Comment 51000

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted November 01, 2010 at 12:59:33

I think any ward realignment in the absence of other, much-needed changes to our municipal democratic system will merely amount to disruptive tinkering at the margins. Voters/taxpayers/citizens in the 'burbs will rightly get their backs up to a plan that would see their representation watered down, especially during the administration of a Mayor who has raised the spectre of de-amalgamation. There's nothing in it for those voters who already feel properly represented, however re-alignment makes sense within a larger plan to re-invigorate our civic democracy.

Top-of-mind considerations include:

(1) Two term limits. This is a no-brainer move that will limit the ability of career politicians to set up personal fiefdoms, and offer increased opportunities to up-and-coming candidates who are consistently defeated by incumbents with name-recognition.

(2) Some form of preferential voting, especially for the Mayor's race. There is nothing complicated about the idea of ranking your favourite candidates, and progressives must start combating the endless drone of conservative commentators who imply that the public is too stupid to comprehend any other system than FPTP.

(3) Electing some candidates at large. This may be a good way of achieving ward realignment with a populist spin. A la "Gravy Train" Ford, propose reducing the number of councilors by combining wards and having the top-two candidates in each ward elected to council. Though I'm a big proponent of direct, community-based democracy, I have yet to be convinced that more representatives = better decisions, so why not join the less-is-more bandwagon?

These are just the top three things on my list, and I can see each one working more effectively as a package than as a single reform.

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