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Learning about electoral systems

The members of the Citizens' Assembly began their task by learning about, and studying, electoral systems that are in use around the world. That included the one in use in B.C., the Single Member Plurality system that is often called the First Past the Post.

This "learning phase" began on January 10, 2004, in Vancouver. It ran for six full weekends, spread over January, February and March, at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street, in downtown Vancouver.

At the conclusion of the "learning phase," in late March, Assembly members prepared a Preliminary Statement to the People of B.C., outlining electoral values they believed had merit, and questions for further consideration.  This report was intended to stimulate public discussion and kick-off the public hearing phase of the Assembly's work.

The educational program was designed by, and was delivered by, two internationally renowned experts on electoral systems. They were Dr. Ken Carty, the Assembly's chief research officer, and Dr. Campbell Sharman, associate research officer. Other experts were called in as needed.

Their program was neutral and objective. Written materials and presentations from the members' Learning Phase are posted on this website, and so are a number of audio and video clips.

Prof. Carty was on secondment from the University of B.C. to work with the Assembly. He is a former head of UBC's political science department (1996-2001) and teaches courses on Canadian and comparative Western politics. He is widely published.

Prof. Sharman is an honourary associate professor at UBC. He joined UBC in 2002 after a distinguished career at the University of Western Australia. He, too, has been published, and his degrees include one from Queen's University in Kingston ON.

Related Information

Wosk Centre

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