It was a peaceful climate justice protest organized by a high school student inspired by activist Greta Thunberg. A man approached us to say he fully supported what we were doing; and in the next breath said he hoped we didn’t think the carbon tax was going to make a difference. A fellow protester asked him what approach we should take: “Reduce, reuse and recycle. Just like we’ve always done.” Our visitor then jumped into his car and drove away.
Talking about the next municipal election right after the most recent one is like talking about alcohol the day after a big party: For some people, even the mere mention brings discomfort.
But I would argue now is the exact time that we as citizens — with and through our elected officials — should be talking about it. Let’s face it — the most recent election raised a couple important issues: how we vote in the first place, and how we can get consensus in our wards.
How do we want to vote?
Most citizens who bothered to vote (or perhaps tried to vote, in our case) are aware that, like 48 other municipalities, the City of Kawartha Lakes’ election had to be extended an additional 24 hours because of technical problems with the company hired to administer our online-and-phone-only election, Dominion Voting. (Dominion Voting originally reported the problem affected 51 municipalities but has since reduced that number to 49).
As a Scot and a leading Basic Income advocate, I was delighted to see the leadership of Ontario demonstrated in initiating experiments to test out the concept in the Province. Given our cultural and historical links, there was a huge amount that we could tap into, allowing a chance to shape the pilots which we are also developing in Scotland.
In particular, the harnessing of civic society and communities was particularly inspiring, and a motivator to do the same in our context – truly making an experiment for everyone, not just academics or policy makers.
It’s an annual ritual that occurs in the last week or so of June. Families and friends crowd into a hot auditorium and take their seats in front of a stage gaily decorated in floral blooms, the national and provincial flags, and the time-honoured school colours of red, blue, and old gold.
While the assembled multitude fan themselves with programs distributed at the auditorium door by student ushers, a long procession is forming in the hallway just beyond “the four corners.” Grade 12 students have donned dark blue robes and are being carefully marshalled into formation.