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Posts Tagged "campaign"

15Oct

North Vancouver woman says some disabled Canadians feeling left out of discussion during election campaign

by admin

Amy Amantea tuned in to the English-language federal leaders’ debate with modest hope there would be at least some discussion of issues relevant to disabled Canadians.

The first half of the campaign had passed with barely a reference, even from the party that had delivered a historic achievement in national disability policy. Earlier this year, the Liberals made good on a 2015 campaign promise when the Accessible Canada Act received royal assent, marking the first time any government had enacted accessibility legislation at the federal level.

The government estimates one in five Canadians over the age of 15 is disabled, and Amantea, who is legally blind, hoped leaders would use the Oct. 7 debate to address some of the many issues they face. But those hopes faded as the debate progressed, giving way instead to doubts about how Canada’s disabled residents would fare after the Oct. 21 election.

“We have a lot of very unique needs and circumstances in our community that don’t get addressed,” Amantea said in a telephone interview from Vancouver. “Just a nod, just a mention would have been kind of nice, but it was not to be.”

Amantea said that relative silence has persisted into the final week of the campaign, giving rise to concerns throughout Canada’s disabled community. Many fear that parties who fail to make mention of key issues facing disabled Canadians while courting votes may prove even more dismissive once those votes have been cast.

They point to party platforms and public pledges, most of which make scant mention of either the Accessible Canada Act or disability-specific measures on issues such as infrastructure, health and affordable housing.

The Liberals response to questions on disability policy largely focused on past achievements. Spokesman Joe Pickerill did offer some future plans, including doubling the disability child benefit, establishing a $40-million-per-year national fund meant to help disabled Canadians find work, and simplifying the process veterans use to access disability benefits.

The Green party did not respond to request for comment, and the People’s Party of Canada said its platform contained “no policy related to disabled persons.”

The NDP did not provide comment to The Canadian Press, but made several commitments to strengthen the Accessible Canada Act in a letter sent to an Ontario-based disability advocacy group.

The act, while widely acknowledged as a significant milestone, was also broadly criticized by nearly a hundred grass-roots organizations across the country as too weak to be truly effective. Such critiques continued even after the government agreed to adopt some Senate amendments sought by the disability groups, who hoped future governments would continue to build on the new law.

Only the NDP agreed to do so when approached by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, which contacted all major parties in July.

“The Liberals hailed this bill as a historical piece of legislation. But without substantial amendments, it is yet another in a long line of Liberal half-measures,” reads the NDP’s response. “New Democrats are committed to ensuring that C-81 actually lives up to Liberal party rhetoric.”

The Conservatives, too, pledged to “work closely with the disability community to ensure that our laws reflect their lived realities.” Spokesman Simon Jefferies also noted party members pushed to strengthen the act but saw their amendments voted down by the government.

The vagueness of these commitments troubles Gabrielle Peters, a wheelchair-user and writer.

“Canada’s approach to accessibility has been to grant it as a gift they give us rather than a right we deserve,” Peters said. “Now that we have the ACA, the concern is that the broader public and the government think the issue is resolved when this law is, at best, a beginning.”

Other disabled voters expressed concerns about the handful of relevant promises that have been put forward on the campaign trail. In addition to pledging expanded eligibility for the disability tax credit, the Conservatives have said they would implement a $50-million national autism strategy focusing on research and services for children. The NDP and Greens have followed suit with similar proposals and larger pots of cash.

While widely lauded among parent-led advocacy groups, some autistic adults view the proposals with skepticism.

Alex Haagaard, who is autistic and uses a wheelchair, said that while much modern disability policy including the ACA tends to apply a social lens, discussion of autism is still framed through the outmoded medical model that positions the disability as an ailment to be cured rather than a part of a person’s identity.

Haagaard said action is clearly needed to help parents seeking supports for their children and teachers working to integrate autistic students into their classrooms, but said current attitudes at the heart of the campaign rhetoric are troubling.

A national strategy, Haagaard said, also risks undermining the goal of broader inclusion for other disabled populations.

“That is counter to the goals of disability justice to silo autism as this individual condition that warrants this level of attention compared to other disabilities,” Haagaard said.

Like Amantea, Peters felt let down by the leaders debates, citing the prevalence of discussion around medical assistance in dying over other issues that affect disabled people. The subject is polarizing, with many advocacy groups and individuals asserting such legislation devalues the lives of disabled people and places them at greater risk.

