Most of my blogging the past month has been on the Vote Kamloops campaign web site. Glad to be back today with my thoughs on an incredible experiment in democratic change in British Columbia - the Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform.
Premier Gordon Campbell and his team should be heartily congratulated for establishing the Assembly, 160 BC residents chosen at random from the voters list. The Assembly's mandate is to assess if there should be any changes in BC's current 'first past the post' electoral system and to recommend a news system, if they see fit.
An Assembly public hearing was held in Kamloops on Thursday and I had the opportunity to present among about 15 other people on my own view that a mixed member proportional representation electoral system would be better. It was so exciting to be presenting to a panel of 'ordinary people', a citizen talking to fellow citizens. Much of the audience already had set agendas, and there was some slightly heated discussion, but the process was overall truly wonderful.
One seemingly small, but actually quite momentous, change we need to make in our political discourse: we need to better respect other's points of view. A well spoken gentleman named Marc Gregoire made a presentation to the panel and he did make some contentious points. Instead of dismissing them out of hand, as some in the audience loudly did, we should spend some time thinking about them and seeing where there may be valuable lessons to be learned.