Helsinki Citizens Assembly

By Metta Spencer

In our September/October issue we asked you to define some possible non-territorial constituencies and propose some issues to be placed on the ballot. Thanks for your participation. We entered your responses on a computer database. In some cases a person chose as her preferred constituency some rather unusual identity, such as "Hindu," "German," "atheist," "animal rights activist," or "Chinese." However, in those cases, the second-choice or third- choice usually was a more common one, and in a few cases we combined several identities, such as Hindu and Chinese, producing a more general category, "Asian." Proceeding in this way, we narrowed the list of constituencies to nine-Anglophone, Asian, Catholic, Environmentalist, Female, Feminist, Male, Peace activist, and Student. Then we narrowed the list of propositions to 18 two arising from each of the nine constituencies. (As you can see, there need not be any logical connection between the tide of the constituency and the propositions that its members suggest.)

Now we proceed to Stage Two. We ask you and your friends to choose one of the nine constituencies and, within your chosen constituency, one of the two propositions. That's all for this time. You're not voting on the issues this time, but only to determine which issues should appear on the ballot. In the March/April issue of Peace, you will have a chance to vote for or against all nine of the propositions that will be on the "referendum" ballot. We want as many responses as possible. If you are willing, send in the responses of all your friends and relatives too. We will explain later what this is about.

Anglophone

  1. The government shall reduce the deficit every year.
  2. Canada shall increase support for sustainable development at home and around the world.

Asian

  1. Tobacco may not be sold in Canada nor smoked in public places.
  2. Financial aid for poor students shall be increased.

Catholic

  1. The Young Offenders Act shall be repealed and stronger penalties shall be imposed on juveniles who commit crimes.
  2. Public funds shall be increased for subsidizing employment opportunities and reduced for subsidizing welfare payments.

Environmentalist

  1. Manufacturers must immediate cease using chlorofluorocarbons in Canada.
  2. Animals may no longer be hunted or trapped in Canada for use as food or clothing, except by aboriginal peoples.

Female

  1. Women who wish to care for their own children at home may receive a subsidy so they can do so instead of working for pay elsewhere.
  2. Funding for day care centres shall be increased to meet the needs of working Canadian families.

Feminist

  1. Equal pay for work of equal value" shall be enforced for all jobs in firms with 10 or more employees.
  2. Expectant parents are expected to attend courses on prenatal care and parenting, which will be offered through local public school systems.

Male

  1. All those who are convicted of drunk driving shall be jailed and their driving licenses shall be revoked for at least two years.
  2. The use of marijuana and other psychotropic drugs shall be legal in Canada. Those who are addicted to narcotics shall be provided given doses under close medical supervision.

Peace activist

  1. The government of Canada shall reduce defence expenditures and increase foreign aid proportionately.
  2. Arms shall not be exported to any country that is known to have threatened human rights within the preceding three years.

Student

  1. The quality of Canadian universities shall be improved and grants and loans provided to low-income students in all post-secondary institutions.
  2. Shelter shall be provided for all women and their children who need refuge.

Stage Two

RESPONSE FOR:

I wish to vote within the following constituency (choose only one).

Anglophone __ Asian __ Catholic __ Environmentalist __ Female __ Feminist __ Male __ Peace activist __ Student

_______________________

Within my constituency, I prefer that the following item be chosen as a proposition for the referendum. Tick only one, a or b.)

(a) or (b)

Please send to Peace Magazine to arrive by January 25, 1992. Our address: 736 Bathurst Street, Toronto M55 2R4.

Peace Magazine Jan-Feb 1993

Peace Magazine Jan-Feb 1993, page 30. Some rights reserved.

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