Wednesday, September 30, 2009

There must be a better way, or is there?

Of great debate in Canada and particularly British Columbia is the way we elect our government representatives and how our vote is counted. This debate has even progressed to the point of British Columbians voting in a referendum regarding changing from the first-past-the -post system to the Single Transferable Vote during our last provincial election in May, 2009. (It was defeated with only 39% of the voters voting in favour of it.) (for more on the single Transferable Vote and what it is click here.

We have examined some of the pros and cons of our current system and what some of the alternatives are so I want to here from you.

Comment on what system you think is the best. Should we try something new? Is the problem really in how our votes are counted or in the fact that so few people actually vote? How do you think we can fix our system so our government actually represents the people? (If you need to refresh your memory refer to your Counterpoints textbook pages 253-255.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Exploring Your Political Views

Read the following instructions and complete the two activities. These were developed by a friend of mine, Mr. Thielmann, over at DP Todd.

Activity One
Purpose: find out what kind of political views you have and how they compare with world figures and political parties

go to
read the instructions and complete the quiz
read through your results page to learn about your views
summarize what you learned from the quiz by commenting in response to this posting on the course blog --

left vs right: left-wing usually means more government control over industry and economy; right-ring usually means less government regulation and intervention (laissez-faire)
authoritarian vs libertarian: authoritarian means powerful government which controls rights and freedoms, sometimes it can be a dictatorship; libertarian means less government control of rights, sometimes less government in general

Activity Two
Purpose: learn about different ways of organizing nations by politics, economy, and values

go to
read the introduction and sign up to “build” your nation
experiment with the simulation for as long as you need to see how it works, more if you have the time (warning: NationStates can be addictive!)
summarize what you learned from the simulation by commenting on this posting on the course blog --

See how the choices you make at the beginning affect the kind of country which is generated by the simulator. Look at other countries and issues around the “world” to see what others have done.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The People's Voice

Election Day is upon us and BC, or at least 30% of the eligible voters, are heading to the polls to decide on who should lead us into the next decade and through some of the biggest challenges we have faced in over half a century.

As this will be the last time you are forced to sit on the sidelines through an election inquiring minds want to know where you stand.

Task: Visit the following links and do some research (reading) on the various provincial parties and their platforms in order to gain an understanding of the choices voters have. Who do you support, who seems to represent your point of view?
Research the Parties (click on the parties tab to visit the party websites)

Explore some of the issues and take note of how the different parties stand on the issues that matter to you. What are the big issues for you? Does how a party stand on an issue affect your opinion of them?
Examine the Issues

Finally, surf through some of the news items to gain an understanding of how parties and specific candidates are portrayed in the media. Do you think the media is unbiased and fair in their reporting? Do the media items change your mind about who you support?
The Election and the News on the news tab to access different news sources)

Comment on the above questions, make sure to provide specific examples to support your opinions.

Would you vote yes or no in support of the Single Transferable Vote? Explain your reasons.

Visit What is the STV to learn more.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Civil Liberties and You

In October 1970 Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act in response to kidnappings of James Cross and Pierre Laporte by the FLQ.

This gave the police almost unlimited powers in searching out suspected terrorists and suspended many of the civil liberties that are the foundation of a democratic society.

Since the events of the September 11, 2001 we have seen the government gain increasing power and control in their efforts to keep us safe from terrorism.

What rights do you believe in the most? Do think we should give up some of our individual freedoms to ensure our safety and where should we draw the line? Give an example when you have felt your civil liberties or "rights" have been abused.