Tuesday, April 10, 2007

City Council is Voting To Support a Flawed Plebiscite Strategy---Not Public Opinion!

A number of city councillors and the mayor have publicly stated that they think the ward system is best for Oshawa and yet they have also said they are supporting the plebiscite result.

They believe this is honoring the wishes expressed by the people of Oshawa.

This is not so! What they are doing is supporting a flawed plebiscite process--not public opinion.

If they were supporting public opinion they would have seen a lot of press supporting this view...instead, they have seen the opposite both in media editorials and in letters to the editor.

Despite the plebiscite result, the vast majority of expressed public sentiment has been for retaining ward voting.

Democracy absolutely requires an informed public…and council failed to see that the public was adequately informed. On the contrary, they seemed to strategize to minimize any public information or debate about the issue. This was absolutely irresponsible and undemocratic and resulted in the entire plebiscite process being severely flawed.

The people were given no details or background about the question and most had never anticipated it before they saw it on the ballot. There was no public debate or discussion about the subject. And the question was confusing.

Politicians say that they are surprised at the plebiscite result. They shouldn’t be.

Without public information and debate about an issue, it is impossible to gauge public opinion via plebiscite.

Whenever public opinion is sought via plebiscite, systems are always set up to insure that the public is well informed on the issue and public debate and discussion ensues before the vote. It is irresponsible to do otherwise. And Oshawa Council in its strategy minimized public information, debate, and discussion. This in turn minimizes the weight one can place on the result.

The way the question is asked often solicits a given response…and that, along with the lack of public information, produced the plebiscite result. The confusing question required voters to vote “NO’ to retain ward voting.

The result was obviously contrary to public wishes since no public dissatisfaction with the ward system was ever expressed. If the result was consistent with public wishes, surely there would have been some evidence of dissatisfaction with ward voting prior to the vote.

Instead, the whole process was politically driven.

What council did in putting the question on the ballot was to raise an issue where none existed. One has to question their motivation for doing this…and the only possible reason seems to be to serve the self interest of incumbents in guaranteeing their lifelong council seats.

Politicians are experts at gauging public opinion…and yet say they are surprised at the result. Perhaps they should examine the disconnect between their own view and the view of the public as expressed on the plebiscite.

Perhaps they should consider whether all of council’s actions leading up to the plebiscite were flawed.

If that is the case, then politicians should realize that by upholding the plebiscite result, they are not supporting it at all. Instead they are supporting the flawed system that failed to inform the public along with a question that confused them.

As political experts, they know this to be the case.

So the politicians who are voting against retaining ward voting that they have said they believe to be best for Oshawa---Mayor Gray and Councillors Sholdra, Parkes, Marimpietri and Henry---rethink your vote. Join Councillors Cullen, Neal, Lutczyk, and Nicholson in voting to preserve the ward system that you have said is best for Oshawa. Do not continue to support the plebiscite outcome that resulted from a seriously flawed communication shortcoming that led to it.

Please change your vote to support what you know to be in the best interests of Oshawa!

The long-term health of Oshawa depends upon a vibrant and accountable city council and we are depending on you to do the “right thing” for Oshawa and its people.

Don’t continue to vote in favor of the flawed system that produced the plebiscite result!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The audacity of certain politicians knows no bound and the general population should strongly oppose this dictatorial behaviour from Oshawa Council. The proposal to abandon the ward system, done at a time when we have so many REAL problems, reflects the self-serving attitudes that many politicians have and an unconsciable drain on resources; in fact, it is a diversion from the REAL pressing issues that many politicians hope will go unnoticed. If the ward system is ever abandoned, this will be another indication that democracy is very very sick in this country and that we are in fact becoming more and more a banana republic.