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Stay up to date with Ottawa123.

City of Ottawa one step closer to more fair and friendly elections

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Press Release

Ottawa residents could soon have the opportunity to make their city elections more fair and friendly.  On Monday, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ted McMeekin, will introduce legislation allowing cities to change their voting system to Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) also known as Ranked Ballots.  Local advocacy group, Ottawa123, have long called for changes to the Municipal Elections Act to allow cities in Ontario to make the switch.   The move followed a summer of public consultations, during which the provincial government heard from Ontarians across the province about ways to make our city election processes more accessible and effective. “This small, simple change to Ottawa’s local elections could have a significant impact in increasing voter turnout and focusing campaigns on issues rather than mudslinging,” says Colum Grove-White, spokesperson for Ottawa123.  Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to rank electoral candidates, in order of preference.  To see a full explanation of how the system works, click here.    Ranked Choice Voting ensures that a candidate must win with over 50 per cent of the vote, eliminating vote splitting and strategic voting which are hallmarks of the first-past-the-post electoral system.  Because candidates will be vying for their opponents’ supporters second choice votes, elections would take on a more friendly tone which focuses the debate on issues rather than negative campaigning.  In 2014, nine councillors were elected with less than 50 per cent of the vote.      Ottawa123 is a non-partisan group of volunteers asking Ottawa City Council to change the current First-Past-the-Post voting system to a Ranked Choice Voting.  A growing number of city councillors support it, and over...

Ottawa123 Hosts Consultations on the Municipal Elections Act

The Government of Ontario has recently launched a review of legislation guiding municipal elections, and will soon allow municipalities to switch from our current first-past-the-post electoral system to Ranked Choice Voting.  However, the province wants YOUR thoughts on the upcoming changes to the Municipal Elections Act. Your voice is important! Ottawa123, in partnership with City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) and the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa is pleased to host a public consultation on changes to Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act on July 16.   We’re inviting all residents of Ottawa to have their voices heard on upcoming changes to the province’s Municipal Elections Act. We will have opening remarks from city councillors and a short presentation by a representative from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  We will then break out into small discussion groups which will include, but not be limited to: Ranked Choice Voting / Ranked Ballots Campaign Finance Rules the Candidate Nomination Process Enforcement of Election Rules Third Party Advertising Accessibility Your feedback at the consultation will be used to generate a consolidated submission including recommendations to the Government of Ottawa as they conduct their review of the legislation.  We hope this process will ensure that a broad range of citizens voices are heard. Join our Facebook event **Refreshments will be served** Can’t come?  You can submit your own feedback to the province here. Ottawa123 is a non-partisan, volunteer-led organization which advocates for Ranked Choice Voting for the City of Ottawa.  Click here to find out why Ranked Choice Voting works.  You can follow us on Twitter and like us on...

Why Regular Ol’Nick Joined Ottawa123

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Why Regular Ol’Nick Joined Ottawa123

Why did I join Ottawa123? No lie – my wife got me into it. But why I stayed with O123 is a different story. Ever since I started reading criticisms of our first-past-the-post system, I knew I wanted to do something to change the system. But, I’m a pretty busy guy, and I felt I didn’t have the right talent that was useful to the cause. Sure, I can sign the petition and write to my councillor, but I didn’t know enough about the ins-and-outs of how voting systems work. I’ll be honest – I’m no expert in politics. At all. But, like most Ottawans, I’m sensible enough to be able to tell that our electoral system is broken, and I tend to side with solutions to make our elections fairer. This is why I continue to support ranked choice voting and campaign with Ottawa123. And what a good choice that has been! I realized that even though I believed and supported RCV on a level that most of our 2000 petition signatories do (that’s a plug – go sign the petition now!), it was even more important to actively show our politicians that the voting reform movement doesn’t come from political geeks like my (precious, lovely,) wife. I’m learning that successful campaigns aren’t run by a few experts alone, but requires a lot more regular ol’ people like myself. In fact, campaigns only work that way. In my time with Ottawa123, I’ve been able to get involved in a whole variety of cool events like the Pride Parade, Soup Ottawa, City Idol, and Stitching the Social Safety Net....