Such a narrow focus, Peters said, shows all parties’ failure to reckon with or address the diverse, complex needs of an overlooked demographic.

“What strikes me as missing in policy and in this election is us,” she said. “Disabled people. The not inspirational, not motivational, not middle class, not white, disabled people of this country. In other words — most of us.”

26Sep

B.C. family of 5 living out of van draws attention at NDP campaign stop

by admin

CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. — For the past five months, 69-year-old Betty Nicolaye and her family of five have been on a desperate search for housing that has turned empty every time.

“Houses are selling like hot cakes around here,” she said Thursday after an NDP campaign announcement in Campbell River, B.C.  “One application after another, they keep telling us there are 80 people on the list and we never get any calls.”

In April, Nicolaye’s home of five years was sold and since then, she has applied to dozens of rental units but nothing has worked out.

She and her husband are on a pension, her one son has a disability and two others work as janitors. Together they can barely afford a five-bedroom home, which costs approximately $3,000 a month, but Nicolaye said the properties just aren’t available.

“It’s not good. It’s hard, but it’s harder being the mom because you are trying to be the tough person,” she said.

According to the latest census, the median income in Nicolaye’s home riding of North-Island-Powell River is $32,254, below the national average of $34,204. The average rent, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, is pegged at $833 a month.

Knowing she was facing an uphill battle for housing —  the toughest she’s experienced after 30 years in Campbell River — Nicolaye bought a “beat up motorhome” to provide temporary shelter for her kids, while she and her husband live in a tent. The family pays a dollar each for a shower at a nearby gas station and right now Nicolaye says they are currently living out of their van. 

“It’s been rough,” she said. “Now it’s so cold that you wake up in your bed and the blankets are wet, you don’t feel warm.”

Nicolaye is not alone in her unsuccessful search for housing in British Columbia. A lack of affordable homes and rental properties has been an issue in the province for years.

At an announcement in Campbell River Thursday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh re-committed to building 500,000 affordable homes within 10 years. He also pledged up to $5,000 in annual funding for roughly 500,000 households who are spending at least 30 per cent of their pre-tax income on rent.

“This will make the difference for families that are unable to pay their bills, for families that are making a tough choice between do they pay for their groceries or do they pay rent,” Singh said.

 “These are difficult choices that families are making — far too difficult for far too many families — and we’ll put an end to that.”

Nicolaye was at that announcement and said the party’s pledge would help people like her as long as more properties hit the market. She said she was not brought to the event by the party, but was encouraged to attend by a local Indigenous group.

“I don’t know how anyone can hear that story and not be heartbroken,” Singh told reporters travelling on his campaign bus after meeting her. “I think about her and I think that’s why we need to tackle housing and why we need to build half a million new houses but also why we need to do something immediately because for her, we couldn’t afford to wait.”

A report from the parliamentary budget officer said the current national housing strategy, introduced by the Liberals, would build 150,000 new affordable units, modernize 300,000 existing units and protect 385,000 community housing units.

With files from The Canadian Press

11Sep

338 ridings, 40 days, 1 vote: Election campaign kicks off

by admin

OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau has set in motion the 2019 federal election campaign.

On Wednesday morning, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette accepted his request to dissolve the 42nd Parliament, setting in motion Canada’s 43rd federal race, with campaigns in all 338 ridings.

It will be a 40-day race to the ballot box, with all party leaders crisscrossing the country in an effort to pitch themselves, their candidates, and their platforms to Canadians, before election day on Oct. 21.

Speaking to the media outside of Rideau Hall with a backdrop of Liberal supporters, Trudeau took the first opportunity to frame what the election will be about.

“This fall Canadians once again get to vote for the kind of Canada they want to live in. We’ve all got a choice to make, keep moving forward and build on the progress we’ve made, or go back to the politics of the Harper years,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau had a deadline of Sept. 15 to launch the campaign under new time limit rules passed since the last election, which kicked off four years, one month, and nine days ago.

Before visiting Rideau Hall, Trudeau joined his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in walking their three children to school.

This afternoon, Trudeau is departing for Vancouver, the same city he was in for the 2015 kickoff that resulted in his historic majority victory.

