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Learning Phase, Week 1

The "Learning Phase" was divided into six weekends of study, plus homework reading. The themes of this first weekend were Politics in BC — What do we want? and Criteria for evaluating electoral systems.

The weekends were organised into three sessions: Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Handouts provided to members and presentations for the first weekend can be downloaded here: 

Session 2: Politics in BC

Session 3: Assessing Electoral Systems


This was the agenda for the first weekend, January 10-11:


Saturday January 10

Morning: The Citizens' Assembly — getting started

Afternoon: Politics in BC — What do we want?

Current practices vs. alternative possibilities

  • Adversarial and party disciplined OR coalition style politics
  • Government dominated legislature OR greater parliamentary authority
  • Locally based OR interest (or party) structured representation
  • Irregular OR tightly tied vote-seat linkages
  • Either-or vote OR greater voter choice
Discussion Groups

  • What aspects of BC politics do you think work well?
  • Are there practices that don’t meet expectations?
  • Is party discipline good or bad for BC politics?
  • Is there one thing about BC politics you would most like to change?
Sunday January 11

Morning: Criteria for evaluating electoral systems — System and voters

System needs

  • Stable / effective parliament and government
  • Electoral accountability
  • Parliamentary scrutiny of government
  • Fair representation for all parties, groups
  • Democratic political parties

Voters’ needs

  • Maximize choice(s)
  • Identifiable representative
  • Foster participation
Illustration of trade-offs different systems provide

Discussion Groups
  • Which criteria are more important – for you as a voter, for BC?
  • How are criteria to be balanced?
  • Questions, and discussion of presentation

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