I am a firm believer that every election is an important one, but some are more important than others. I also don’t subscribe to the idea that we can have too much democracy. During my seven years in Canada I have watched each election intently. Maybe not with the same care that I watch the American elections, since I can actually vote there and the US is my home country, nonetheless I am an avid election watcher.
These last spate of elections (municipal and the leadership races and the federal election) were slightly different, as I was paying more attention to the use of Social Media (#soc media). Frankly, I have been watching the use of social media in the US, as an American trained Political Scientist who regular teaches American Politics. But, what I found different this last round was the use of some “old school” technology to reach out to voters.
Last fall, the first Town hall Teleforum or Telephone Town hall took place in British Columbia. It was coordinated by the Barry Hobbis for City Council (Victoria, BC or #YYJ) Campaign. This ended up being the first of many of the phone town halls. What happens is that there is a well-organized phone conference with constituents. Usually the constituents are registered party members or supporters. The phone rings during the dinner hour and you listen in on the town hall. There are also opportunities to call in and ask questions.
The teleforums were also common this winter during the BC Provincial Liberal leadership races. I have now listened to three of the teleforms and tried to organize a public teleform during the leadership race, but there wasn’t enough lead time and it was too close to the Reading Break.
Last Thursday evening, I was contacted about the teleforum that it set to take place this evening and I jumped on it to help facilitate this event. It’s important to note a few things, though. This event is about voter engagement and demystifying the teleforum. While we will listen to one candidate’s teleforum this event is not an implicit endorsement for the candidate by me, the Political Science department or the University of Victoria. I do thank students for their help in booking the event.
There will be information shared about voting in the election and this information is for everyone. My hope is that the audiences will comprise people of different partisanship, so that we can listen and then have a discussion about the teleforum. And, I do think it’s important to end reminding people that I vote in the United States. I cannot vote in Canada, so I’ll be watching intently the American election during the next 18 months. Americans like elections to simmer, boil, simmer, boil and repeat every two years for the Congress and have a Presidential circus, I mean, election every four years!
I hope that you can make tonight’s event. Here are the details:
Christopher Causton’s Teleforum at 6pm at Social Sciences Mathematics A (SSM A) Room 120.
Please remember that you have to pay to park at UVic. The closest parking lot is Lot 4 by Centennial Stadium. Here is a parking lot map for the campus: http://www.uvic.ca/maps/pdfs/Accessibility-Map-2010.pdf Park in Lot 4 and then walk across the cross walk to the building. Enter and take the elevator or stairs to the first floor.