Sal Vetro: B.C. First Party aims to bring direct democracy to our province
The B.C. First political movement is committed to changing our system of government. A system that could have avoided such fiascoes as fast ferries and the giveaway of them by the present government to make political points, the sale of B.C. Rail to the Americans, toll bridges for profits to private corporations, run-of-the-river projects to profit General Electric, the HST and the millions spent by government and big corporations promoting it, smart meters without one ounce of consultation, and the list goes on.
We’re not running in the upcoming election to govern or oppose, we’re simply wanting to create a voice, plant the seed, and with your help over the next few years, carefully plan and build an organization, and be ready for the next time. Even if we elected only one member, we will have a voice. We’re not running a full slate of candidates. We’ll run in those constituencies where presently we have a nucleus to build on and where we have a more receptive media. If you have an outstanding person in your constituency that is willing to be a candidate for B.C. First in this upcoming election, please ask them to contact us immediately.
In short, our goal is to develop for B.C. a smaller, more efficient, less wasteful, less intrusive system of government, similar to the Swiss system of direct democracy. A system where the MLAs are answerable to the people, not a political party, a premier, corporations, unions, or some other special interest group. Our first move would be to restrict political donations to individuals and limit them to a maximum of $1,000 per year.
We do need your help. Join B.C. First, promote our goals and objectives on the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, or at house parties. Donate $100 and your cost is only $25, as the government will issue a $75 tax credit that you can deduct directly from the income tax you pay.
Change starts with you and I; let us begin now. The old political parties will only put us on the same “merry-go-round” and everything stays the same.
Mar 31, 2013 at 4:48am
Dear Sal, Can you be more specific about what you mean with "similar to the Swiss system of direct democracy"?
Switzerland has a parliament (national council) and uses referendums once in a while (12 questions in 4 referendums in 2012 of which 4 questions were adopted). US congress introduced 3914 bills of which 61 were adopted.
Participation in any election has dropped below 50% in Switzerland, so any vote can be approved by 25% or less of the electorate. I am sure that is not what you mean with Direct Democracy.
But there are little gems in the Swiss system: any proposal that gets 100,000 signatures (that is less than 2% of the registered voters) will have to be considered in a referendum. That is a beautiful idea.
But the most beautiful part of the Swiss system is not used to its fullest. A random sample of the population has to show up to count the votes. If the referendum would be replaced by asking this randomly selected group to just vote for the Swiss population, the result would be closer to the will of the people then the referendum result. That is what I would call direct democracy.
The Information and democracy blog proposes a system that takes the best elements of the Swiss system but turns it into a model that is manageable.
Agile reform is the way to introduce direct democracy. Success with your campaign.
Mar 31, 2013 at 11:54am
Hi Sal. First a disclosure. I'm the leader of a new party called Unparty. I think you and I briefly met at that Elections BC info session some months ago. I like what you are trying to do; however, I believe it is very tough to come in with a new blueprint and say here's how it should be. You are asking large numbers of people to work towards a distant goal that may or may not help them. But, I might be wrong. Maybe there's a mass appetite for the Swiss model. I wish you luck.
Guy, your random sample idea is cool. Wikipedia has an article on sortition. I also happened to write a large piece on this recently. If you wish to discuss, you can contact me through a google search of unparty. Cheers.