The main opposition party leaders also will address the media from strategically-selected locations across the country where they will respond to the election call, and offer their first real campaign messages.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will kick off his first federal election at the helm of his party from Trois-Rivieres, Que. Instead of flying directly in, however, fog has forced his plane to fly into Quebec City first, and the campaign will then travel by bus to the rally location. Before boarding his campaign plane in Ottawa ahead of the formal election call, Scheer took aim at Trudeau over the latest development in the SNC-Lavalin scandal. A new report in The Globe and Mail that published on the eve of the election call citing unnamed sources said the government has not lifted cabinet confidentiality for all witnesses, which has limited the RCMP’s examination of potential obstruction of justice in the handling of the Quebec construction and engineering firm’s prosecution.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is also embarking on his first campaign on the federal stage, will deliver his response to the election writs being issued from London, Ont. where he has already disembarked his campaign bus and was greeted by supporters.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will speak from her home territory of Victoria, where she’s looking to make big electoral gains; Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet will mark his party’s official campaign kickoff for more seats in the province, from Quebec City. People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier is beginning the first ever federal election for his team, from the Toronto area.   

The latest Nanos Research numbers show that the Liberals have a slight lead heading into the campaign, sitting at 34.6 per cent in the polls. The Conservatives have 30.7, the NDP are at 16.6, Greens are at 11 per cent, the Bloc Quebecois have 4 per cent, and the People’s Party are sitting at 1 per cent.

“We’ve got a tight race. There’s no majority government in sight right now, and it’s anyone’s game,” said pollster Nik Nanos.

Pre-campaign summer posturing

While the official campaign will last just over five weeks, the political positioning for votes has been underway all summer long. Parties have been ramping up their war rooms, testing out partisan attack lines, and unveiling campaign ads and slogans.

With the formal launch, expect the battling for votes to ramp up, more partisan mudslinging, contenders across the country knocking on doors and debating, as well as a daily offering of new platform proposals and policy ideas for Canadians to weigh when deciding who they’ll cast their ballot for.

New elections law, spending rules

Since the 2015 campaign there have been changes to the federal elections law. From new limits on third-party and foreign participation, to new measures aimed at boosting accessibility and voter participation.

There are also new campaign spending limits. Over the election, each registered party can spend approximately $28.1 million, while individual candidates can spend on average $110,000, but it varies depending on the riding. That means — should each party run a full slate of candidates — they can spend a combined total of approximately $65 million. Third-party interest groups have a spending cap at just under $512,000.

Party standings as of dissolution

Heading into the campaign the Liberals hold 177 seats, the Conservatives have 95, the NDP hold 39, the Bloc Quebecois have 10, and the Green Party has two seats. The 42nd Parliament also had eight independents as of dissolution. A party needs to win 170 seats for a majority government.

 

30Aug

Tessa Virtue steps into the style spotlight for new ‘uplifting’ fashion campaign

by admin

Growing up, Tessa Virtue faced no shortage of strong female role models.

“I was so lucky. I grew up with an incredibly strong grandmother, mother and sister,” Virtue says. “All three, independent, fierce, clever women who were hard workers, had goals and visions for themselves, and were really ambitious.”

“And, they didn’t apologize for those goals.”

The trio’s individual and combined influence left a Virtue with a sense of “limitless,” she recalls.

“I really believed that I could do or be anything,” she says with a smile.

While she didn’t pause to think much on it then, she’s now keenly aware of the fact that her inspirational upbringing, surrounded by a network of strong women who promoted the underlying message of “yes, you can!”, wasn’t always the case for other young girls.

“I didn’t realize that not everyone felt that way. That, not everyone felt that privilege,” she says.

The realization has been a contributing factor to the increased visibility of Virtue in media and advertisements in recent years — primarily those following the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics where she and ice-dancing partner Scott Moir stole the spotlight for their riveting routines — that allows fans and followers a glimpse into Virtue’s life that goes beyond her on-ice achievements.

“For whatever reasons, after the Pyeongchang games, there was a different awareness of both Scott and me … but it provided so many unique opportunities. And, hopefully I can have some kind of impact for young girls to look up to,” she says humbly. “I feel very privileged to be able to be considered any kind of role model.”

Olympic ice dance gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada hold up the Canadian flag after their winning performance at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games on Tuesday in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo: Paul Chiasson, Canadian Press)


Olympic ice dance gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada hold up the Canadian flag after their winning performance at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on Tuesday in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

Paul Chiasson /

Canadian Press

Her visibility on social media platforms such as Instagram, where she boasts a following of 364,000 and counting on her account @tessavirtue17, is one area where she works to constructively (and carefully) share her struggles and successes, in the hopes of leaving a positive impression on those who may happen to scroll by.

