CityHallWatch “Election 2011 Accountability Project”
On election day, November 19, 2011, CityHallWatch announced the launch of the “Vancouver Election 2011 Accountability Project,” to review the words and actions of all the stakeholders that influenced the election process, and take the pulse of our democracy. The key question: Did each of the players act in a way that strengthens our democracy and justifies the trust our society puts in it? This project, to be conducted over the coming months, will include reviews of these roles below. Fresh reading material will be added as we notice it. For a collection of our coverage on campaign contributions, click “Campaign Contributions” on the “tag cloud” at the bottom right of your screen.
LIST OF PLAYERS IN A CIVIC ELECTION – ENTITIES THAT INFLUENCE THE OUTCOME
- Elector organizations, political parties
- Mainstream media
- Independent media
- Unions (Reading: http://www.citycaucus.com/2012/01/taxpayer-interests-vs-union-interests)
- Developers, Corporations
- Other major campaign funders
- Community organizations
- City staff
- Consultants, commentators, academics and experts
- Federal and provincial politicians and their parties
- Endorsers of parties and candidates (overlaps with some of above)
- Online bloggers and commenters, both anonymous and known
- Volunteers and paid workers who promoted candidates and parties
This review will look at the roles of these players in the process, and, we hope, act as a mirror to show us how our democracy and civil society are functioning today. The review will be a valuable initiative and help put the future actions and decisions of Vancouver City Council into the context of the outcomes of the November 19 election. Did the players deal fairly? Was public disclosure of relationships and interests adequate? Ask lots of questions. As a society, let’s talk this over. We welcome collaborators, submissions and tips. E-mail citizenYVR@gmail.com.
- CityHallWatch campaign contribution information 2008, 2011
- More coming
- City of Vancouver official web page:http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/elections/2011election/. The page allows voters to see if they are currently on the voters list, find out how to register to vote, learn more about increased advance voting opportunities and locations, and use the address search to identify voting places for advance voting dates and for the municipal election on Nov. 19, 2011. It also has detailed information for prospective candidates, electoral organizations and campaign organizers.
- The Georgia Straight provided independent coverage of election issues here: http://www.straight.com/municipalelections
- Vancouver Sun coverage: http://www.vancouversun.com/localelections
- Excellent website (Placespeak): http://www.placespeak.com/
- Open File: http://vancouver.openfile.ca/vancouver/text/explainer-voting-vancouver
Websites for the civic parties
- COPE (Council of Progressive Electors) http://cope.bc.ca/
- Non-Partisan Association (NPA) http://npavancouver.ca/
- Vision Vancouver http://votevision.ca/
- Vancouver Greens http://vancouvercentregreens.ca/
- Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver: www.nsvancouver.ca
Their governance documents
Some questions to consider: How do they develop policy and make decisions, both before election and after election? Who does it? When? Are members allowed to vote differently from what their party tells them? What are their campaign financing policies? Do they accept donations from parties that can benefit from council or board decisions, particularly relating to large contracts and land developments (e.g., developers, unions, etc.)? What are the interests and objectives of the largest donors? What is the voting record of incumbents compared to their campaign promises, both explicit and implicit? Do candidates declare their philosophy, beliefs, and objects as individuals (they appear as individuals on the ballot) are are they directed by their “party,” or do they speak for themselves?
The Yin and Yang of Elections:
Every politician and political system contains both yin and yang, the dark and the light. In the 2011 Vancouver civic election you can expect each political spin machine to point out the negatives especially in the other “parties” and other candidates. But none of them are all bad and none of them are all good. And sometimes good and bad depends on your own personal, corporate, or organization’s interests. CityHallWatch takes the citizen and neighbourhood view of things. During campaigns, hopeful politicians and their organizations make promises. But promises are just promises — what counts is how politicians act after elected. If you’d like to see the performance of those currently on Council, have a look at their voting record on important community issues 2008 to 2011 here, at Vancouver Council Votes.
2011 civic election campaign finance info and analysis.
[Update Nov 2012]
- See this page for information about 2011 civic election campaign financing, with downloadable lists in PDF and Excel, of party funding. https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/political-campaign-contributions-in-the-limelight-as-march-19-reporting-deadline-looms-cityhallwatch/
Specific data for Vision Vancouver, the winning party, is here for download in PDF and Excel formats.
To be continued.