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Comment Form

LAST UPDATE January 26, 2015

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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What is demo-crazy you ask:

You get to beg for information through the Freedom of Information Act a couple of times because they need clarification, and then you are either told there is no such document or that it will cost $10,000 for the information.

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 democracy in which the power is exercised directly by the people rather than through representatives

definition above from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
pure democracy - (noun)
date: 1656 democracy

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About Petitions to Parliament or House of Commons

Sign Online Petition for "Open Government"'s Democracy Petition to Parliament regarding finances

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The term is both descriptive and prescriptive. Typically, the kinds of enhancements sought by proponents of e-democracy are framed in terms of making processes more accessible; making citizen participation in public policy decision-making more expansive and direct so as to enable broader influence in policy outcomes as more individuals involved could yield smarter policies; increasing transparency and accountability; and keeping the government closer to the consent of the governed, thereby increasing its political legitimacy. E-democracy includes within its scope electronic voting, but has a much wider span than this single aspect of the democratic process.

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The primary weakness of a legislature as a tool of social choice is the likelihood that legislators will vote their own preferences rather than represent the preferences of their constituents. Legislatures are a highly imperfect method of revealing and aggregating social preferences. But as we demonstrate, so are referendums.

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Some feel there is no real democracy.  Its more like a dictatorship, as described on our dictatorship web page.

If you would like to get involved and help with a petition for democracy, please contact us and let us know by filling out our contact form, and tell us how you can help.  We will reply and keep you updated with any information we can.  If you want to be on the email list please send us your email address at this same link.

We will post a petition letter in (.doc) format that you will be able to download later here on this web page, when we secure a good writer to help with the wording of the petition.  If you are a writer willing to donate your services for free, please fill out our contact form and let us know.

Don't think you can't help, because here is what you can do to help, and it really is just this easy:

If you are a writer we need someone to help word and write the petition.

If you are an elector, you can print out the pure democracy petition and distribute it to stores and other busy places of business, then pick up the form after its full of signatures and return it to us.  That is all there is too it.

There is no time limit as of right now to return the petition forms, as we are sure this will take some time (maybe a year depends on how hard we work at it).  Maybe we could say we need so many signatures and work towards that goal.  We could contact government and ask how many signatures they will need to effect change!  Does that sound like a good idea?? 

Let us know what you think by filling out this form and your comment will be posted to the net or fill out the contact form which emails us.

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People whose charter rights breached can win damages - CTV News - By: The Canadian Press - Friday July 23, 2010

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada says people whose charter rights are breached can win damages, even if there was no misbehaviour on the part of the authorities.

The high court unanimously upheld $5,000 in damages given to Alan Cameron Ward, a Vancouver lawyer who was strip-searched in 2002 when he was wrongly suspected of plotting to pie then-prime minister Jean Chretien.

The 9-0 decision sets out a framework for when damages should be allowed, and how big the damages should be.

"I conclude that damages may be awarded for charter breach . . . where appropriate and just," Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in her ruling.

"The first step in the inquiry is to establish that a charter right has been breached. The second step is to show why damages are a just and appropriate remedy, having regard to whether they would fulfil one or more of the related functions of compensation, vindication of the right, and or deterrence of future breaches.

"At the third step, the state has the opportunity to demonstrate, if it can, that countervailing factors defeat the functional considerations that support a damage award and render damages inappropriate or unjust. The final step is to assess the quantum of the damages."

She said damages have to be proportional to the seriousness of the breach and overturned a $100 judgment given to Ward to compensate for having his car towed as part of the police investigation.

Ward was also given $5,000 for false imprisonment, but that wasn't at issue in the case.

The ruling marks the first time the high court looked at monetary damages for violations of rights. It means that people whose rights have been infringed can seek damages even if they suffered no actual loss and even if the authorities acted in good faith.

The damages are meant to compensate for "physical, psychological and pecuniary" loss, as well as distress, humiliation and embarrassment.

Such damages also act as a deterrent to further breaches of charter rights, the ruling explained.

But the ruling also sets out ways to make sure the country's courts aren't overrun with claimants arguing for money for every little thing.

