Ward System

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So, any forum warriors with opinions on the proposed Ward system that Vancouverites get to vote on in a couple of weeks?

Nahh.. everyone is too interested in who the Americans elect. As near as I can figure, the advantages to wards are that we will get a dedicated councillor for our concerns (geographically speaking), the power of political parties will be far lessened - BC is the only province wher ethere are strong municipal parties, and participation will be encouraged.

I personally dispute the last. I don't think voter participation in ward municipalities is any higher than in at-large municipalities. Last time I checked participation correlates with either salient issues or with municipality size.

In the negatives are that costs will likely go up as councillors strive to ensure that they are actively representing their wards. Given the absence of parties to force people to vote for certain measures, anything that would be good for the city as a whole, but bad for an individual ward or two will cause a "log rolling" situation (ex. Councillor A in the affected area says he will help out Councillor B on her favourite motion if she votes against the measure). Also, what happens if your representative and you do not see eye to eye on an issue - you are left with no real representation. Under the at-large system, there are 10 reps serving a variety of viewpoints - right now if you are a right winger, you can go to talk to Sam Sullivan - if in the centre, talk to Peter Ladner, Larry Campbell, etc etc..

I think the onus in this referendum is on those who support wards to tell us what exactly is wrong with our current system, how it has affected life in Vancouver (they claim a democratic deficit, but do not produce examples to prove this) and how the ward system will fix these problems without producing a new set, equally or more significant. To my mind they have not done so and instead are asking us to take a big leap of faith into a new system that may or may not improve the governance of Vancouver. Our city is already pretty well run, to the point of being the envy of most of North America. I don't see a need to change things in this way.

Phew.. glad I got that off my chest.