“I’m conscious of that. And I try to do that in a way that is authentic,” she says of fully realizing the scope of her role via social media and beyond. “I think, often, about how a nine-year-old girl would feel if she were to scroll through my Instagram. And, what messaging I’m sending, both objectively and subjectively. I think, ‘What kind of role model am I?’”

Focusing on the type of content she shares — positive messages and happy shots of herself attending events or with friends and family —  has kept her somewhat safeguarded from the rampant online trolling that plagues many celebrities online. And, when she does face negativity, she doesn’t allow herself to get too caught up in it.

“You put yourself out there and I think there is always vulnerability with that,” she says. “Whether that’s standing at centre ice and waiting for the music to start, or posting something on social media for everyone to criticize, you just have to hope that the good outweighs the bad.”

Her ambition to present a positive role model to young girls and women led her to a recent collaboration with the Montreal-based fashion brand RW&CO. The campaign, which sees her featured alongside Canadian actress Karine Vanasse and First Nations activist Ashley Callingbull, the first Indigenous woman to be crowned Mrs. Universe, aims to promote “powerhouse” working women, in various stages of their careers.

“The campaign is so in line with my messaging and the things that I’m trying to accomplish now, outside of sport,” Virtue says. “And it’s something that I can relate too, also.”

Virtue hopes people pick up on the collaborative, supportive air of the campaign stars and feel empowered to introduce that outlook into their own lives.

“The culture now of this competition that’s ingrained in us, to pit women against other women, and this unrealistic standard that we’re all held to — all these issues are pervasive,” she says. “We can only be stronger for women when we support one another.”

Speaking on a hot, sunny day in July at a studio space in Montreal during a brief break in shooting images for the campaign (with her mom looking on in support), Virtue reflected on how, at 30 years old, she’s reached a point in her life where she’s “transitioning,” personally and professionally.

“And I’m looking to other women to support and uplift me,” she says of the changes. “So, I think it’s really neat that (RW&CO. is) putting together, really, a movement to incorporate so many things. And, they’re not just talking the talk.”

To mark the release, the retailer will be running a contest for Canadians to nominate an inspiring woman in their lives. The winner will receive a donation to the charity of her choice.

In addition to providing a visual representation of strong female role models, the partnership provided Virtue and her campaign co-stars with the opportunity to donate a portion of their fee to a cause of their choice. Callingbull directed her share toward a shelter for Indigenous women and children, while Vanasse chose a women’s shelter in Montreal.

Virtue, chose to promote another passionate platform, highlighting her efforts as an ambassador for the Canadian organization FitSpirit, which works to promote and support physical activity and athletics programs for young girls.

“It’s something that is so close to my heart,” she says of the role. “Obviously, I’ve reaped the benefits of sport and activity. But not many girls, as it turns out, even have the resources available to them to be physically active or to maintain that as they go through high school. So, FitSpirit is connecting with schools and giving that accessibility to young girls and youth at a time when they might otherwise drop out our prioritize other things.”

“It’s an opportunity to be active and connect with other girls — and to realize the power that those lessons and the sense of building self confidence and self worth that will carry forward for them.”

Recalling a recent visit to a school with FitSpirit where she met with young girls in the program, she recalls, with evident pleasure, sharing her enthusiasm for athletics with the girls — and how she took a little bit of something away from the visit for herself, too.

“They were so curious and it’s so obvious that they’re capable of taking over the world,” she says of the energetic assemblage of youths. Needless to say, it left her feeling inspired.

“When we realize the powerhouse of that sisterhood and the camaraderie among women — there’s no stopping us,” she says.


Flash fashion: Style talks with Tessa Virtue

Canadian Olympian Tessa Virtue may be known more for her on-ice moves than her off-ice style — but, these days, the 30-year-old athlete and ambassador is putting a lot more emphasis on what she wears.

“I lived in either sweatpants or athletic wear,” she says with a laugh of her go-to uniform during her training days. “I was really of two extremes, which plays to my personality as a bit of an extremist. I was either in full-on workout wear or black tie. So, I didn’t have that middle range.”