"The state may establish that an award of charter damages would interfere with good governance such that damages should not be awarded unless the state conduct meets a minimum threshold of gravity," McLachlin writes.

Ward was arrested because he partly fit the description of a man suspected of planning the pie attack. Police took him to jail, where he was strip-searched. His car was towed. He was never charged and was released after about four and a half hours.

He subsequently sued the city and the province of British Columbia for violations of his rights.

The trial judge found that the police had acted in good faith and that there was no abuse of power. But he still ordered the city to pay damages of $5,000 for false imprisonment and $100 for the search of the car.

The province was ordered to pay $5,000 for the strip search. All parties appealed the decision, with the city and the province seeking to overturn the awards and Ward asking for higher damages.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the damages in a 2-1 decision.

In their appeal to the Supreme Court, the governments argued that since Ward suffered no actual loss in the incident and there was no wrongdoing involved, there should be no damages.

"An award of damages for an infringement of a charter right in the absence of bad faith, abuse of power or tortious conduct is not fair to an innocent infringer," the city's lawyers argued in their brief.

"Availability of damages for every breach of the charter would create a new kind of liability and would have a chilling effect on public officials."

The case attracted interventions from two provinces and the federal government, two civil liberties associations and a number of community and legal groups.

In its brief, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said judges need the discretion to award damages for breaches of the charter.

"An award of damages may be necessary to vindicate a charter right, to deter similar breaches in the future or to express disapproval of unconstitutional conduct and courts must be free to craft remedies that redress the loss of dignity or moral harm associated with charter breaches."

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Micheal Vonn: B.C. government job posting exposes crisis of democracy - By Micheal Vonn - July 16, 2010

Citizens of British Columbia who have been crying out for government transparency can now uncork the champagne. After years of access to government information eroding in a culture of secrecy and gutted freedom of information laws, we finally have something to celebrate.

Last week, journalist Sean Holman posted a link on his Web site to the B.C. Public Service Executive Role Profile. This document is part of the job description for senior civil servants and it is as transparent a government document as you are ever likely to see. It comes right out and says that the government considers it part of the job of senior bureaucrats to fabricate crises in order to advance policy. How’s that for laying it on the line?

Here’s exactly what it says under the “Characteristics/Behaviours” section of the role profile: “Executives anticipate, and are prepared to institute change quickly. At times, to capitalize on the best opportunity, executives create a crisis to force change.”

Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine is a book all about political and economic exploitation of disasters like September 11 and Hurricane Katrina. Political exploitation of crisis is apparently such standard operating procedure that President Barack Obama’s advisor Rahm Emanuel has blandly stated, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

But thanks to the B.C. government’s New Transparency, we see the cutting-edge innovation of actually manufacturing the crisis. And we further learn that opportunistic crisis-creation is not despicable. In fact, it is a vocation reserved for the selflessly brave, as we see in the document under the somber header “Are You Courageous Enough?” which follows: “Positive opportunism, instituting change and creating crisis involves a high level of risk and risk taking. Executives are prepared to take these risks, have the courage to move forward, and acknowledge the ultimate consequence if they do not succeed.”

Let’s not get too caught up in the Tony Soprano talk about “ultimate consequences”; it’s the fabricated crises and “positive opportunism” that is the main point. Nobody accuses the public of being insufficiently cynical about politicians. Voting rates alone tell a sorry tale. We might be forgiven for trusting in the civil service though. Up until we read the B.C. Public Service Executive Role Profile, we thought we were worldly and urbane because we expected senior government bureaucrats to be well-versed in damage control. Turns out we were a bunch of hayseeds. Damage control? Try damage creation! Thanks to the New Transparency, we now know how truly cynical to be.

And we are grateful for this enlightenment, as there is always a certain grisly satisfaction in having our lowest surmises confirmed. But we can’t help but feel just a touch depressed too.

When we think about what it means to live in a democracy, we think about voting and fundamental freedoms and the separation of powers. It’s been a while since it’s been fashionable to include ethics and trust on the list, let alone truth. At the risk of sounding hopelessly retro, this is not good. Our spin culture has now spun so far out of control that the effective functioning of our democracy is seriously damaged.

