’s direct and participatory democracy.
It is of some credit to Mr. Campbell that he has already made an effort to correct the evident inadequacies in Mr.Gibson’s report by doubling the number of representatives to achieve gender balance. However, the Cabinet appointment of a Chairman already destroys the hope for raising the quality of equality. The lid is also firmly put on the box of electoral reform by the quite arbitrary demand by the Liberals that any reform conform to the “Westminster form of Government” - whatever that is supposed to mean to the Canadian public.
One way to ensure a fair and equitable engagement of the public is through the Election process by the simple addition of a Box marked None of the Above on the Ballot Form. . Should the number of NOTA votes exceed the votes cast for the other leading candidate, then what follows is a random selection of a man and a woman from this pool of non partisan electors who have chosen this option.
Under the Elections Act the only requirement to be a candidate is that of being a registered voter. British Columbians are by and large a well-educated and intelligent people who would rise to the occasion if chosen by lot to represent their constituency. Having voted for the NOTA Option and this random Form of Selection, representatives so chosen would not be encumbered with party political baggage and would likely have their Common sense intact. This N.O.T.A. option is so simple that it defies re-definition, and is well within the Canadian Constitution. It would be a very good way to encourage people to get on the voters list who have never been on it before and would provide an option to spoiling a ballot.
There is a remote chance that the Random-Selection System would occasionally throw up incompetent people but with a man and a woman from each constituency the chance of them both being morons is slim. Seeking Consensus towards individual and collective well-being would obviate the partisan squabbling of professional power grabbers. Also it would bring about a new opportunity for an electoral reform in time for the next election and would cost the Tax payer nothing.
The Liberals are proposing to spend $5million on an inherently unworkable”citizens assembly”, whose sole purpose is to prepare a referendum suggesting some form of electoral reform “should they consider it necessary,” and are “able to agree on the wording.”( Quotes from Mr.Gibson) Some Hope.!! This is a public relations fraud of the first magnitude by the Liberal government. Thinking people who are non-partisan should be blowing whistles furiously to prevent this manipulation of Electoral Reform, designed to ensure political advantage for a party holding a massive majority without benefit of an official opposition.
All of which I offer for your consideration in the spirit of Individual and Collective Enlightenment.
Yours in the Love of Knowledge and Truth.
John Allen West.