But, now, as she ventures confidently into her next career adventures that see her stepping away from amateur sport, she says she’s having fun exploring her personal style as she spends more time in the “corporate sphere” and much less time on the ice.

“It has definitely evolved over time,” she says of her fashion sense. “Now, I would say my personal style is pretty classic and refined — with a bit of a twist. I like to have a bit of an edge to every outfit.”

Virtue recently took time away from her busy schedule to dish four tidbits about her personal style. Here’s what she had to say:

On how she chooses her outfits: “I definitely dress based on my mood. I like accessorizing differently. Having classic, quality pieces and mixing in graphic tee, a headband, a pair of funky boots or a belt and changing the outfit entirely.”

On here greatest style influence: “My mom has always shopped for me. I’m so lucky that I have an in-house stylist.”

On her MVP (most valuable piece): “I love a good blazer. Whether it’s jeans, a T-shirt and a blazer, or a power suit, I think that would be my staple.”

On her most cherished item: “My grandmother’s necklace.”

Postmedia News was a guest of RW&CO. in Montreal. The brand neither reviewed nor approved this article.

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7May

Adopt-A-School campaign raises record funds for B.C. kids

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This year’s Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-A-School campaign resulted in a record $923,774 being sent to 129 schools across the province to feed, clothe and provide for impoverished children and their families.

It is the largest amount distributed since the campaign began in 2011.

The money helps teachers and school staff who are dealing with children suffering from the effects of poverty and enables them to provide breakfast or lunch or food at weekends.

Since 2011 The Sun’s campaign has distributed $4,720,628 to hundreds of B.C. schools.

“This year our readers have responded magnificently. Their generosity has been overwhelming and everyone who helped us with a donation has my deepest gratitude,” said Harold Munro, editor in chief of The Vancouver Sun and Province.

“The plight of these children and their families is a major social issue. This newspaper’s editorial policy is that government must recognize there are thousands of children coming to school hungry everyday and do something to alleviate it,” said Munro.

“It should not be left solely in the hands of sympathetic teacher volunteers and the charity of the public.”


Steve Sorrenti, a youth worker at Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School, poses for a photo with some of the students attending his homework club. The school asked The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Adopt-a-School for money to help feed hungry teens who are coming to the school’s homework club for help and support. Photo: Richard Lam, Postmedia

RICHARD LAM /

PNG

Of the 36 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — an association of the world’s most economically advanced nations — only Canada doesn’t have a national program to feed hungry schoolchildren.

Last year the U.S. federal government’s National School Lunch Program spent $13.6 billion to feed impoverished children. This is in addition to its School Breakfast Program for needy children whose budget for this year is $4.2 billion.

Many of this year’s donors have supported the program for a number of years.

Murray Clemens, QC., whose staff in the law firm Nathanson Schachter and Thompson LLP has donated more than $100,000 over the years, said they do it because Adopt-A-School makes a “measurable impact” on the lives of children.

“Having a balanced meal makes a difference in these kids’ lives … we see it every year in the feedback from the schools,” said Clemens.

Former provincial cabinet minister Carole Taylor, another long time supporter who donated $60,000 this year, said hunger “undermines everything we need to do to help our children grow and learn and prosper.”

“It makes concentration in class impossible, affects physical and mental development and dramatically limits what our teachers can accomplish. It’s imperative we do what we can to feed our children,” she said.

While the majority of the Adopt-A-School money is sent to feed thousands of students who come to school without breakfast or with no lunch to get them through the day, it is also providing clothes or other necessities parents can’t afford such as prescription drugs, lice kits, or in some cases, weekend food.

The money pays for school trips for

children who would otherwise not share the same experiences as children from families better off financially.

More than a fifth of B.C. children live in poverty and many schools bear the brunt of this when children arrive unfed in the morning or without proper clothing and footwear for the weather.

Families existing on social assistance or minimum wage jobs in Greater Vancouver find it difficult to pay rent and still have sufficient money to cover other expenses and food. One parent with four children told The Vancouver Sun of trying to survive on $1800 a month in disability payments after paying over $1600 a month rent.

A number of schools use emergency funds from AAS to help families with weekend food when there is none at home.

A survey in one Vancouver secondary school found that 25 per cent of students had no food at home at least once a month.

This year $80,000 in emergency funds was granted to schools, while almost $15,000 was provided to help students who need transit, and almost $200,000 went to various other poverty mitigation programs.