Simply put, the big idea with democracy is that the citizens are the rulers, and we rule ourselves through our governments and we make our decisions about government based on information. The whole system falls down if we have no information, only infomercials and fabricated crises. That we have a government that is blatantly advertising for crisis-fabricators to head up the civil service should give us very serious concern. Civil servants deserve respect and citizens deserve the truth. We call on the government of British Columbia to leave off crisis-creation and attend to the real crisis of democracy that has become only too apparent.

Micheal Vonn is the policy director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

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Case against capitalism grows as world economies continue to tank
Kelowna Capital News - Letters - Published: January 15, 2009 

To the editor:

Orest Swintak (Economic Collapse Was Inevitable, Jan. 4 Capital News) and Robert Sieclay (Rise Up Against ‘Unbridled Rise of Greedy…Capitalistic Imperialism, Jan. 9 Capital News) have alerted the public about the dangers of monopoly capitalism.

With increasing economic and financial crisis crippling, destabilizing and possibly bankrupting governments, it is vital for citizens to get informed.

The danger of monopoly capitalism is the concentration of capital into fewer and fewer hands and merging small business into corporate empires. Extremely wealthy monopoly capitalists can manipulate and control governments through non co-operation, withdrawing their capital or investments.

And, by manipulating the economy and money system.

Cut-throat monopoly capitalism leads to oligarchy and the decline and fall of democracy, also wars.

Monopoly capitalism is escalating because of the relentless indoctrination of neo-classical laissez-faire economic theory. The theory, originated by Adam Smith in the 18th century, is now treated as an untouchable truth. It is spread as gospel by think tanks like the Fraser Institute. It was used by the Bush administration, and is used by the Stephen Harper and Gordon Campbell governments as their economic foundation. It is fanatically defended by all chambers of commerce and sustained by city hall.

Basically, the laissez-faire theory is that the invisible profit hand of the market, if left unconstrained, benefits everyone by magically producing common good.

How can it be trusted to produce good, when the market is subject to greed and, being brainless, can’t tell between good or evil?

Now finally, because the USA is besieged with possible financial and economic collapse, the chief USA guru of laissez-faire, Alan Greenspan, has publicly admitted that he was wrong and that the market is incapable of correcting itself.

So, is it any wonder that the world is in a hopeless mess, when governments remain willingly subservient to a dysfunctional, greed-infested, manipulated market?

Another issue, rarely revealed, is how the private banks are allowed to rip off everyone through usury, compound interest and diluting everyone’s purchasing ability through ways of creating money out of nothing.

Furthermore, rather than using the Bank of Canada to issue money directly to the federal government at no or almost no interest, the federal government needlessly lets the private banks issue the money. Then, by borrowing it at high interest, the government increases compounding national debt, thereby threatening all social programs, including Medicare.

The Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) has tried to get federal governments to rectify these unjust defects ripping off governments and all citizens. Yet, federal governments favour billions for the bankers and debts for the people (read W.H. Pope’s book, All You Must Know about Economics, and Paul Hellyer’s book, Funny Money).

The current wild-west, laissez-faire economic model and exploitive, phoney money system, suitable for pirates and savages, have outlived their usefulness. We are now in the 21st century, the era of human survival based on environmental sustainability.

Environmental compatibility requires change to an advanced, steady-state, equalitarian, economic model and fair banking system. (Read H. Daly and J. Cobb’s book, For the Common Good).

So, why waste time and money bailing out the useless obscene-rich monopoly capitalists and thieving, usurious private banks?

Robert Cichocki,

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Dear John...
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Published: October 21, 2008

There's more proof that the provincial government could care less about open communications with communities.

The City of Vernon recently received an Oct. 9 letter from Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon, who was responding to a July 18 request from council for a meeting to discuss highway matters.

"My schedule does not permit me to attend any of the regular council meetings listed in the schedule you provided," wrote Falcon to Mayor Wayne Lippert.

Perhaps Falcon was too busy smiling for the cameras as the bulldozers knocked down the toll booths on the Coquihalla? Seriously, though, three months to send a Dear John letter is absolutely ridiculous.

But while Falcon doesn't have the time to come to Vernon, he does graciously make himself available to meet with council.

"As you know, the next annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention will be held this September. I would be pleased to address your's and council's concerns there," wrote Falcon.

