Space, Time, and ...

I have come to realize something that never seems to get discussed in popularized presentations of Einstein’s theory of relativity: It implies at least a fifth dimension to the make-up of the universe we experience.

In the case of a single dimension, a linear universe, the only possible difference in location and/or movement has to be on a straight line, ahead or back. Deflection from that straight line, to one side or the other, results only from the existence of a second dimension to form a planar universe. Euclidian geometry is based on the two dimensions of the plane and, of course, it breaks down at the larger scale of our whole earth, a sphere that curves into a third spacial dimension. In space differences in location and/or movement can occur ahead or back, to one side or the other, and above or below. Yet in reality, movement also requires time and existence may be separated by duration. Time gives our universe a fourth dimension to permit possible differences in location and/or movement ahead/back, side to side, above/below, and in time. Thus, we sense our most familiar experience of our universe.

Yet Einstein tells us that the entirety of space/time curves at mass. Gravity is curved space/time. If space and time curve, they must curve into ... an aspect of existence other than space and time themselves. Only the existence of yet a fifth dimension to our universe could accept curvature of space and time together. Without such a fifth dimension space/time could not curve. Thus, we must live in a universe defined by a minimum of five dimensions.


Space Based Solar Energy

One topic on today’s CBC Radio One’s Quirk and Quarks discussed space based solar power. The discussion missed a significant factor and I sent the following thoughts in response:

Today's discussion about space based solar power was most interesting. One point did get missed and it is very essential when considering the scale of such a project. That is the law of conservation of energy. Whatever the source of energy, whatever the purpose into which we put energy, when we use energy we only transform it from one form of energy to another. What is the final form of all energy that we use, the energy waste product? It is always heat. H-E-A-T!

Our earth experiences a certain flux of energy from the sun already. Living things capture some of that energy and transform it for life functions, either using it immediately, which just turns it into waste heat, or storing it. Unused solar energy either gets reflected or absorbed and again transformed into heat. Waste heat gets radiated back out into space and our atmosphere moderates that radiation. In equilibrium, the flux of energy falling onto the earth's surface equals the amount of energy stored by life processes plus the heat our earth radiates back into space. Earth's average temperature remains constant.

Our current global warming problem stems from two sources. The one most talked about at present being our habit of releasing carbon dioxide and thus inhibiting the earth's capacity to radiate waste heat away into space. We retain more of the heat we generate. The other part of the problem in using fossil fuels lies in the fact that we are using long stored energy. We actually increase the flux of energy at the surface of the earth. Thus the flux of energy at the surface of the earth is greater than the sum of reduced energy the earth radiates back into space and energy stored by means other than atmospheric heating. Earth's average temperature rises.

Space based solar energy only solves half the problem. Fully implemented, it may stop the increase in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and thus remove the problem of reduced radiation of waste heat back into space. Unfortunately, as with other currently considered alternative energy sources, geothermal, nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, it still adds to the energy flux at the surface of the earth. At the scale your discussion suggests as necessary for this energy source to be feasible, this addition of solar energy that would otherwise pass the earth by will be vast. The flux of energy at the surface of the earth will be greater than the combined energy the earth normally radiates back into space and natural energy storage other than into the atmosphere. Earth's average temperature will still rise.

If we are going to bring vast amounts of energy onto the surface of our planet, in addition to the energy the earth normally receives, then we must either have means of storing that extra energy somewhere other than in our atmosphere or improve the earth's capacity to radiate waste energy back out into space. No two ways about it!

Capturing and using the solar energy that would normally pass us by really implies using that energy where we capture it, out there in space not down here. The real long term answer lies in getting off this planet (and staying off any other) as proposed long ago by Gerard K. O'Neill.


A Fateful Anniversary

Two years ago this afternoon the heart attack hit. What a shock! After all, I was only sixty-one years old! As I write, I have the Cardiovascular Risk Profile my doctor did for me at my general check-up the previous April. It shows my risk of developing any cardiovascular disease at all at ten percent over the next ten years (as compared to a population average for men my age at twenty-one percent). That was so very reassuring at the time and exacerbates my shock at actually having a heart attack so soon afterwards.

