Citizens Assembly News Digest
(Late Breaking News)
October 19, 2007
Written by J.H. Snider
Saskatchewan Premier Promises a Citizens Assembly if Re-Elected on November 7
Seemingly out of the blue, Saskatchewan's Premier, Lornie Calvert, today announced that if he was re-elected on November 7, he would convene a Citizens Assembly by May 7, 2008. A link to the press release is here. The press release itself is pasted below.
Calvert Promises Citizens’ Assembly to Improve Voting System
October 19, 2007
Premier Lorne Calvert announced today that within six months of re-election he would convene a Citizen’s Assembly to make recommendations on improving the functioning of democratic institutions in Saskatchewan.
“Democracy is much too important to be left solely to politicians,” Calvert said. “When significant change to our democracy is being proposed, it is absolutely vital that that process be led by the citizens, and not the politicians, of Saskatchewan.”
The Citizens’ Assembly will be a non-partisan group of randomly-selected individuals who reflect Saskatchewan’s demographics and geographical regions. The Assembly would consult widely and propose changes to the province’s electoral system. Among the items it would consider are:
- fixed election dates;
- methods for increasing voter participation;
- representative models; and
- voting age.
Recommendations dealing with questions of fundamental nature to the functioning of our democracy, including representative models and the voting age, will be considered by the people of Saskatchewan through a referendum. Recommendations dealing with non-fundamental questions, including fixed election dates and methods of increasing voter participation, will be considered by the Legislative Assembly in advance of the next general election and could be in place by that time.
The Chief Electoral Officer will be involved in the process and the Citizens’ Assembly will have access to government and academic administrative and research-related supports. It is expected to cost $3 million over four years.
“A stronger Saskatchewan is a Saskatchewan where the citizens are firmly engaged and in charge of the democratic process,” Premier Calvert said. “I look forward to the vigorous public debate which this process will unleash, and I am confident that this will engage even more people into our democratic process.
“On November 7th, Saskatchewan voters face a choice. They can risk change by electing the Saskatchewan Party, who will say anything to get elected, or they can choose the NDP, who wants to put citizens firmly in charge of our democratic process.”
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