Now that leaves one wondering when the letter — dated Oct. 9 — was actually written because this year's UBCM ran Sept. 23 to 26. If the letter was inked before then, why wasn't it popped in the mail until October?

And if Falcon is referring to the 2009 UBCM, there may be a problem.

Primarily, there is a civic election in less than a month and many of Vernon's current council will be gone either through retirements or their names not rising to the top of the ballot.

It should also be pointed out that there will be a provincial election in May, so unless Falcon is some kind of soothsayer, how does he know that he will be re-elected and actually be attending the UBCM in September 2009 in Vancouver?

I'm not sure if this is a related issue, but it's been suggested the city hasn't accessed provincial infrastructure grants because of its often vocal stance against the Liberal government.

"We have a reputation in the media of attacking other levels of government. We have a reputation of being difficult to get along with," said Lippert recently.

It would be easy to blame Coun. Barry Beardsell for this situation as he often appears to enjoy turning the screws on the government. But Beardsell is just one voice and any time a letter of concern has been sent to the province, it has been done through a majority vote of council. When a letter is sent, it represents the city, not Beardsell.

And if there is any truth to senior government officials blackballing Vernon because of positions council has taken, that's a very troubling situation for our democratic society.

After all, mayor and council were elected to represent the interests of the citizens of Vernon, and occasionally those interests — whether it is highways, casinos, meat regulations, etc. — will not reflect those of the provincial government.

The Liberals may not be happy with the resolutions coming out of city council chambers, but that's fine, they don't have to be. But what they do have to do, is be fair to all communities when funding is being provided for infrastructure projects. And the reason for that is all communities pump money into their coffers.

There is no room for one level of government to be vindicative against another just because they share different views, and one would hope that's not happening between Victoria and Vernon.

But if Vernon council really wants to pursue the matter further, Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon has time for them at the next UBCM.

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They were elected by a democratic process to act in the best interest, and on behalf of their constituents, and have a clear and irrefutable duty to extend the same democratic process to the community.

Let council know what your priorities are
April 18, 2008 - Kelowna Capital News

To the editor:

Kelowna is at a critical turning point in its history.

It is incumbent on citizens to understand what is at stake.

We must decide:

• Do we want a development to be rushed ahead without a clear vision of how Kelowna will evolve?

• Do we want orderly, planned growth, or do we accept piecemeal development?

• Do we, the citizens, want a role in planning our city’s direction and destination, or are we content to let developers and unelected bureaucrats determine our future?

• Do we allow developers to receive preferential support and access to city resources over its citizens?

• Do we want our elected mayor and council to respect our democratic right to be consulted?

• A new comprehensive Downtown Plan for the entire downtown will provide the vision and guidance that council needs to make decisions which are ‘representative of the interests and reflect the vision of all Kelowna residents’ (quote from city document).

• Last year, a commissioned report stated that the existing DT Plan was ‘vague and inadequate’. Consequently, council recognized the need for, and committed to, revising it in 2008. Unless this is done, our tax money that paid for this report will have been wasted.

• It is crucial that the revision be done as soon as possible and prior to decisions on any existing or further development proposals.

With final budget deliberations approaching, council must be reminded that it is their responsibility, not unelected staff and bureaucrats, to determine the feasibility of revising the Downtown Plan.

When council designates a priority and instructs staff accordingly, city staff have demonstrated amazing skill at finding necessary resources. For example: $3 million for the pontoon purchase appeared in short order.

And seemingly unlimited tax-paid staff assistance was made available to a developer to promote/advance one particular proposal.

These same resources can and must now be directed to this most important and urgent initiative on behalf of Kelowna’s tax-paying citizens.

They were elected by a democratic process to act in the best interest, and on behalf of their constituents, and have a clear and irrefutable duty to extend the same democratic process to the community.

While the mayor and several councilors have expressed concern that piecemeal development may be putting the cart before the horse, other councilors appear to be incapable of recognizing that common sense dictates that you “design the new house before you buy the windows.”

The question is not if, but how Kelowna grows. Our city has tremendous potential for a vibrant and economically successful downtown. However, orderly growth doesn’t just happen. It begins with a vision, followed by careful planning and foresight.