As so often is the case with a first heart attack, this came totally unexpected. The only inkling I had that something might be wrong occurred on the Friday before, during my swimming workout. For some time before, I had maintained a working-out pattern of swimming 2500 metres on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (five 500 metre intervals with the last 100 metres of each as a sprint on Mondays and Fridays and a continuous distance 2500 metres on Wednesdays, sprinting only for the last 100 metres) and a short, 6.7 kilometre bicycle ride on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The family and I had been away for a couple of weeks in August and that had interrupted my work-out routine, so I eased off a bit in resuming my workouts that week by making all my swims just continuous distance 2500 metre swims without the intervals and sprints and no change in my cycle rides. My Wednesday swim that week felt absolutely glorious; I swam so smoothly and felt such real power in my strokes that I could easily have just kept right on going if I had wanted to take the time (normally, roughly 55 minutes for the 2500 metres, I didn't time my swims closely -- in the pool without my glasses, I can't read clocks readily). I came out feeling great and had just about decided to go back to intervals and sprints for my Friday swim. In contrast, on Friday I felt sluggish and heavy, too much so for sprints. I swam my steady pace swim and. even at that, I had to stop each thousand metres. I swam two one thousands and a five hundred and really felt I had had enough when I got out of the water. I puzzled at not having my usual oomph during my work-out but put it down to day-to-day variability in my response to physical activity and got on with my day.

The attack hit on 2007, September 8, Saturday afternoon. We were to catch a plane to Calgary to help my brother, John, celebrate his sixtieth birthday. During the taxi ride to Vancouver International Airport, I started to feel a bit of burning under my sternum notch, a very familiar sensation from acid re-flux at my hiatus hernia or whenever I have had helicobacter pylori infections give me stomach ulcers. I had gone a few years then, since my last h pylori infection and had been free of heart burn from stomach acids, but this felt totally identical to that well remembered burning. Through check-in and as we browsed airport shops before heading for the waiting area, the burning increased. When we settled into the waiting area, ready for our flight, I asked Tina to get some antacids (we had long ago run out of the proton inhibitor acid reducing medication I had been prescribed in conjunction with h pylori treatment -- they were always wonderfully swift at getting rid of the burning). While Tina was gone, the burning increased significantly, a strange weariness sort of discomfort started in the pit of my left elbow, and I started to sweat inexplicably. When she came back to me I suggested, "I think I'm having a heart attack," and asked her to call paramedics. Tina was wonderful as her nursing background kicked in and she calmly comforted me and went to the attendant at the loading desk to request paramedics. David and Angela responded well also, keeping calm and out of the way as I curled myself up into a foetal position to await the paramedics (I forgot to bring my feet up onto the seat for a true heart attack rest position).

Paramedics arrived quickly (they must have a depot in the airport terminal building), with ambulance attendants following shortly after, just as our flight got called for boarding. Needless to say we did not board. By this time, the pain under my sternum had got intense, accompanied by companion pain down my left arm and profuse sweating that soon drenched my clothing. The paramedics gave me sprays of nitro-glycerine under my tongue to no effect. I remained able to give them good history and describe my pain as they loaded me onto a stretcher and injected clot busting medication. I could not feel any benefit of that but I did settle into tolerating the pain; it seemed to remain at the same intensity but, under care, I felt confident rather than distressed. The short ambulance ride to Richmond Hospital brought immediate admission into the emergency ward and a quick decision to send me on to the catheter operating room in Vancouver General Hospital. I can still remember Oak Street out the ambulance back window rapidly passing under the wail of the siren and blare of the ambulance horns. VGH seemed remarkably quite as the ambulance attendants unloaded me and rolled me through empty halls into the operating room. I found it momentarily empty but a team of nurses and a surgeon abruptly appeared and immediately prepared me for surgery. It seemed such a brief time, must have taken only five to ten minutes, from the moment when the surgeon announced that she was making the small cut at my groin to insert the angiogram catheter until she announced it was out and told an assistant to “plug him up.” The pain was gone, in fact, at that moment, I felt I could just hop off the operating table and go about my own business. The operating room nurses asked if I would like to see a replay of the view of my heart and turned a monitor my way. It showed an image of the arteries supplying my heart with one large area black and blank. They had set a stent and, when the replay reached the point when they expanded the stent to open the affected artery, I saw the previously blank area light up as vessels recovered their blood profusion. I felt awed! Nurses asked me if I felt any nausua. I did not, right then and there, but a sharp wave of nausea hit me promptly after and I vomited vigourously onto the operating room floor. The pain had gone; only at this point did I begin to feel otherwise ill as a deep weariness began to set in. Of the ambulance ride back to Richmond Hospital from Vancouver General Hospital I remember only leaving the emergency parking lot. I simply fell asleep after having remained fully conscious through the entire heart attack and medical response. Fortunately, the attack had never stopped my heart beating.

