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VIEW: A true mandate for BC

[Editor's note: This blog post was originally published on the PartyX website, here.]

In the wake of one of the most surprising elections in the province's history, Premier Christy Clark made a broad, sweeping statement in her acceptance speech: "Tonight, we have received a mandate from the people of British Columbia."

The speech went on to note the great number of British Columbians who did not vote for the Liberals -- less than one quarter of eligible voters actually voted Liberal -- and that the Party would work just as hard for those who didn't vote for them, as for those who did.

It was a powerful message, but rang hollow to the many British Columbians who understand how politics works, and haven't seen a viable alternative. After all, in our current state of democracy, a majority is all that is necessary for another four years of power, and, outside of referendums, the voices of the people in policy decisions are often under represented, if represented at all.

Decision-making doesn't have to be that way, and we are now at an unprecedented point a history where a true mandate for B.C. is possible -- and practical.

That's where PartyX's BC Mandate campaign comes in. Powered by the Ethelo decision engine, BC Mandate offered an online platform to capture the voices of all participants in advance of the provincial election, and then used the Ethelo engine to compile a set of provincial policies, which had been proposed by a variety of parties and interest groups.

The intent was to find the combination of policies that captured the greatest "ethelo score." This score indicates how much support a set of policies would garner within a group. Also, how much collective willpower is behind a decision to make it happen!

It does this by taking into account people's priorities and weighing them alongside everyone else's.

As part of this process on, participants voted on their level of support for a variety of policy proposals and below is the set of policies that, together, have the highest Ethelo score -- 86 per cent.

Supported Policies:

• Expand the liquified natural gas industry

• Oppose pipelines

• Increase corporate income and high earners taxes

• Create more supervised safe injection sites

• Equalize generational spending

• Increase the minimum wage

• Hold a transportation referendum

• Support $10 a day childcare plan

• Improved education access for Aboriginal students

• Reform post-secondary education funding

• Stop enforcing cannabis possession laws

• Put the brakes on private health clinics

• Restore legal aid in B.C.

• Reform to election advertising policies

Rejected Policies

• Increase funding for the police force

• Cut government services

• Reduce taxes

• Promote renewable energy

• Support open net salmon farming

• Expand the oil industry

• Introduce private health care and insurance

The above set of options was the #1 ranked "collective ballot," with the highest level of support of more than 500,000 different possible collective ballots. It was remarkable among the lead ballots to see such consistency over the most important issue categories, namely "finance and taxation" and then "health and education."

Approximately 300 B.C. residents participated in BC Mandate, and many others explored the platform from other provinces and countries. So while the results aren't to be considered statistically significant, the power of the BC Mandate story continues, as more people experience the opportunities for better decision making made possible by Ethelo, from politics to organizations, community groups and even households.

Michelle Martin is the communications coordinator for PartyX.

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