Other cities have accomplished this, Kelowna can too.

If you love Kelowna and want to participate in the visioning process, contact the mayor and council. Letters may be mailed or delivered to 1435 Water St. V1Y 1J4 (Outside drop box to the right of front door). Or e-mail mayorandcouncil"at" Fax 862-3399. Telephone 469-8687.

Time is rapidly running out.

We will not have a second chance to get it right.

M. Enns,

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A great country, or what?
April 18, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star Letters

I recently had the privilege of dining with some relatively recent immigrants to our country. During the course of our much-varied conversation the nearly inevitable question arose. “How do you like being in Canada?”

The answer was the also nearly inevitable “Canada is the best country in the world!” This was followed by many comparisons between our country and the countries of origin of my companions. The great majority of the comments referred to our comparatively high standard of living, and the fact that we are a democracy.

As the evening wound down I began to reflect upon what was said. I agree that we have a wonderful standard of living, and that we are theoretically a democracy. But if we are ‘the best country in the world,’ I began to wonder about some things.

If we are such a great country, I wondered why we have grocery stores with five thousand cubit feet of boxed cereals, with as many as 300 sizes and varieties of packages. I wondered how we could accept this so matter-of-factly when people in countries closer to us than the distance between our east and west coast have to grind up their seed corn after a tropical storm, simply to feed their families.

I wondered why, if we are such a great country, that we have to send our armies halfway around the world with guns to shoot people. Why do we not send them with shovels and well-digging equipment and tools and skills to build shelter and sanitation facilities and clinics?

If we are such a wonderful country, why did we not stand up for one of our finest ever soldiers, who witnessed a genocide of such horrific proportions that he returned from overseas a broken man. After his recovery, such as it was, he wrote a book which is enough to make any but the most hardened sociopath weep.

If we are such a great country, why do we, as citizen, seem so placid about the hypocritical rhetoric that our elected representatives spout at will? We only have to read the reports in the local paper from our representatives to the senior levels of government to question their integrity. I have yet to see a report from an elected official which was not either a self-laudatory piece or an apologia for the ‘necessary’ policies of their parties.

If we are so great, why do our governments pay lip service to the climate crisis, but refuse to ratify Kyoto.

If our society is so wonderful, why are there so many lawyer jokes? As a point of interest, why do you suppose so many lawyers choose politics as a secondary career? It seems strange to me that the same group that is so instrumental in writing and enacting our complicated and cumbersome and difficult to understand set of statutes are the same folks who will be arguing them in a court the next week.

Many of my dinner companions came from countries which had governments that decided, as ours seems to be heading towards, that the people of the country no longer had a say in how their resources of any type were used.

We are a wonderful country in so many respects. We have a truly incredible standard of living – which is being sustained at the expenses of our finite resources. We are spending our grandchildren’s inheritance to maintain our lifestyle. We are allowing the hypocrites to rule our lives, and we are becoming no better than them because of our passivity.

Our apathy towards the crimes against humanity which take place in so many parts of the world, our apathy about the destruction of the environment, our willingness to spend our children’s future to keep us in SUVS and run our a/c’s, our apparent complete lack of concern for our indigent and aboriginal populace. All these and many more make me question how great we really are.

We are a lucky country. We have a huge amount of space and an abundance of natural resources. Let us begin to make decisions which will not squander our legacy to our kids and grandkids, and will enhance our standing in the eyes of the world – all the world, including the poor – not just the politicians and diplomats.

If we could begin to move in that direction, I, for one, would find it much easier to agree with the assessment of my dinner companions. “Canada Is Truly a Great Country.”

Michael Banfield

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Civic complex campaign costs $373,538
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - April 16, 2008

THE CIVIC complex never materialized but it still cost taxpayers $373,538.

Vernonites forked out considerable dollars for a civic complex that hasn’t materialized.

Council received a staff report Monday that shows that $373,538 was spent on the proposed civic complex through the failed alternative approval process last summer and the defeated referendum in January.

“There is nothing to show for it,” said Tony Stamboulieh, spokesman for the Vernon Taxpayers Association which successfully campaigned against the city.

“This (costs) reinforces the perception and reality that a small group of insiders decided what will go through and taxpayers be damned. Those days are over.