I awoke Sunday morning in an intensive care ward at Richmond Hospital to a whole grain English muffin for breakfast, my family around me, and a young cardiologist, Dr. Wong, seriously concerned. Something remained not right as I showed signs of congestive heart failure. I simply felt ill. After a quick telephone consult, Dr. Wong sent me back to VGH, to the Coronary Care Unit, this time anaesthetized and intubated lest I “crash and burn” during the ambulance ride. I have no memory of that ride, in fact my next memory takes me to the Monday morning, the voice of a nurse calling to me with an order to “breathe deeply.” I found myself in the VGH CCU, weak in the extreme and feeling deeply ill. Simply breathing proved to be hard work at first. Tina was there and, when the nurses were sure I was fully awake, they brought her to me. What a comfort! I was under the care of another Dr. Wong, a very senior cardiologist at VGH. In due course, as I recovered, he explained what had happened. I had suffered a total obstruction high on the left anterior descending coronary artery (one I would later learn has the nickname “the widow maker” among medical professionals) and it had been opened with a bare metal stent. Damage was extensive and only time would determine how much my heart would recover. I remained in CCU until mid September, initially on complete bed rest but within a couple of days allowed out to walk around my bed and a few more days on to walk around the whole ward. Before I got sent home, I was taking brief walks outside. While in CCU and later, at home, I read heavily, my favourite way to occupy and divert myself while ill. I remain deeply thankful for the wonderful care I received in CCU.

Coming home did not quite end the drama but it certainly marked a milestone in my recovery. I rested a lot, continued to read a lot, and took gradually increasing daily walks around and about the neighbourhood. At first, a walk just around the immediate block taxed me but with Tina at my side and her loving encouragement, the distance steadily increased. When I attended David’s scholarship presentation at Delta Secondary (DSS gives scholarships in September, bringing receiving graduates back for a special presentation rather than with the graduation ceremony before summer), few people there even knew I was ill and that felt satisfying. The drama lay in the mystery of blood periodically appearing in my urine. Except that the heavy blood thinners I had to take permitted me to bleed easily, this had nothing to do with the heart attack. Thinned blood pointed the way to early detection of a cancerous tumour in my bladder that was very superficial and easily removed the following March, once I had finally been off the blood thinners for a while. Two atrial fibrillation attacks in October sent me back to the VGH emergency ward but proved self correcting. The first got me another angiogram that showed no new damage and the second corrected before I even got to the hospital. Through the rest of the fall and into December I steadily increased my walking endurance and distance until I actually felt relatively fit for Christmas. That was a specially joyous Christmas for the whole family.

With the 2008 New Year, I received clearance to enter the VGH Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, of structured and closely monitored exercise specific for heart patients. That was once a week, so I also maintained my schedule of daily walking. Another scare threatened to interrupt my progress when that familiar pain under my sternum sent me into Delta Hospital emergency. The pain increased to a certain level and reached a plateau, there to stay for some time. Doctors found no sign of any new heart issue but held me for observation and scheduled yet another angiogram at VGH. I had to wait five days for that one and for the first couple had to live with bed rest until I got cleared to resume some exercise by walking round and round the ward. Again the angiogram showed nothing new and I got sent home. Only after thorough checking of my heart did doctors check my stomach and find a small duodenal ulcer, likely caused by the aspirin I have to take as a blood thinner. A proton inhibitor added to my medication regimen settled that. The incident demonstrates just how indistinguishable chest pain associated with a stomach attack and chest pain associated with a heart attack can be. I had a repeat demonstration one afternoon just over two weeks ago when I developed chest pain, this time actually in my left side, and Tina dashed me into Delta Hospital emergency. Again, tests showed no indication of any new heart issue, the problem was my stomach and I got to go home in the wee small hours of the morning with further adjustment of my stomach medication.

