Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#CIRA Election: Who I plan to vote for

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is holding its annual board election. I'm planning to vote for these candidates:
Members' Slate:
- Michael Geist
- Kevin McArthur

Nomination Committee Slate:
- William Gibson
- Bill Sandiford
- Dave Chiswell
If you're a CIRA member, you can vote Sept 19 - 26 (deadline: 9am Pacific time Sept 26). If you have a .ca domain, you can join CIRA or check your membership status at cira.ca/membership.

How I chose who to vote for:

My professional expertise is accountability of elected leaders to voters, in all types of voter communities, from democracies to corporations. Like most large organizations, I find CIRA rather lacking in accountability (reasons are in this paper). So I looked for director candidates who give priority to that.

In particular, I focused on candidates' responses to these questions in the recent campaign forum:

- Question concerning Governance Reform

- Year-round CIRA members forum

- Critique of CIRA governance

I especially appreciate Michael Geist's emphasis on upholding the public interest -- mentioned 6 times in his nominee statement. He's an experienced CIRA director, and a law professor at Carleton University with a well deserved reputation for public interest advocacy in internet law and policy.

In addition to his technical expertise, Kevin McArthur has some great accountability planks in his campaign platform. My favourite: "Advance a transparency culture at CIRA by removing bylaws that censor the disagreements of board members."

William Gibson would bring his valuable experience from chairing the board at Mountain Equipment Co-op. Among the nomination committee nominees, he was perhaps the most responsive in the campaign forum, especially on my proposal to create a year-round online forum for CIRA members.

You can see that my voting this year is consistent with last year -- see my post on the 2011 CIRA election.

I plan to wait until the last day to vote, so I can learn from others' opinions. Please comment below or by email to mark[at]votermedia.org. I thank all candidates for offering to serve CIRA and Canada's internet!

Monday, September 17, 2012

We Want Our Co-ops Back @MEC @Vancity #CIRA

Today I released the first draft of my paper We Want Our Co-ops Back, along with a spreadsheet Co-op Democracy Scorecard. From the paper:
We can reform all our large voter organizations, including democracies and corporations, by starting with reforming our co-ops (including financial co-ops such as credit unions). Most large institutions lack effective democratic control by voters. Even though citizens of democracies can vote, corporate shareowners can vote, and co-op members can vote, those voting rights are ineffective if voters lack the information, insight and nomination rights necessary to elect the best leaders. This paper outlines how we can better implement the fundamental co-op principle of democratic member control, even when co-ops grow very large. Later we can apply these ideas to our democracies and corporations.
This paper proposes rules to improve the democratic accountability of co-op leaders to members, organized in nine topic sections. To contrast these proposals with existing rules, I cite examples from three Canadian organizations where I am a member: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Vancity Credit Union, and the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA).
I welcome your comments!