Of the total figure, $110,000 was covered by Okanagan Regional Library, with the city’s cost being $263,538.

The expenses include $167,137 paid to CEI Architecture, $30,295 to MQN Architects, $53,330 to MCW Consultants and $27,000 to Spiegel Skillen and Associates.

In terms of public relations and advertising, $27,961 was spent. Of that, $20,861 went to The Morning Star.

The financial details have reinforced Coun. Barry Beardsell’s opposition to the process the city followed for the complex.

“I find it excessive especially when added to what was spent by the previous cultural committee. That was about $260,000,” he said.

“It’s money down the drain and apologies are due to the taxpayers.”

However, Mayor Wayne Lippert defends the final tab.

“It’s the cost of doing business and taking information forward,” he said.

“It didn’t go down the drain. A lot of good information was brought together over the years by this council and other councils.”

That view is also supported by Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

“You need to pay architects if you are going to have an idea of design and costs before going to the public.”

Cunningham believes some of the concepts developed through the planning process could be used in future.

“We still need an art gallery,” she said.

Look how many bucks, politicians, architects, consultants, and associates it took for nothing!

Blue Divider Line

This article below is one of the best articles we've read on the subject.

Under attack
April 16, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star

It has recently come to my attention that the province is in the process of instituting additional laws regarding tobacco consumption. These “improvements” seem to have gone by without widespread public discussion, despite directly affecting 10 to 20 per cent of British Columbians, as well indirectly affecting thousands of businesses.

The sweeping new laws prohibit virtually any establishment from choosing to allow smoking indoors, regardless of ventilation or separate rooms, as well creating an arbitrary three-metre radius to smoke from a door, even at a privately owned business. This is said to be for the health of the people of B.C.

Well that may well be true. There are however, numerous activities that many people engage in that are not just unhealthy and dangerous for themselves, but for everyone. Driving a vehicle, particularly a sports car, is a perfect example of this. Sports cars are relatively inefficient, pollute the air that everyone breathes, and encourage dangerous and excessive speed. The thousands of tons of pollutants motor vehicles pump out in one year is millions of times worse for the collective health than every gram of tobacco that has been smoked since the colonization of the new world.

So, let’s finish the metaphor, obviously smoking hasn’t been completely banned yet, just heavily restricted, so let’s restrict all cars that aren’t emission free to sealed, ventilated tracks.

One can drive emission-free cars everywhere where one can chew nicotine gum. Sure, one doesn’t “need” to smoke, nor does one “need” to drive a vehicle bigger than a sedan with a four-cylinder in many, many cases. I don’t smoke cigarettes, and I don’t intend to. but I’m tired of this nanny state concept that has crept up from nagging taxpayer-funded commercials, now to the law of the land. This concept isn’t new, but I’m going to take a shot in the dark here, most of the people supporting this kind of control don’t know much about history.

“For the common good,” especially when it comes to health, was one war cry for the fascist movement in Nazi Germany. Yes the comparison is a bit extreme, but when smokers are compared to the fascists, is it really a stretch? What’s really wrong here isn’t that people care about their health, that’s fine, the problem is government forcing its way into the common dialect and function of the people.

Don’t like smoke in a restaurant? Don’t frequent that establishment. Find one of the many locations that currently, and will continue to offer a smoke-free environment regardless of legislation. If someone is smoking in your vicinity, and you happen to be allergic, or it’s just bothering you, try asking them to put it out, or move. If they say no, it’s like any other issue like this. Count the person off as a jerk, move, and treat them accordingly in the future. This same argument could be made for cologne, perfume, bad breath, a nearby racetrack.

Legislating away everything that offends you regardless of common sense, or respect for what happens historically when the many or the loud decide to clamp down on the few, is a sad effort, and I hope that this is rectified before it gets out of control. When you see bans on chips and salsa, food heavy in salt or fat, cars that can go fast, or requiring a special permit to drive a gas guzzling 4x4, you’ll know it’s too late to go back, because we’ve come too far, and you’ll realize most regulation of this nature should have stopped at food safety, freedom and disclosure of information, real environmental protection, productions standards, economic and corporate stewardship in general.