After mid January, I resumed swimming, just a thousand metres in two and four hundred metre intervals. With the beginning of February, I resumed cycling right where I had left off at 6.7 kilometres, though likely much slower than before. Walking no longer gave me enough exercise and I quickly returned to my pattern of alternating days to swim or cycle, this time six days a week rather than five. I incrementally increased both my cycling and swimming distances over the following months until I recovered my 2500 metre swims at the end of May and reached just under fourteen kilometres on my bike by early November. I even started to better my previous (estimated then, I now wear a heart rate monitor watch to time and control all my workouts) swim times for that distance. I completed the VGH Cardiac rehabilitation in July, declared as fit as can be expected for the severity of my heart attack. I maintained my exercise routine working out six days a week, alternating between cycling and swimming (alternating sessions of intervals as before with sessions of single continuous distance) while really enjoying both until this June. When my back started complaining about having to hunch over the handlebars of my bike, I switched to swimming all workouts for the summer. My exercise routine is now a vital necessity. Before my heart attack, I exercised because I knew it was good for me but, whenever I missed, I never felt the lack. Now, if I miss a second day in a row, I actually begin to feel quite ill with hints of congestion. With my current exercise routine, I usually feel really refreshed after a workout.

The heart attack brought me other life changes in addition to my exercise pattern. At some places on the walls of my left ventricle the muscle has been destroyed and no longer contributes to the heart’s pumping action. I function with a forty-five per cent ejection fraction (normal is sixty per cent and less than thirty-five percent indicates need for pace maker support). I suppose I am literally half-hearted. I tire more quickly than ever I used to and need more rest when I do tire. My limit seems to be about an hour and a half at sustained activity (my exercise sessions are normally about fifty minutes, well within that limit). I hope that will increase as my physical fitness continues to improve. I dropped five kilograms of body mass through the heart attack incident itself, another two kilograms over the months immediately following, and a kilogram and a half more recently. I do not recommend this as a weight loss measure, but it certainly worked for me as those were all excess kilograms. My body conformation is now back at what it was when I was in my twenties. I have to take a lot of medication, much of which doctors tell me I will have to stay on for the rest of my life. This includes baby aspirin to keep my blood thinned, a pill to control cholesterol, blood pressure and heart rate control medication, a diuretic, and stomach medications to mitigate the impact of the other medications on my touchy stomach. Far more frequent doctor visits now make part of my life as doctors track the various issues consequential to the damage to my heart and the medication I have to take. I get to enjoy fresh fruit and raw vegetables with greater liberality than I used to allow myself. I had never used much salt but now have to avoid it as a poison. Hit just a bit of salt in my food and I immediately see the consequence in my blood pressure and feel listless and ill the next day. Before the heart attack my rest pulse lay in the low fifties, now with medication and a well established exercise routine it has fallen into the low forties and my doctors see this as keeping burden off my damaged heart. My doctors and I do everything we can to preclude a second heart attack.

I have to thank the many who shared thoughts, prayers, messages, and phone calls in response to my heart attack. My brother, Norman, shared all e-mail messages with me. Thank you, especially to those who turned their attention to Tina and to David and Angela with encouragement and support as they bore with the trying time. Today is the second anniversary of that event and I have so very much for which to give thanks, including modern medicine and many people’s deep concern.


Delta South Leads the Way

The current provincial election offers extra drama here in my own riding of Delta South.  We have a strong independent candidate who is a true contender for the seat.  So often independents are weak candidates who barely show in the polls.  Not so here,  our independent ran a close second in the last election, was wooed by both major parties before this election, and chose to remain independent for this election.  Our retiring MLA proved to be the most archetypal toe-the-line backbench MLA who functioned as her party's legislative representative to us, in Delta South, rather than as our representative in the legislature.  With a strong independent, committed to representing the riding first and not subject to any party whip, we can say, "Never more!"

The leaders of both major British Columbia political parties' first choice as party candidate in Delta South was Vicki Huntington and she turned them both down to remain independent.  The parties settled on alternative candidates, strong ones but still second choices.  This gives the election in our riding extra drama.  I also hope that it serves as a model for other potential strong independent candidates among other ridings for future elections.  Perhaps we can gradually break the stifling hold party discipline imposes on our politics.



The British Columbia provincial election approaches.  With it we will have the referendum on the Single Transferable Vote recommended by the Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform.   The reform certainly does not reach the full extent I would envision.  The transferability does not include a distributed vote and it provides for larger, multiple member, constituencies than may actually be necessary.  My views on constitutional reform were, of course, outside of the Assembly's mandate.  The recommended reform is a compromise of many people's views and no one person's view should ever hold sway in a democracy.  I remain quite amazed at just how closely the Assembly's recommendations did match my own wishes for electoral reform and I heartily support this reform and will vote, "Yes!"

