Democracy: Straight to Hamiltonians

By Steve Buist / Hamilton Spectator

Here’s a novel concept for you. What if Hamilton residents came up with their own ideas for how the city could run and then presented those ideas to the politicians who might one day run the city?

“It sounds a bit idealistic, doesn’t it?” said Norman Kearney, campaign director for a newly launched venture called The People’s Platform.

“I’m not familiar with anyone else who is starting out with a plan made by the people and then going to the candidates,” added Kearney. “It’s always the other way around.”

About 100 people packed into the aptly named Democracy coffee house on Locke Street South on Tuesday night to kick off The People’s Platform campaign. (Photo at top of post, courtesy of Democracy cafe)

“We thought, ‘Why don’t we look at this from a different perspective?'” said Kearney. “Democracy’s not broken; it’s just missing a few pieces. So we started thinking, ‘What could some of those missing pieces be?’

“People are frustrated with the choices. Others feel that even if the choices are right, the policies are not. The best place to start is with people and their ideas.”

Kearney, a Carleton University graduate student and former host of a Hamilton radio talk show, witnessed firsthand the power of participatory democracy last year when he facilitated a Ward 2 budgeting exercise.

“I don’t think people are cynical or apathetic or jaded,” said Kearney. “That’s only in relation to the political process and it’s because it’s not delivering on their expectations.

“People care. People want the world to get better. They just feel there are so many roadblocks to participating.

“One of the things we want to do is clear away a lot of those roadblocks,” he added.

The People’s Platform offers three layers of potential engagement for Hamilton residents, starting with a simple online opportunity to offer ideas.

There will also be three forums, to be held on Aug. 9, Sept. 13 and Oct. 11.

Finally, there will be two charettes, designed to fine-tune some of the proposals, which will ultimately be put to a vote.

By the end of the process, The People’s Platform intends to present a slate of the top proposals. A questionnaire will then be sent to municipal election candidates, asking them whether they support the proposals or not, with their reasons.

The final results will be posted on The People’s Platform website.

“There’s really no way that this campaign can fail because at a minimum we’re going to be enriching the discussion,” Kearney said.


2 Responses to “Democracy: Straight to Hamiltonians”
  1. Bonjour and hello to all city of Hamilton members, citizens, residences and visitors. My name is Ricky Tavares and I will be your mayor of Hamilton Ontario Canada in the near future. I was born here in city of Hamilton at St.Josephs hospital. I am here to announce now and to make this statement very public now that I will be the first mayor in Canada willing and proud to work for a minimum wage salary. I love Hamilton and I must protect our city. My colleagues, financial advisors and I have a 5 year plan to implement and generate 1 trillion dollars into the Hamilton city hall building within the next 5 years. I am sorry to announce now that I will only be your mayor for 1 term because this city is too small for me to lead and guide into a productive population. I will be moving to Ottawa to be your Prime Minister of Canada after 1 term here in the city of Hamilton as your mayor. Thank you for voting me Ricky Tavares as mayor of Hamilton on Oct 27.

    The reason why I am avoiding verbal physical communication with you and the other media outlets is because I do not want to give away my secret “5 year plan” on how I will and am very capable of generating 1 trillion dollars into Hamilton cityhall building. If I am not elected this year then all the idiots, unproductive, dumbasses that did not vote for me will have to wait another 4 years for next election before I start turning Hamilton into NEW YORK city. I want to make Hamilton the richest city in the world but these stupid, selfish, whitehaired, dinosaur, cavemen mayor candidates and the media are trying to stop me and getting in my way. Why will you wait until next election to vote me as mayor of Hamilton when you can vote me as mayor of Hamilton NOW so that Hamilton gives me the platform and exposure to be able to spread my wings and aggressively generate 1 trillion dollars of foreign currency into cityhall as fast as I can before other cities start to notice and copy my 5 year business plan.

    Right now my hands are tied because I am not mayor of Hamilton. I am not able to make Hamilton the richest city in the world and if I am not mayor then I will not share my secret plan with you or my competitors. Nicole, can you please ask all my mayoral candidate competitors to pullout of this election so that I am guaranteed to win ? If so, then I will appoint and hire some of my current mayoral competitors to work in my office right beside me because I can use their experience and their protection.

    I am serious. This is an emergency for city of Hamilton. You must vote Ricky Tavares for mayor of Hamilton because I will “put Hamilton on the world map” and “run with the big boys”.

    BTW, I do not smoke cigarettes, I do not drink alcohol and I do not smoke marijuana.
    Nicole, are you single ?

    Ricky Tavares

  2. We all start with pre-concieved ideas of who we are and where our ancestors came from, depending on the information we have to begin with will determine the outcome of our research – having a pre-concieved idea in some cases is like tunnel vision. Depending on WHEN your ancestors came, is directly related to where they originated and where they entered, until modern times. There have been times that I was stareing at what I was looking for and didn’t realize it – stareing me in the face, but because of my own tunnel vision I didn’t see it……
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