Mike Smith

Blue Divider Line

Just Asking
Letters article from the Vernon Morning Star March 30, 2008
by Lynette Smith

Letters article regarding Democracy from the Vernon Morning Star March 30, 2008 by Lynette Smith

Blue Divider Line

Low turnout shows voter disillusionment
Kelowna Capital News - March 28, 2008

To the editor:

The recent byelections, in my view, spoke volumes about our electoral system.

The parties put out their spins on how well they did, but in reality they all did very poorly because of the very low voter turn out.

To me, this says that none of the leaders were able to inspire the voters to come out and vote. A large majority, obviously, felt that because of the system, it didn’t matter if they voted and who got elected. So they didn’t bother to even vote.

I believe very strongly, the only way to change this is to change the system that would shift much of the power from the parties’ leadership to the voters and their locally elected members. Making it more democratic: “By the people and for the people.”

So I strongly encourage that the voters of B.C. strongly support the referendum in the next provincial election for the mixed proportional system.

I believe this system will not only encourage more to vote, knowing that their vote will not be wasted, but also encourage more qualified people to run for office.

And once this is demonstrated in B.C., the rest of the country will follow in short order.

O. Swintak,

Blue Divider Line

Danyliu will be missed
Vernon Morning Star - March 21, 2008

I wish to comment on the sad and surprising resignation of Andy Danyliu as president of the Coldstream Ratepayers association, at its most recent meeting, 1 March, 2008.

We will miss his honest and wise leadership during his term of office for representing and advocating the common interests of Coldstream ratepayers.

His efforts certainly stand in sharp contrast to the narrowly focused

Here is a guy, new to the community, who just wanted to reach out and give a helping hand to Coldstream, ran as a mayoral candidate in the last election, narrowly lost, and went on

For this well intentioned civic service he has been trashed and vilified in the corporate press.

Now, to add insult to injury, nobody has even thanked him for

Apparently he has received a lot of hostile phone calls over the megasports complex issue, as well as some bad press, which he has unfortunately taken to heart, but I can’t really blame him for trying to avoid any further odious abuse.

I don’t doubt for a minute that he was a deliberate victim of a campaign by vested interests that saw him as a dangerous threat to their hidden agendas and are now rejoicing at his resignation.

However I am confidant that some one else will pick up his banner to lead the charge for honest and accountable local government!

It’s worth bearing in mind we live in a dysfunctional democracy which can be easily hijacked by corporations and wealthy individuals because of public apathy, disinterest, ignorance, gullibility and compliance.

It takes actively engaged, informed citizens to run a functional, truly people-centred democracy.

Sadly most people shirk their democratic obligations but nobody can accuse the people of Vernon and Coldstream Ratepayers association of shirking their civic duties! Thanks for being a good citizen Andy!

Peter Peto

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Democracy in action
article from the Vernon Morning Star Feb 20, 2008 pg A10
Democracy in action - In Vernon they had to be forced into calling a referendum.
The message to both councils is that perhaps they should exercise democracy more often, and rather than tell the people what is good for them, perhaps they could involve the people, the "demos" of democracy, to play much larger roles in deciding what is right for their own community.  At least in Coldstream, they had the good sense to call a referendum.  In Vernon, they had to be forced into calling a referendum.
Democracy can be messy and unpredictable, and the best laid plans of bureaucrats are quite often not what the people want or need.

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Sending a positive message
March 07, 2008 Kelowna Capital News Opinion

In a perfect world, one wouldn’t think that an 18-year-old wanting to be a candidate for municipal government is so out of the ordinary.

In its purest sense, a democracy is based on people participating in the governing process by which we all live.

But it’s not a perfect world, and the fact that Kevin Craig is keen to be a candidate for Kelowna city council before he’s even of legal age to drink will cause many to think perhaps the kid has a screw loose.

But that is hardly the case. Craig is setting an example that more people from his generation should heed—that the only answer for cynicism about how our government operates, whether it be municipal, provincial or federal, is to get involved and help bring about change.

That younger generation, and others who feel disenfranchised by the current political scenario in the U.S., are an influential force behind Barack Obama’s bid to win the Democratic Party nomination and run for president against Republican John McCain.