For general interest, my own submission to the British Columbia Citizen's Assembly on Electoral Reform, as I presented it on 2004, May 31 with a constitutional reform element in line with my earlier post on Senate reform included, follows:

       Let me begin with the things I respect about our electoral system and my participation in it.  Firstly, I deeply respect our model of responsible representative government.  In this, the Westminster model, the government is responsible to the legislature and the legislature is responsible to the electorate, each member responsible to the electors in that member's own constituency.  Electoral reform must strengthen this basic model.  I have voted in every provincial election since I became old enough to vote and I pride myself in saying that I vote for the person.  I do not vote vote for the party; in fact I have never held any party membership.

In my view, party politics corrupts responsible representative government and supplies the source of the distortions that have spurred creation of this electoral reform process.  Our Members of the Legislative Assembly are, in reality, held responsible, not just to their constituents, but also to their respective political parties.  This split in the direction of responsibility creates an undue conflict for each and every MLA.  Unfortunately, the power of the party currently overrides MLAs' responsibility to constituents.  I agree with others who have expressed reservations about the role of political parties; this is the grave distortion of responsible representative government that we live with today.  The answer lies less with change in the way we vote and more with breaking of the authority of party whips within the legislature, even eliminating party politics altogether from our broader political life.  If every elector voted only for the person and each MLA felt responsibility only to that MLA's own electing constituents, the distortions currently being addressed would not even exist.
Is politics possible without political parties?  Certainly it is; just look to our two recently constituted sister legislatures in the Northwest Territories and Nunavit.  Better yet look at our own history.  For over thirty years after our confederation with Canada, British Columbia governed itself without political parties.  Although this period often gets cited as turbulent, with too many short-term Premiers (the position of Premier or any other single personality in government just did not have the power significance accorded it today), on closer examination the underlying themes of provincial governance were actually more stable than superficial appearances.  In fact, this was the time when our MLAs were most truly responsible solely to their own constituencies.  Responsible democracy actually thrived and far less power resided in the Premier's office than at present; more power resided in the legislature as a whole.  Unfortunately, Richard McBride very deliberately brought an end to our freedom from the distortion of democracy wrought by political parties.
Of the alternatives currently under consideration, I have to say that I oppose any form of proportional representation based on political parties.  Make no mistake, whether party lists are open or closed, members placed (I dare not say elected as no voter could actually make a direct judgment on the member as a person apart from party affiliation) off a party list would see themselves as responsible to no constituency but their own party.  This may succeed in including minority voices but such minority voices will feel no responsibility to anyone but their own parties.  The most marked effect of having any MLAs in the legislature who are responsible to only their own parties and not to any other identifiable constituency can only be to further strengthen the power of each party over all its MLAs, including those elected from geographical constituencies.  This can only increase current corruption of responsible representative government in favour of party politics.
Not only would proportional representation based on political parties enhance the current power of party over person among our MLAs, I suspect it would also increase the longevity of parties.  We are fortunate in that we can, and do, "get rid of the rascals" for good.  How long has it been since the British Columbia Conservative Party formed a government?  Where is the British Columbia Social Credit Party today?  Decades ago, before New Zealand brought in its MMP, I visited that country during an election.  I was impressed at how New Zealand political parties came and went over the course of its history to that time.  No party had ever come back to power after more than two stints as government.  Parties whose time had come and gone no longer existed or had withered to minor participants.  Today, in contrast, the same two parties routinely alternate in power.  I suspect that, with any form of proportional representation, we will lock ourselves into a near unchanging set of alternatives that may allow addition of new minor parties but not prune parties that have had their day.
The other idea getting the most consideration, that of the single transferable ballot, has my wholehearted support.  Although it was before I was old enough to vote, British Columbia did use a single transferable ballot in the past and I regret I have not had opportunity to exercise this sort of vote.  This is obviously more fair to the candidates within their constituencies.  When people vote for people rather than parties, the single transferable ballot does not imply multiple member ridings as has been claimed.  Today we have the technology that the counting should not impose the burden on the electoral process that critics hold against this type of ballot.  Let us bring this reform back.