Rocking the (Ranked) Vote

Colum Grove-White, writes for Samara’s Blog As voting reform activists, the biggest problem we face is getting our message out in a celebrity-and-disaster-driven news cycle.  Electoral reform is one of the most critical imperatives confronting us, but if you’re already reading this, chances are I’m preaching to the choir. Like climate change, aging populations, and global governance–all pivotal issues–the case for voting reform doesn’t translate to an obvious, compelling storyline.  We won’t die of first-past-the-post elections.  We won’t discover the cure for ebola through proportional representation. We won’t stop ISIS with ranked ballots. While most Canadians understand the mechanics of how we vote, the impact of the first-past-the-post system on our democratic fabric seems abstract and irrelevant.  Expecting Canadians to wake up tomorrow preoccupied with electoral reform is about as likely as hearing Putin has won a Nobel Peace Prize; as democratic activists we know we’ve got to think outside the box for more effective ways to get people interested. At Ottawa123, we’re trying to find better ways of getting people excited about municipal voting reform.  Ottawa123 is the Ranked Choice Voting Initiative of the City of Ottawa, just one of the various, non-partisan 1-2-3 movements springing up across Ontario, calling for cities to ditch our first-past-the-post system in favour of ranked ballots to make our elections more fair and friendly.  And while there are no buckets of ice on our Ottawa123 agenda, we’re aiming to making voting reform as easy as 1-2-3. Critics of voting reform argue it’s just too complicated for the average voter–one of the many factors that torpedoed voting reform referenda in Ontario and British...

It ain’t apathy, we’re just dissatisfied…

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It ain’t apathy, we’re just dissatisfied…

And sometimes, we feel downright hopeless about improving our political institutions. I’m hopeful that by now, we can all agree that ‘apathy’ isn’t the right word to describe reasons behind declining voter turnout and civic participation among young people or the general population.  When navigating a political system that noticeably favours the voice of some over others, too often allows for democratic misrepresentation, and (un)intentionally makes it difficult – if not impossible – to get involved in a meaningful way, it’s no wonder we’re turned off by our political institutions. In fact, 60% of Ottawans didn’t vote in our last elections. To me, this means that we’re so turned off that the mandate to reject political representation altogether was actually stronger than the mandate to have our mayor run the city. So here’s what’s neat about what the young’uns are doing: despite this sad portrait of a broken democracy that seems too futile to fix, we care. We actually care.  Young people are optimistic, passionate, and driven towards improving their social, environmental, and political conditions. In Canada, we’ve seen this reflected in movements like Occupy, Idle No More, Drop Fees, climate change, fair-trade, and the list goes on. Likewise, young people have been instrumental to and at the forefront of political reform advocacy. We know something’s broken, and we are compelled to fix it. Ottawa123 is just one of many groups driven towards improving our electoral system to make it more fair and friendly for our generation and the next. What’s unique about this campaign is that most of us are in our 20s and 30s, diverse in our...

Unveiling the “Stitching our Social Safety Net” quilt

Ottawa123 members participated in creating a piece of the “Stitching our Social Safety Net” quilt which was unveiled at City Hall on the 29th of September. The event was intended to give municipal election candidates an opportunity to engage the community’s concerns surrounding poverty and mental health issues. Our piece of the quilt showcased the Ottawa skyline, including the Peace Tower, formed by the colourful numbers 1, 2 and 3. We added the phrase: “A healthy democracy makes a healthy city.” Here are a few photos of the event including our part of the quilt:...

Why Voting Reform Matters to Policy Making

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Why Voting Reform Matters to Policy Making

As a front-line Community Mental Health Worker, for the past five years I’ve worked with individuals dealing with severe mental illness living in poverty.  It’s frustrating to see that many of the barriers they experience have more to do with a system keeping them in poverty, rather than their illness. This has led me to question how we can make it better.  For a long time, I used to think that change was largely about going straight to the “source”, which is improving policy.  However, I’ve come to realize that better policy won’t happen until we have a political system that forces leaders to actually be held accountable to their voters. I don’t believe that people are apathetic towards the most vulnerable amongst us. I do however think that we are stuck with a system that doesn’t properly represent the concerns of it’s people. When I think about the issues that I care about deeply, I increasingly feel that changing the electoral system is becoming our first priority. Currently, by splitting the vote, many are forced against their values in order to avoid an outcome they oppose even more. Without reform, we will continue to see results that are at odds with the majority. It seems clear that the oft-quoted decline in voter turnout is a statement about how discouraged we are with politics in general.  While Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) can be a small change at the municipal level, it is the continuation of a larger conversation regarding the quality of our democracy in Canada. For me, working on Ottawa123 is the start of getting involved in this...

News

Stay up to date with Ottawa123.

