Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Well set your engines folks. Political candidates are off and running and this campaign has a real opportunity to make BC History by changing how we elect our representatives.

I promise I will be truly partisan and promote, promote, promote.

First off, run Jane run. I want BC Green Leader Dr Jane Sterk in the legislature banging around mainstream party politicians who have because of our out-dated system of first-past-the-post (FPTP) been given a free ride.

The STV (single transferable vote) is a great opportunity for citizens to change politics in this province forever.

The system we currently have, allows politicians once they are elected to disregard what the citizens want. This is because under the FPTP, parliamentarians must do what their parties dictate and any accountability to the citizens is basically non existent.

STV will change this as citizens will get to rank the politicians and our votes will truly count as STV allows for greater representation as smaller parties and Independents will be elected.

Due to the STV ranking system we have no wasted votes. Under FPTP if the candidate we voted for didn't receive the top vote, our vote counts for nothing. Under FPTP this means a party receiving 40 % of the vote will often get 60% of the seats. STV will prevent this from happening, moreover, STV will increase females being elected because under the current system which is male dominated, women don't engage in politics the way men do. The FPTP system turns off women who would rather collaborate with others, even those from different parties to bring about positive change. Under FPTP men tend to group together and they engage in combat with men from another party. If you watch the legislature it is very silly and juvenile. I don't think women are wired in this fashion and this combative war-like approach is out-dated and serves no real purpose.

This election, I am busy managing the campaign of Green candidate John Boychuk in Vancouver-Mt Pleasant and so my blog entries will probably be more sporadic but if I become aware of of juicy stories, I will share them.

One of the juiciest so far is happening in the Vancouver-West End riding where a long-time neighborhood hotspot, the gay Odyssey nightclub, has had their application to relocate to Denman Street denied by Council. This issue wasn't a provincial one yet a couple of provincial candidates running in this riding stepped into the fray and this has only exacerbated the already highly charged situation.

Many gay community members see this issue as one of human rights, which is under provincial jurisdiction and I suspect the emotion and subsequent conflict will prevail throughout the one month election campaign. So far the only provincial candidate in that riding to support the Odyssey is Green Party Drina Read.

My feelings regarding the Odyssey is that it hasn't been treated fairly and the process used by the City was a sure-fire way of igniting a community firestorm which it has.

Because the Odyssey has no extension on its lease on Howe Street where it operated for nearly 25 years and which the City owns, I am deeply concerned over the plight of the 50 employees who may very well be out of jobs on April 30.

During this time of a severe recession it is scary that 50 people could be losing their jobs and this will have horrendous impact on their lives.

So if anything positive can come out of this horrible situation in the West End, I really hope that the Odyssey jobs can be saved and that everyone works together to ensure people's livelihoods are not destroyed.

I want the City to redress this conflict and I want those candidates running for election in the West End to join me in demanding that the City offer compensation and assistance to those fifty employees if they lose their jobs.

I think this is even something those in opposition to the Odyssey re-location could support.

Jamie Lee Hamilton