The vote in the western world is synonymous with our freedoms. It dictates that ordinary people can choose their political leaders. It dictates that voters can remove politicians who no longer have the confidence of the people. It dictates that the people have control over their destiny. It dictates that politicians are the "servants of the people". It dictates that politicians not serving the public will can be removed from office by ordinary people.
In Oshawa we will lose these basic principles of freedom if the city politicians are successful in replacing ward voting with the general or "at large" vote.
Our "Right" to cast a "meaningful" vote goes to the very heart of our way of life. Revolutions have been and are currently being fought in many sections of the world to allow ordinary people to get this right that we are about to lose. A vote without the power to change the political landscape is not a vote at all...it is simply an exercise in futility.
Many dictatorial regimes, and you can name many of these as well as I, offer the people a vote...but the voting exercise is just a sham that has not one iota of influence in changing the governments or its players. There is either only one name or party on the ballot or the count is "fixed" so that the "same old" to no one's surprise always emerges victorious.
This will be the result in Oshawa if we get the general vote. The "same old" will continue to be elected until they die or retire...and further we will have a council where all of the members eventually will come from a few of the richer areas of Oshawa leaving large sections of the city disenfranchised and unrepresented.
Under the seven general vote elections leading up to Oshawa winning ward elections in 1985, 109 total council positions were contested. Not one of those 109 seats was won by any citizen residing south of King Street. Eight of Fifteen Council Members came from one ward and an additional three members came from one polling subdivision of about 100 houses at the end of Regent Drive in the then Ward Three. This was a council that was not all all representative of the people of Oshawa.
Those general vote councils did little to provide any leadership for Oshawa. No member was interested in solving neighbourhood problems worth 10 or 12 votes because this was insignificant when a total of 20,000 to 25,000 votes were required for election. Therefore there was no one you could call to work on your community problem. Promoting their name was the only thing important to politicians so that they would argue, backbite, bitch, bicker and grandstand fighting for press. They were reluctant to support good ideas of fellow council members because they were all competitors for city-wide votes and so no politician wanted to give another member any press. The result, stagnation in Oshawa. Because council members were well-known, they were always victorious and so only one member lost lost his seat at the polls when the perpetually top polling local councillor, Cy Elsey, ran Regionally and defeated perpetually lowest polling regional councillor, John McLaughlin. All other change took place through death or resignation of members.
Experience is that the general vote produces a "permanent ruling class" where the public vote doesn't count...sounds almost like a absolute totalitarian junta of despots in some third world country, doesn't it?
We are about to lose what many in the world give their life to preserve.
Don't let it happen here, Oshawa!