City of Ottawa one step closer to more fair and friendly elections

Read more

Press Release

Ottawa residents could soon have the opportunity to make their city elections more fair and friendly.  On Monday, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ted McMeekin, will introduce legislation allowing cities to change their voting system to Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) also known as Ranked Ballots.  Local advocacy group, Ottawa123, have long called for changes to the Municipal Elections Act to allow cities in Ontario to make the switch.   The move followed a summer of public consultations, during which the provincial government heard from Ontarians across the province about ways to make our city election processes more accessible and effective. “This small, simple change to Ottawa’s local elections could have a significant impact in increasing voter turnout and focusing campaigns on issues rather than mudslinging,” says Colum Grove-White, spokesperson for Ottawa123.  Ranked Choice Voting allows voters to rank electoral candidates, in order of preference.  To see a full explanation of how the system works, click here.    Ranked Choice Voting ensures that a candidate must win with over 50 per cent of the vote, eliminating vote splitting and strategic voting which are hallmarks of the first-past-the-post electoral system.  Because candidates will be vying for their opponents’ supporters second choice votes, elections would take on a more friendly tone which focuses the debate on issues rather than negative campaigning.  In 2014, nine councillors were elected with less than 50 per cent of the vote.      Ottawa123 is a non-partisan group of volunteers asking Ottawa City Council to change the current First-Past-the-Post voting system to a Ranked Choice Voting.  A growing number of city councillors support it, and over...

Ottawa123 Hosts Consultations on the Municipal Elections Act

The Government of Ontario has recently launched a review of legislation guiding municipal elections, and will soon allow municipalities to switch from our current first-past-the-post electoral system to Ranked Choice Voting.  However, the province wants YOUR thoughts on the upcoming changes to the Municipal Elections Act. Your voice is important! Ottawa123, in partnership with City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) and the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa is pleased to host a public consultation on changes to Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act on July 16.   We’re inviting all residents of Ottawa to have their voices heard on upcoming changes to the province’s Municipal Elections Act. We will have opening remarks from city councillors and a short presentation by a representative from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.  We will then break out into small discussion groups which will include, but not be limited to: Ranked Choice Voting / Ranked Ballots Campaign Finance Rules the Candidate Nomination Process Enforcement of Election Rules Third Party Advertising Accessibility Your feedback at the consultation will be used to generate a consolidated submission including recommendations to the Government of Ottawa as they conduct their review of the legislation.  We hope this process will ensure that a broad range of citizens voices are heard. Join our Facebook event **Refreshments will be served** Can’t come?  You can submit your own feedback to the province here. Ottawa123 is a non-partisan, volunteer-led organization which advocates for Ranked Choice Voting for the City of Ottawa.  Click here to find out why Ranked Choice Voting works.  You can follow us on Twitter and like us on...

Why Regular Ol’Nick Joined Ottawa123

Read more

Why Regular Ol’Nick Joined Ottawa123

Why did I join Ottawa123? No lie – my wife got me into it. But why I stayed with O123 is a different story. Ever since I started reading criticisms of our first-past-the-post system, I knew I wanted to do something to change the system. But, I’m a pretty busy guy, and I felt I didn’t have the right talent that was useful to the cause. Sure, I can sign the petition and write to my councillor, but I didn’t know enough about the ins-and-outs of how voting systems work. I’ll be honest – I’m no expert in politics. At all. But, like most Ottawans, I’m sensible enough to be able to tell that our electoral system is broken, and I tend to side with solutions to make our elections fairer. This is why I continue to support ranked choice voting and campaign with Ottawa123. And what a good choice that has been! I realized that even though I believed and supported RCV on a level that most of our 2000 petition signatories do (that’s a plug – go sign the petition now!), it was even more important to actively show our politicians that the voting reform movement doesn’t come from political geeks like my (precious, lovely,) wife. I’m learning that successful campaigns aren’t run by a few experts alone, but requires a lot more regular ol’ people like myself. In fact, campaigns only work that way. In my time with Ottawa123, I’ve been able to get involved in a whole variety of cool events like the Pride Parade, Soup Ottawa, City Idol, and Stitching the Social Safety Net....

