Following is the press release dated Sept 8 that I distributed widely, including to the Premier and Minister of Municipal Affairs, the GTA and local press, and the Mayor and Council.
- PRESS RELEASE
FROM: BILL LONGWORTH
TO: PREMIER KATHLEEN WYNNE
HON. TED McMEEKIN, MINISTER OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
MAJOR GTA PRESS (TORONTO STAR, NATIONAL POST, THE SUN)
LOCAL PRESS (OSHAWA THIS WEEK, OSHAWA EXPRESS, RADIO (94.9, KX96, CKDO), CH 12 CHEX TV
MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF CITY COUNCIL
Sept. 8, 2014
- City of Oshawa wants to misinform and bamboozle public AGAIN in attempting to influence vote on the General /Ward Vote Ballot Question—This may be illegal influence in presenting unbalanced information
I’m disappointed but not surprised that the city is once again wanting to mislead the people about the merits of the ward vs general vote systems.
And I’m disappointed as a registered proponent of a return to ward voting and the person who has been lobbying for it since 1985 and recently for the last 4 or 5 years, that I haven’t been invited to represented the “support” side for ward elections, to ensure a balanced presentation at the information meetings being organized by the city clerk.
Also, they seem to have rendered their full FB statement regarding rules, etc., of their public meetings uncopyable so that permanent copies of the rules will not be available for future reference.
This misleading information to voters only addresses and highlights the number of votes for politicians each voter will get for each of the alternative systems.
Votes are not like money where more is better. In the case of voting, the general vote where all voters vote to elect all members of council leaves all community representation, accountability, and responsiveness aside and thus is a lot worse and a lot less democratic. So the number of votes you get is the least significant part of the election system…AND IT’S DISHONEST AND IRRESPONSIBLE FOR CITY COUNCIL PRESENTATIONS TO FOCUS ON THIS AS A POSITIVE!
In my presentations to council, I addressed these very issues and pointed out that city communications must talk about the accountability, representation, and the responsiveness components all enhanced by ward voting. ,
I have written to the Premier advising her of this ruse being once again perpetrated on the people of Oshawa. Like you and I, I’m sure she expects city politicians to be honest and fair in their Information communications to voters that are paid for by our hard-earned tax dollars. This misleading (lying if you want the real word) of the public is proof positive of the need for the more accountable politicians always delivered by ward voting—-and the need to defeat the voting block of 8 that thwart this council from doing worthwhile work on behalf of the citizens.
The meeting rules seem to have blocked important information from coming forth by insisting on prior written questions being submitted and pre-selection of speakers without inviting me to speak as the chief promoter for the move to return ward elections.
Concentrating on the numbers of votes one gets is no more valid than suggesting a Canada-wide general vote for our Federal Members might be better because it would allow every Canadian voter a vote for the every one of our 308 MP’s (of the present members) or the entire 338 members for the next Federal Parliament…ludicrous considering there would be thousands of names on the ballot—-but Oshawa’s general vote ballot listing close to 100 candidates for the various offices is equally impossible for voters. This large ballot is the thing politicians like best. They know they can lay in the weeds doing little but their name recognition among the many names will probably earn them a vote regardless of their worth to the city.
Any sensible person would realize 1) that if Federal Elections used the General Vote used in Oshawa that Oshawa voters would then be expected to vote on a ballot listing thousands of candidates running right across the country and be expected to make wise choices in all of their votes—an impossible task! 2) What’s more, likely all of those elected would reside in the richer high voter turnout sections of all of the high population centers across the country leaving most regions of the country unrepresented. 3) Those elected would develop high name recognition and would likely spend their lifetime in elected office, and 4) No politician would be accountable to the electors in any part of the country, 5) Only rich well-known people would get elected. 6) All those elected would get elected based on their name recognition and not on their worth to government. On a smaller scale, all of these factors would also become operative in Oshawa’s General Vote System.
So much fairer information would be for city communications to focus on political accountability, political responsiveness, guaranteed representation for all communities, the local door-to-door campaigning with verbal interchanges between candidates and voters promoted by ward elections…… But unfortunately, the city has again chosen to focus on the insignificant issue of the number of votes to bamboozle, trick, and mislead the people….and further to hold these town hall meetings to present their one-sided presentation without inviting me to address those gathered to provide the support for ward elections.
I don’t believe it is legal for city hall to campaign for support for votes for their preferred answer to their question, and these meetings and rules must have been directed by some group of city council as the clerk would not have authority, as the chief organizer of the election, to campaign for any candidate or question on the ballot. If her presentations are not illegal, they certainly are unethical.