16 September 2007

In Today's Session of Political Science...

Today we were treated to a very informative, though-provoking and intriguing presentation by Dr. Edelgard Mahant, who is a professor in the Political Science Department at York University.

Professor Mahant came to educate us on what exactly the Referendum on October 10th is all about.

Voters will have the opportunity to say Yes or No to a new system of voting and political representation in Ontario.

I was overwhelmed to learn that this proposal would represent the biggest change in Ontario elections since women were given the vote in 1920. That was a very good thing, and very easy to understand and implement.

This proposal that we will be voting on is extremely complicated, and I'm not sure if most people will really understand it if the system were adopted. Equally important, I'm a little worried that, because of its complexity, people won't even vote on the Referendum question - which means that a small percentage of voters might be changing our entire system.


What's interesting is the fact that this issue has not even been introduced or debated in the Legislature. It wasn't even mentioned in the Leaders Debate last night. How can this be?

I want to personally thank Professor Mahant for taking the time out of her busy schedule to educate us on this very important issue. I only wish that all of you could have been there to learn about the Referendum question.

It's a critical. Please take the time to learn more about what it means, and, most importantly, what it means if you do not vote. If you don't take the time to learn more, it's impossible for you take make an informed decision.

Here's a link that describes the advantages to the proposed system:

And here's a link that explains the disadvantages:

Sharing is Caring

Today we received our first stories and experiences in the Feedback section.

I was encouraged to see that people really do want to share and express their experiences. But the stories themselves I found really touching.

I know that's sometimes difficult or intimidating to express feeling and personal. But it's these stories that help inspire others and help them appreciate something that might not have fallen within their universe of experience.

To Barbara in Lindsay, and Judy in Toronto, thank you for helping others appreciate how important the caregiver - even the informal ones - can be in improving and enhancing everyone's quality of life.

About An Hour and a Half Down the QEW

As you all know we are hosting an accessible all candidates debate in the riding of Welland on October 4th. Yesterday, Steve, Neil and I went to Brock University to check out the room that the debate will take place in. Brock has a great campus and is beautiful in more ways than one. It is without question the best campus that I have been to in my life, tied with Ryerson of course.
We met up with the very warm and friendly Tara Franken who coordinated the room for us. She took us to the room and it was truly a sight to behold. The room is perfect. Not to big, not to small, just right. It is exactly what we need, accessible from every angle.
It proved to be a very long day, with many other meetings, but it was all well worth it.

Do You Care?

My friends, we are at it again. During the 2006 federal election we asked to show your support for national disability legislation by voting and sending a message to the Prime Minister.
Now you have the opportunity to show your support for the introduction of a caregiver strategy to recognize those that care for others.
To show your support, all you have to do is click on the "I Care" link, follow the instructions and a message will go directly to the leaders of the Green, Liberal, NDP and PC parties indicating your support for the introduction of a caregiver strategy.
Caregivers are vital to the well being of our society because they provide help to those in need, especially seniors and those with disabilities. Without caregivers many people are unable to care for themselves and ultimately experience a poor quality of life.
Caregivers provide help with everyday tasks such as feeding, bathing, changing someone's clothes, cooking and much more.
The care that caregivers provide allow people to enjoy and contribute to society, and remain in their homes and communities. For example, because of caregiving people can get to their jobs and go out socially.
Whether your caregiver is a loved one or worker, caregivers are lifesavers. Vote and show that you "care".

Referendum on October 10th: Yes or No?

On election day, voters will have the option of voting for a referendum. A lot of you may be wondering what voting for a referendum means. The current voting system is known as first past-the-post. In the current system, there is one vote for each candidate in each electoral district, and the candidate with the most votes is the winner and will be the representative for the electoral district in the provincial legislature.
In contrast, voting for for mixed member proportional representation means that you support a mixed system which is a combination of the first past the post system and a proportional representation system.
One vote is for a local member in each electoral district and the other vote is for a political party. Votes for parties will be used to determine the number of 'List Members' each party gets. This is where proportional representation comes into play.
If a political party is entitled to more seats than it won locally, 'List Members' are elected to make up the difference. 'List Members' can only be elected from a political party that received more than 3% of these votes.
In the end, a political party's overall share of seats will roughly equal its share of the total votes for parties in the province. The party with the most seats in the legislature, including "local members" and "list members", will form the government.
Is the proposed "mixed" system a good thing? I am not sure but it is definitely something to think about on October 10th.

Debate in Don Valley

Yesterday was a first for me. It was the first accessible all candidates meeting I have attended in my life and it was the first accessible all candidates meeting being put on by our group. Ontario March of Dime, CNIB, the Canadian Hearing Society and the Canadian Paraplegic Association have joined forces to coordinate three accessible all candidates meetings in three different ridings in Ontario for the first time in a provincial election.
Yesterday's debate was hosted by CNIB and CPA and featured the candidates in the riding of Don Valley West. The candidates are:
· Adrian Walker - Green Party
· Kathleen Wynne - Liberal Party
· Mike Kenny - New Democratic Party
· John Torry - Progressive Conservative Party
Christine Elliot substituted for Mr. Torry because he was unable to attend.


The debate was intriguing and entertaining. As the debate began, a political protester dressed in a "Barney the Dinosaur" outfit entered the room with a negative sign about one of the candidates. "I love you, you love me." There was no love in the room for this Barney who was escorted out of the room.
The debate had a big crowd with people with disabilities and those without disabilities and was accessible in every way. Accessible features included attendants, intervenors, captioning and sign language interpretation. This is what inclusion is all about.
The debate questions and discussion were very interesting. People with disabilities will be happy to know that all candidates said that ODSP needs to be increased. Will they deliver if they are elected? That remains to be seen.
This debate was of particular interest to me as the candidates are in my riding. Who am I going to vote for? My friends, I can't tell you that.

Food For Thought

My friends, on my way to work this morning, there was one thought I could not get out of my head kind of like my favourite rap song. If I can vote why can’t you? Think about it. Election day is three weeks away.