Thursday, May 12, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Hi All!

Well is everyone as pooped as I am from the barrage of electioneering we have been bombarded with? I have watched with interest as many of my readers have, as various policies, promises and actions were presented to us.

What I have witnessed with increasing concern, is many a politician or candidate behaving in a manner that is terribly personal. Often the attacks against one another became downright vicious. I'm not comfortable as many of the public isn't, with this type of behavior. Being a politician should be honourable, yet it appears anything but. The nastiness and negativity has an effect of turning voters off.

What can we do about this? As a democratic society we are presented with this Power of the Vote and it should never be taken for granted or lightly.

But does our vote really make a difference?

Most often, we hold our noises and go off to our local polling stations, constantly mulling over who it is that deserves our vote. We find the task of who to vote for, often perplexing. I'm equally certain many of us do not make up our mind until we actually make our mark beside a candidates name. Often we choose a candidate who offers us the lesser of a number of evils. I'm not certain, this is a wise way to vote since we don't feel overjoyed by who it is that we have chosen.

Nevertheless we vote, otherwise to not do so, sets a bad example. If we didn't vote it shirks the responsibility we are provided in our free and democratic society.

So on Tuesday May 17, 2005, we will set out to our local polling stations and check off a mark for the candidate we ultimately choose. As we depart the polling station, we often ask ourselves was it the right decision? Was it a smart decision?

In the grander scheme of things it probably boils down to the issue of the citizens never being wrong? Political Pundits claim continuously that the public always get what it asks for.

But are we and do we really?

Often, government is elected on a minority of the popular vote. So is the voter (Us)really getting who it is that we hoped for? The answer is simply NO. Our vote becomes a wasted one if we haven't voted for the candidate and party who ultimately wins the first-past-the-post (FPTP) race.

However we have a glorious opportunity on May 17, 2005, to change the way we elect our politicians. We are being given the right to choose whether we wish to continue voting the way we always have, or to change our method of voting to a system which makes every vote of ours count. That is if we elect to change our system to Single Transferable Vote (STV) our vote will have greater impact and provides for greater representation.

How so you ask?

Well for starters, it will make our candidates more responsive to our needs as citizens of this province. In short, it returns Democracy to the People.

STV will ensure broader democracy and greater representation for the people. More women and minorities will be elected. Smaller parties will have a better chance of electing their candidates. Independent minded citizens can run and actually have a chance of winning seats in STV elections. Citizens will be heard and politicians will have no choice but to be accountable to us, the people. Make no mistake Representation Makes a Difference.

I urge my readers to visit to find out more about the Single Transferable Vote.

I have been asked this election to endorse certain candidates. I have chosen not to do so out of respect for candidates that I admire. I have worked with a number of them for many years. They come from various walks of life and of course different parties. I think many of them reflect the true mosaic of our province. I am grateful that they agreed to put their name forward for election. Thank You to Van-Burrard candidates, Lorne Mayencourt, Tim Stevenson, Janek Kuchmistrz and Ian McLeaod. Van-Hastings candidates who lead by example include Shane Simpson, Ian Gregson and Laura McDiarmid. Finally my home riding of Van-Pleasant, Jenny Kwan, Raven Bowen, Imtiaz Popat--Congratulations Candidates!

So remember folks to Vote on May 17, 2005. Please vote YES to STV. Otherwise the Vote is Ours to Lose (Thank You Rafe Mair).

My home riding as I mentioned is Vancouver-Mt Pleasant and like so many of you, I am struggling with my vote. I know its private, however, many of my neighbors have asked who I'm voting for. My choice has come down to two candidates. I am thinking over carefully who I should vote for and my decision has boiled down to one or two defining issues. My voter preference will of course as yours, be made at the ballot box.

Vote and please Vote Wisely! Vote YES!

Jamie Lee Hamilton