Sunday, October 20, 2013

Calgary Democracy: About all the candidates

I'm asking Calgarians to forward this message, and perhaps post the link on sites like Twitter and Facebook, please.

CALGARY DEMOCRACY: ABOUT ALL THE CANDIDATES

For the past six years, I've been running a project called Calgary Democracy. It's an effort to compile information about all candidates in local elections and make that information easily accessible to potential voters (and anyone else who might be interested).

http://calgarydemocracy.ca/

For this year's municipal election (voting day: Monday, October 21) the site has a list of all the candidates (Mayor, City Council and the two School Boards), their web-links, contact information, and social media links.

There's also a list (which I believe to be complete) of all the published candidate survey responses. Various organizations, from radically different perspectives, have surveyed candidates on issues such as arts, business, campaign finance, labour, sports, sustainability, taxes, transit, transportation, and more.

The site also has a calendar of events, primarily candidate forums and debates, but that's mostly done now as the election period is almost over.

SUGGESTED TWITTER POST:

Complete list of candidates, including school boards. Web-links, contacts, social media, candidate surveys. http://calgarydemocracy.ca/ #yycvote

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

I'm far from the only one trying to bring information to the public in this election. For example, all of the local media have special election sections on their websites, and many advocacy groups have posted candidate and issue information. I want to highlight a few non-commercial websites in particular:
  • City of Calgary, Official Election Information. (http://calgary.ca/election/)
    Find out which ward you are in, where to vote, how to vote, and more.
  • Livestream Calgary video archive. (http://www.livestreamcalgary.com/category/videos/)
    This volunteer group provided live video feeds of many of the election forums, and have made the recorded videos available online.
  • Calgary Politics. (http://calgarypolitics.com/)
    An "aggregate" blog compiling posts from a variety of local bloggers. They have been interviewing many of the candidates, including for the School Boards.

MOTIVATIONS

Calgary Democracy is run, not as non-partisan but, as "omni-partisan". I have tried to include every applicable available link and source (even the ones I personally find offensive).

I actually believe that democracy is a good idea. So, I don't want to tell people who to vote for. Instead, I want people to bring their own perspectives and consideration to the issues and make their own individual choices.

For that to work, we all need access to all the information. That means not just talking about the "top job" (Mayor), and not just talking about the candidates considered "most likely to win". It means talking about all aspects of the decisions we face. This includes the "unlikely" candidates, and the positions some consider "less important" (such as the School Board Trustees).

LOGISTICS

All content on the website has been posted by me. There are a few reasons for this; the biggest being that I custom wrote the web server software and it's a hassle to write a secure multi-user system (that code is in the works, but isn't ready yet). I'm also very wary of opening up the site too much because of the high volume of political disinformation that gets posted online. It would be awful to have a candidate's info page filled with attacks on the candidate that obscure the candidate's actual message (even if I really dislike their message).

Calgary Democracy is a zero-budget project. The website is run on my personal web server (along with other websites I host). I've received no money for it this year (I did receive some personal donations in 2010 for the project to help me be able to spend less time doing job work and more time working on the project). I'm not asking for any donations this year because I just don't want to deal with that. I wouldn't say no to friends inviting me to a vegan lunch or dinner occasionally, though ;-)

CONTACT

I always appreciate hearing from people who may have found the site useful. Did it help you to choose amongst the candidates? Did it help you decide whether to vote or not? Are there things you would add or change?

Email: open@calgarydemocracy.ca
Twitter: @yycelect