In fact modern technology may well permit us to enhance and more accurately reflect voter preferences through a single distributed vote.  For instance, among candidates A, B, C, D, and E, voter 1 may prefer candidate D but have some liking for candidate A and, thus, assign a 75% vote to candidate D and a 25% vote to candidate A.  Voter 2 may give a 100% vote to candidate C only.  Voter 3 may find two candidates indistinguishable and grant candidate D 40% and candidate E 40% while leaving 20% for candidate A.  Voter 4 may wish to rank all candidates giving 50% to candidate B, 25% to candidate A, 15% to candidate D, and 10% to candidate C.  Each voter could express that voter's choice in any of a diverse variety of patterns (in this example, at this point, candidate A has 0.70 votes, candidate B, 0.50 votes, candidate C, 1.10 votes, candidate D, 1.30 votes, and candidate E, 0.40 votes for a total of 4.00 votes cast).  A plurality would remain sufficient to elect.
What about giving expression to the diversity of points of view that go into our diverse society?  I suggest a constitutional change would serve far more effectively than electoral reform.  We should consider changing to a two chambered legislature that serves both our common interests and our diverse identities.  In fact we could call them the Chamber of Our Common Interest and the Chamber of Our Identities.  The Chamber of Our Common Interest would be largely indistinguishable from our current legislature (except, I would hope, it would be free of political parties), the source of the government responsible to the legislature and the senior of the two chambers, elected from geographical constituencies by openly scheduled general vote for terms of no more than four years.  It could still question its own confidence in the government and precipitate an unscheduled election (nothing is more vital for truly responsible democracy than the power to question confidence in the government!).  This chamber needs no further elaboration in this discussion.  The Chamber of Our Identities, able to review legislation initiated in the Chamber of Our Common Interest and initiate its own legislation, is a novel concept (that could also apply federally with Senate reform), in response to our diversity.  It also could question its confidence in the Chamber of Our Common Interest and precipitate an election for that otherwise senior chamber.
I suggest we identify the five most significant distinct elements of identity to which British Columbians hold.  These may be by gender, age group, mode of making a living, ethnic derivation, level of education, religious affiliation, generation count since immigration to Canada, etc. through the entire selection of identities by which all of us live.  Every twenty-five years a commission, very like this forum, would examine British Columbia society and identify the five areas of identity British Columbians currently regard as most significant.  The Chamber of Identities would be divided into five caucuses with equal numbers of members, one for each of the accepted significant areas of identity.  Each Identity Caucus would include members elected to constituencies defined by the identities that make up that caucus with the number of members of each constituency in direct proportion with the numbers of British Columbia citizens who self-identify with that specific identity.  Self-identification at voter registration would be vital to avoid having caucuses hijacked by external identity related organizations.  For instance, if ethnic derivation were considered a significant identity, the Ethnic Derivation Caucus of the Chamber of Our Identities would consist of elected members from constituencies such as British Columbians of British Origin, British Columbians of Han Chinese Origin, British Columbians of French Canadian Origin, Native British Columbians etc. through the entire diversity of ethnic origins within our current population, including British Columbians of Broadly Mixed Ethnicity.  If gender were considered a significant identity, the Gender Caucus of the Chamber of Our Identities could consist of two large constituencies of men and of women or of an appropriate number of paired geographic caucuses for men and for women.  In the case of age grouping being considered a significant identity, constituencies of children, elected by children, could exist.  The actual membership structure of the Chamber of Our Identities would be defined and reviewed every twenty-five years to keep the chamber relevant to British Columbia society.
Each identity caucus within the Chamber of Our Identities would be elected for a fixed five year term, one caucus at a time in succeeding years.  This would give a fixed schedule election every year and a turn over of chamber membership independent of of the membership turnover in the Chamber of Our Common Interest.  The first five years after each identity review would be a transition period with each previous identity caucus giving way to its successor identity caucus at each identity caucus election.  The system may be more complex than our present legislature, but it would give real voice for us to express both our common interests as British Columbians and our special interests within the various identities we hold to make up our diverse population.
Electoral reform alone cannot resolve the very real problems that brought this Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform into being.  These problems require us to curtail the power of political parties over our Members of the Legislative Assembly.  We also need constitutional change to permit us to express our diversity and special interests within our legislature, separately from our common interests.