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The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly Andrew Graham Jen Lee Ziang Tony Ngo.

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Presentation on theme: "The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly Andrew Graham Jen Lee Ziang Tony Ngo."— Presentation transcript:

1 The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly Andrew Graham Jen Lee Ziang Tony Ngo


3 British Columbia Like all provinces, British Columbia is governed by a provincial legislature The province is divided into 79 ridings, each of which elects a Member of Legislative Assembly to represent it Members elected using standard First-Past-The-Post (FTTP) system


5 1996 provincial election: % of votes% of seats Liberal41.82%41.77% NDP39.45%49.37% Reform9.27%2.53% Recent Electoral History

6 2001 political election: % of votes% of seats Liberal57.62%97.46% NDP21.56%2.54% Green12.39%0%

7 Key design considerations 158 BC residents—2 for each riding, staffed by chair & secretariat Granted budget of $5.5mm Honorarium of $150 per day—also includes daycare, transportation, accommodation

8 8 Summary of process Selection “Produce a ‘representative’ body” Public Hearing “Listen to your fellow citizens” Learning “Master fundamentals of field” Deliberation “Bring the Assembly’s work to conclusion” 6 weekend commitments Expert lectures and breakouts into large and small group discussions Advisory experts design curriculum plan (e.g. pre- session reading materials) Discussions facilitated by political science grad students Development of ‘Shared Values’ 50 events on weekday evenings and weekend afternoons, 383 presentations, 3,000 attendees Groups of 4-16 Geographic mix (1 local, 1 neighboring, 1 other) Hearings open to all attendees Online participation: Summary posted after each meeting Written submissions by over 1,430 individuals to website Staff member prepares abstract for searchable database by category End-of-phase meeting to review what was heard and read Review of democratic values and focus on features of electoral systems Formal presentations on various systems from people the Assembly identified Building detailed models (i.e. STV, MMP) Engage in systematic comparison and debate Voting process: 1. MMP vs. STV 2. FPTP? 3. STV? Aug – Dec ‘03Jan – Mar ‘04 May – Jun ‘04Sept – Nov ‘04 BC voters list updated Randomized list of 200 names for each electoral district drawn Names generated categorized by gender and age Letter sent to 15,800 individuals as call to action Responses grouped by district, gender, age Low response rate leads to more names drawn 23,000 invites sent, 1,700 express interest, 964 attend meetings, 158 randomly selected No aboriginal representation

9 Analysis & Critique: Selection of Participants “Partially-controlled Randomization Sampling” Diffused involvement vs. politician experts in status quo Random selection but no obligation for participation Self-selection  participants are more civic- minded/bored/lower-income than greater population? Representative of some groups (gender, age, geography) but not others (ethnicity, aboriginal status, socio-economic status) Confusion over what participants are representing (selves, district, the CA, etc.)

10 Analysis & Critique: Mode of Communication and Decision Making High Intensity CA staff (not participants) set agenda, timing, and priority of electoral reforms Unclear whether there was balanced dissemination of information (education materials, selection of electoral experts) Did time and group pressure to reach a consensus decision hinder quality of decision making? Evidence of skewed quantity of participation  disproportionate influence of men over women and minorities?

11 Analysis & Critique: Extent of Authority Co-Governance Stakeholders (ordinary citizens) are directly empowered CA able to propose new system but cannot directly decide (nor can legislators), up to referendum Through public hearings, broader public can self-select to communicate influence Broader citizenship also ultimately decides

12 Another Experiment: Ontario 2007 Ontario convened its own Citizens’ Assembly in 2006 Based on the BC model Similar selection process, secretariat model Recommended a form of MMP Put to referendum on Oct 10, 2007 Received 47% support, less than 60% threshold

13 A Few Outstanding Questions… How does the conception and implementation of the Citizens’ Assembly in BC compare to other models that we have studied? How extensively should Canada emulate the CA model? What are the limitations and unique success factors of the BC example? What is generalizable? Are there broader implications in the differential levels of engagement between participants and the broader public?

14 And A Few MORE Outstanding Questions… What are the top 5 reasons Archon received tenure?

15 PAL-218’s Top 5 Reasons Archon Received Tenure… 5.His artistic renditions using PRA techniques of Arnstein’s ladder during his faculty meetings

16 PAL-218’s Top 5 Reasons Archon Received Tenure… 4.KSG’s new policy on faculty representation to include at least one “Archon” in tenured staff

17 PAL-218’s Top 5 Reasons Archon Received Tenure… 3.Only person on the planet to know meaning of: multi-participatory- democratic-deliberative-collective-rural- majoritianism-elections

18 PAL-218’s Top 5 Reasons Archon Received Tenure… 2.Democracy Cube in 2007 is expected to be what the Rubik’s Cube was in 1987

19 PAL-218’s Top 5 Reasons Archon Received Tenure… 1.Upcoming lead role in Terminator 4: Deliberation Day

20 Congratulations Professor Fung on getting tenure! Y our PAL-218 students

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