Rocking the (Ranked) Vote

Colum Grove-White, writes for Samara’s Blog As voting reform activists, the biggest problem we face is getting our message out in a celebrity-and-disaster-driven news cycle.  Electoral reform is one of the most critical imperatives confronting us, but if you’re already reading this, chances are I’m preaching to the choir. Like climate change, aging populations, and global governance–all pivotal issues–the case for voting reform doesn’t translate to an obvious, compelling storyline.  We won’t die of first-past-the-post elections.  We won’t discover the cure for ebola through proportional representation. We won’t stop ISIS with ranked ballots. While most Canadians understand the mechanics of how we vote, the impact of the first-past-the-post system on our democratic fabric seems abstract and irrelevant.  Expecting Canadians to wake up tomorrow preoccupied with electoral reform is about as likely as hearing Putin has won a Nobel Peace Prize; as democratic activists we know we’ve got to think outside the box for more effective ways to get people interested. At Ottawa123, we’re trying to find better ways of getting people excited about municipal voting reform.  Ottawa123 is the Ranked Choice Voting Initiative of the City of Ottawa, just one of the various, non-partisan 1-2-3 movements springing up across Ontario, calling for cities to ditch our first-past-the-post system in favour of ranked ballots to make our elections more fair and friendly.  And while there are no buckets of ice on our Ottawa123 agenda, we’re aiming to making voting reform as easy as 1-2-3. Critics of voting reform argue it’s just too complicated for the average voter–one of the many factors that torpedoed voting reform referenda in Ontario and British...

It ain’t apathy, we’re just dissatisfied…

Read more

It ain’t apathy, we’re just dissatisfied…

And sometimes, we feel downright hopeless about improving our political institutions. I’m hopeful that by now, we can all agree that ‘apathy’ isn’t the right word to describe reasons behind declining voter turnout and civic participation among young people or the general population.  When navigating a political system that noticeably favours the voice of some over others, too often allows for democratic misrepresentation, and (un)intentionally makes it difficult – if not impossible – to get involved in a meaningful way, it’s no wonder we’re turned off by our political institutions. In fact, 60% of Ottawans didn’t vote in our last elections. To me, this means that we’re so turned off that the mandate to reject political representation altogether was actually stronger than the mandate to have our mayor run the city. So here’s what’s neat about what the young’uns are doing: despite this sad portrait of a broken democracy that seems too futile to fix, we care. We actually care.  Young people are optimistic, passionate, and driven towards improving their social, environmental, and political conditions. In Canada, we’ve seen this reflected in movements like Occupy, Idle No More, Drop Fees, climate change, fair-trade, and the list goes on. Likewise, young people have been instrumental to and at the forefront of political reform advocacy. We know something’s broken, and we are compelled to fix it. Ottawa123 is just one of many groups driven towards improving our electoral system to make it more fair and friendly for our generation and the next. What’s unique about this campaign is that most of us are in our 20s and 30s, diverse in our...

Unveiling the “Stitching our Social Safety Net” quilt

Ottawa123 members participated in creating a piece of the “Stitching our Social Safety Net” quilt which was unveiled at City Hall on the 29th of September. The event was intended to give municipal election candidates an opportunity to engage the community’s concerns surrounding poverty and mental health issues. Our piece of the quilt showcased the Ottawa skyline, including the Peace Tower, formed by the colourful numbers 1, 2 and 3. We added the phrase: “A healthy democracy makes a healthy city.” Here are a few photos of the event including our part of the quilt:...

Why Voting Reform Matters to Policy Making

Read more

Why Voting Reform Matters to Policy Making

As a front-line Community Mental Health Worker, for the past five years I’ve worked with individuals dealing with severe mental illness living in poverty.  It’s frustrating to see that many of the barriers they experience have more to do with a system keeping them in poverty, rather than their illness. This has led me to question how we can make it better.  For a long time, I used to think that change was largely about going straight to the “source”, which is improving policy.  However, I’ve come to realize that better policy won’t happen until we have a political system that forces leaders to actually be held accountable to their voters. I don’t believe that people are apathetic towards the most vulnerable amongst us. I do however think that we are stuck with a system that doesn’t properly represent the concerns of it’s people. When I think about the issues that I care about deeply, I increasingly feel that changing the electoral system is becoming our first priority. Currently, by splitting the vote, many are forced against their values in order to avoid an outcome they oppose even more. Without reform, we will continue to see results that are at odds with the majority. It seems clear that the oft-quoted decline in voter turnout is a statement about how discouraged we are with politics in general.  While Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) can be a small change at the municipal level, it is the continuation of a larger conversation regarding the quality of our democracy in Canada. For me, working on Ottawa123 is the start of getting involved in this...