During the exhibition in Armstrong earlier this month, I was one of 12 people manning a booth with information about the upcoming federal election. I did so as an organizer for the Dogwood Initiative, which sponsored the booth, and a member of Renewing Democracy through Cooperation. Both groups are not affiliated with any party, focussing on issues important to us including: improving democracy, having more local decision-making power over projects which affect the environment, improving relations with First Nations, restoring Canada’s social safety net, and dealing with climate change.
We gave out information about the Dogwood questionnaire for B.C. candidates (votebc.ca). All of the local candidates had completed it except the Conservative, Mel Arnold. This is line with the rest of the province with only 1 of 42 Conservatives filling out the questionnaire; almost all candidates for the other three parties did so. Many passersby were puzzled or dismayed by the Conservatives’ lack of openness.
We encourage everyone to see if they are registered and, if not, to register online (www.elections.ca). We were struck by both the degree of uncertainty of voting intentions, and the willingness of voters to consider voting for parties for whom they had never before voted.
We carried out an informal poll, where passersby were encouraged to vote with a spoonful of water in the jar of the party of their choice. We performed the exercise three times over the course of the IPE. In the first result, the Conservatives narrowly beat out the NDP. In the second and third polls, the NDP came out ahead. It’s not a scientific poll, but an indication of the mood of the people who came up to speak with us at the IPE.