Canadians for
Check Mark  Direct Democracy (CDD)

Direct Democracy -- the right of citizens
to hold referenda on any issue

Citizens' Assembly

An exchange of e-mails with Gordon Gibson
Date: Mon, 04 Nov 2002 10:52:38 -0800
From: Gordon Gibson

Dear Mr. Stark,
Thank you for your e-mail, and for your kind words.
I can tell you that the government considered adding recall and initiative to the mandate of the Asembly, but decided against it.  They plan to redeem their election pledge in respect of those matters in some other way.  (I am not privy to exactly how.)
From my point of view, I think this is wise.  This Citizens' Assembly is a most important experiment, in terms of being made up of ordinary citizens.  As I noted in my remarks, we have had no experience with this since ancient Athens.  I personally believe that until we gain more experience with this process we should be careful not to "overload" such a body.
Of course I agree with you tht the tools of direct democracy are an essential part of the citizens' armament.  Howver I believe that issue will be considered with a different mechanism than the Assembly.
Regards, Gordon Gibson.


----- Original Message -----
From: Colin Stark
Sent: Monday, November 04, 2002 10:08 AM

Re: Citizens Assembly

Dear Gordon Gibson,

I saw you on Vaughn Palmer Cable TV, and at the UBC Students Conference on Saturday, Nov 2/02. I spoke on a panel immediately after your excellent presentation.

I am fully supportive of the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform, with one major reservation - I fear that it may not be broad enough to produce a meaningful result, and that 7, 11 or even 15 years may pass before we PROVE that Pro-Rep alone is not a sufficient answer to our democracy crisis.

Thus my question/proposal is that AT AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM, the Assembly be presented with the opportunity to discuss the relevance of Direct Democracy to the Electoral process, and to add that investigation to their mandate (which may already include Direct Democracy, I am not absolutely clear on that matter).

I know that YOU are already familiar with Direct Democracy, so I will not belabour the point here other than:

1 Without Direct Democracy, or its equivalent, there is no ACCOUNTABILITY in government, and Pro-Rep improves that situation only marginally

2 As you said, 83% of those who voted in 1991 voted for Direct Democracy, the present government has promised in its election platform to "make the Initiative and Recall Act workable"; and this Assembly looks like the ideal body to accomplish this.

If you decide that this is within your mandate, I would suggest that the following documents (and many more) are essential to the Assembly's deliberation process, and I append the two shorter ones to this memo

1 Executive Summary of Direct Democracy (Appendix I) -  http://www.npsnet.com/cdd/
2 FAQs (Appendix II) - http://www.npsnet.com/cdd/FAQs.htm

3 Brian Beedham's 14pp article in the London Economist - Dec/96  http://www.npsnet.com/cdd/econom-1.htm

4 Report of the District of North Vancouver Task Force, 16pp, Feb/99 -  http://www.npsnet.com/cdd/NV-146521.pdf

Yours sincerely,

Colin Stark MBA
Canadians for Direct Democracy

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