In Obama, they see hope for change in a political system that for too long, and to the detriment of their country, has been controlled by lobbyists, corporate political donors and the politicians they buy off.

Whether it is Obama or his opponent Hillary Clinton, the candidate on the Democratic ticket likely won’t win the U.S. presidential election in November unless they are able to engage more people to take an interest in voting, in participating.

Here in our neck of the woods, young Mr. Craig is dutifully doing his homework and trying to learn the issues so he can be an informed candidate come our own municipal elections in November. We wish him well. With youth comes enthusiasm, and we need more of that if our governments in Canada are to be effective.

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The Way It Is

How can citizens participate in regional district decision making
(page 13)

There are a number of ways that citizens can get involved:

  • by directly contacting their Regional District Directors and/or,
    in the case of municipal citizens, their Municipal Councils (to
    whom the Municipal Directors are accountable)

  • by attending and speaking at a Regional District Regular Board
    Meeting (all of which are open to the public), a committee/
    commission meeting, a public hearing or some other regional
    district public event

  • by voting in elector assent referendums and/or participating in
    alternative approval processes (for proposed services)

  • by attending the open houses and other events that most regional districts use to obtain feedback on their proposed five year financial plans.

  • Citizens who own property in an electoral area may also participate in decision making by petitioning the regional district to provide a new service to all or part of the electoral area. For a petition to be valid, it must be signed by the owners of at least 50% of the parcels in the proposed service area. The persons signing must also be the owners of parcels that in total represent at least 50% of the net taxable value of all and improvements in the proposed area.

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  • Priorities need to be made.  We can barely afford health care, snow plowing and sanding, and other services, but yet we can afford the expense of water meters? The Regional District operates eight water utilities and intends to implement a universal water metering program which is consistent with an initiative by the Westside Joint Water Committee. The cost of the program is estimated to be $920,000. $30,000 in funding assistance is being requested from the OBWB.

  • Legislation needs changing.  Is it democratic that we elect directors to make decisions for us, or should we be making decisions ourselves with directors providing direction and providing correct and knowledgeable information from staff so that electors can make informed decisions?

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Public Participation and Accountability (link no longer works - Local governments have a relationship with their citizens that can take many forms. In some cases, local governments have a legislated requirement to involve citizens in their decision-making; in other cases local governments involve their citizens as a part of good governance. (NOT AROUND HERE THOUGH IT SEEMS!)
Separate from participating in local elections, citizens have other opportunities to be involved with their local governments. Local governments often seek citizen views on possible courses of action, through various forms of non-binding information collection. Tools used to seek community opinion include surveys, holding opinion polls (using the formal elector provisions) or hosting community forums. Alternatively, citizens may initiate requests for action through a petition to their local government. (**Note** Petitions and referendums are also not binding on council)

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Boucherie Road ] Kaleden ] Kelowna ] Naramata ] Oyama ] Peachland ] Pentiction ] Summerland ] Vernon ] West Kelowna ] Westside Road ] Winfield ]


Canadians for Direct Democracy
the right of citizens to hold referenda on any issue
How Direct Democracy could look & work
That the bylaw enable citizens to initiate a referendum by a
petition supported by 5% of eligible voters.

About Regional District Voting Procedures

Local Government Management Association
The Local Government Management Association of BC is a professional organization representing municipal and regional district managers, administrators, clerks, treasurers and other local government officials in the Province of British Columbia. The Association is dedicated to promoting professional management and leadership excellence in local government and to create awareness of the local government officers' role in the community.

British Columbia Municipal Information Systems Association (BC MISA)
Join municipal IS and IT professionals from across the province to make municipal information systems and technology better. Members get software, service, and research paper discounts; invitations to knowledge sharing events throughout the year; and access to our online document library, forum, newsletters, and databases.

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Political Parties of BC

The work less party

eNDProhibition, the anti-prohibition wing of Canada's New Democratic Party.  We are New Democrats united in our opposition to the failed "war on drugs." We do not believe that waging war is the right approach to solving health and social problems.

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You will find local North Westside Road businesses, services, classifieds, local arts and crafts, vacation waterfront rentals, plus much more located near and around Okanagan Lake.  We will be adding to this site, so come back and check it often.

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