Surrey schools received $437,275 and Vancouver schools were given $316,911 this year.

Surrey has the greatest number of school aged children in the province and many poor families seeking lower rent have moved there from Vancouver.

The following is a list of major donors who contributed this year:

PCI Developments, $30,000; Bridges Family Memorial Foundation; $10,000; John Pickford, $5000; Michael Terrell, $5,000; Catherine Howar, $5,000; Nathanson Schachter and Thompson LLP, $17,874; David Sidoo, $10,000; Diane Harwood Memorial Trust, $13,000; Dr. Joyce Chan, $10,000; G 10 Foundation, $6,000; Jack and Doris Brown Foundation, $10,000; Lohn Foundation, $50,000; John Fussell, $3,500; Vaughn Palmer, $3,500; McGrane-Pearson Endowment Fund, $10,000; Mayne Inc., $25,000; Schmelke Family Charitable Foundation,$10,000; Taylor Phillips Charitable Foundation Trust Fund, $60,000; Estate of William Douglas Leith, $38,353; Tracey MacKinlay, $10,000; Vare Grewal and friends $15,000; Ventana Construction Corp. $10,000; WIIFM Management Ltd., $29,000; Zenterra Developments Ltd., $10,000; Syd Belzberg, $25,000; Anoop Khosla and various companies, $10,000; Danielson Group Wealth, $3,000; John Montalbano, $6,500.

A number of other donors wished to remain anonymous.

Some like Don Wolfe of Transtar Sanitation Supply Ltd., ($10,000) made contributions to Langley School District Foundation or to schools directly.


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20Mar

BC to launch measles catch-up campaign with shots at schools, clinics

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16Nov

Vote No campaign calls to extend election reform vote due to low voter turnout

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The deadline for the referendum on electoral reform is in two weeks and, as the debate between first-past-the-post and proportional representation rages, some are calling for an extension.

The Vote No campaign has raised concerns about the referendum, saying an extension is needed because of the potential for low voter turnout and mail delivery disruption from the Canada Post strike.

“There are a lot of reasons for Elections B.C. to take action,” said Bill Tieleman, president of the No B.C. Proportional Representation Society.

His main concern is that, without a deadline extension, there simply won’t be enough votes on the issue.

As of Friday, less than 20 per cent of the ballots had been received by Election B.C. They are currently due on Nov. 30.

Less than 20 per cent of ballots have been received by Elections B.C. so far 9:50

“The volume of ballots to come anywhere close to 50 per cent would have to be massive, and there’s just no indication that is what is going on,” he told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC’s The Early Edition.

The high point of voter turnout is currently about 16 per cent in some ridings, Tieleman said, but that falls to as low as one-and-half per cent in others.

“We could have an extremely small fraction of people deciding what is really fundamental in our democracy — how we elect our representatives,” he said.

Whether B.C. voters cast ballots in the future for individuals, political parties or a mix will be determined in November’s mail-in referendum. (CBC)

Voter turnout

Previous referendums in B.C., like those on the electoral system in 2005 and 2009 or on the harmonized sale tax in 2011, all had a voter turnout of more than 50 per cent.

However, There is no minimum voter participation threshold for any referendum.

“As it is with every election, it’s the voters who turn out who get to decide,” said Bowinn Ma, an NDP MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale.

She’s an advocate for proportional representation in the hopes that it will increase voter turnout.  

“We’ve had abysmal voter turnout in elections in general which is why I’m so excited about proportional representation,” Ma said.  

“Generally, when we’re talking about voter response, it ultimately comes down to whether a  voter feels like the vote is important to them.”

Lack of engagement

Lack of voter engagement is at the heart of the matter, according to University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford.

“It doesn’t seem to me like there’s an overwhelming engagement on this issue,” Telford told Michelle Eliot, host of B.C. Today.

“That’s, I think, indicative of the very low return rate of the ballots so far … It may be the case that some people are either still deliberating or may be sitting on their ballots because of the postal worker issue.”

Elections B.C. says it is monitoring the Canada Post situation and, if there are significant delays or impacts on accessibility, extending the voting period is a possibility.

University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford on the proportional referendum and extending the deadline. Jake Fry, co-founder, Small Housing BC, and Rebecca Chaster, community planner at the City of Coquitlam, on tiny homes. 50:58

With files from The Early Edition and B.C. Today.


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