There is something I forgot in the last post which all you people should know about. I happened to run into Alan Broadbent the other day at a function funded by Maytree foundation.
I walked up to him and suggested that Maybee in the near future the Maytree foundation would like to hold a forum on voting reform, explaining proportional voting in city government.
No, he said, that would not be a good idea because he is running a charitable foundation and cannot advocate for any political cause. It could get his tax number revoked. He was getting edgy.
I asked why it was then that last April his organization hosted an event at which Dave Meslin was able to speak about his Ranked Ballots idea. Further, when someone wanted to briefly rebut that idea, he was prevented by the events organizer, Alejandra Bravo.
He had clearly heard about this. He probably had a pretty good idea of who I was. He said that the event had been about ideas for getting people active in politics and voting. It was not about voting systems.
But, said I, it included some space for somebody to outright advocate for a particular and very controversial voting system.
Ah, well, says Broadbent, that was a mistake. He was clearly getting nervous.
I pointed out that the person who organized this event, Alejandra Bravo, was also running for city council and was a noted activist for the NDP. This could look bad to Revenue Canada. A lot of organizations with registered charity numbers are in trouble these days for alleged political activities.
Broadbent definitely was getting my point. He assured me that the Maytree foundation was determined to stay out of any such controversies in future. I got the impression that he had already had some trouble about this, some people working for Maytree had been reprimanded about it, and he was not going to be funding advocacy for voting issues.
I asked him if he knew of any other people who might be funding Meslin's activities. He said he did not know. But he personally did not have any objection to Meslin and his ranked ballots idea.
I told him I did have some objections, as well as to the nasty way by which he disrupted Fair Vote Canada both locally and at the national level, threatening to sue people, freezing discussions, even crashing meetings. AV was also a phony reform put forward by sleazy politicians to pre-empt real reforms, to freeze the status quo into place.
He did not want to debate with me about that, but seemed to take seriously what I said. He repeated that he could not enable a discussion of proportional representation in city government, as a way of atoning for the faux pas of the Meslin presentation and to give "equal time".
I suggested that perhaps a neutral forum on different options for voting reform might be within his mandate. Fair Vote Toronto was taking the position that, rather than the city council just mandating whatever they wanted, a public consultation should take place. Therefore, some public debates would be required.
Broadbent liked that idea a lot better. He thought if I or some other good fairies I know could propose something like this, then his organization may consider it.
Okay, so who out there might be interested in organizing a neutral discussion of options for fixing municipal government? What worries me though, is people will think that ranked ballots or AV has to be discussed as though it were something to be taken seriously. The best I could stomach is for it to be ignored. However, that is not likely so such a forum would have to include an explanation of what is not a serious subject for reform. Like, something which is merely a politician's fix.
However, even that could be considered partisan. Because of this middle Canada attitude of being super "reasonable" it is hard to put something like this together. I know someone who would be a very good speaker about the benefit of STV, but he does not want to get into an argument with AV/RaBIT advocates. Such a requirement, again, makes putting anything together a bit problematic.
But somebody has to start a public debate about this topic. I think that if FVC does not get off its ass by around Christmas time, I am just going to go ahead and do something by myself, as I discussed in the previous communication to FVC people on this list.
So, be warned, FVC people out there. You too, Nickerson. And the Toronto "action group" too.
As for my discussion with Broadbent, take note, Good Fairies and timid foxes. That is all it really takes to shut down people like Meslin.
Nov 22. 2014