When I walk or ride my bike to work each day, I don’t typically think about this action’s relationship to my health. To me, it is an enjoyable part of my day and a utilitarian activity I need to perform in order to get from A to B. In my blissful ignorance, I don’t always consider how choosing active transportation is impacting my health, nor how my surrounding environment entices me to choose active transportation as my means of travel.
Recently, I had the opportunity to volunteer as an independent panelist at the AGM of a major Ontario political party on the subject of Active Transportation and Health alongside their transportation critic and a registered nurse. It also allowed me to interact with the public to hear their questions and concerns regarding the topic. Both the preparation and the experience had the effect of making me further consider my role as a transportation engineer. Continue reading
In recent years, much ado has been given to the concept of proportional representation (PR) as it relates to governments and political parties, more specifically here in Canada at the federal and provincial levels. Canada currently has a “first-past-the-post” electoral system in which the candidate with the greatest number of votes in a geographical riding is elected. The purported problem with this type of system is that there can be a discrepancy between the popular vote and the number of party members elected. On the other hand, PR is a means to remedy this issue and better align popular vote with the number of party members elected (e.g. if 30% popular vote cast for a party, 30% of elected members will come from that party). This inherently assumes political parties are a good thing.
One of my own personal contentions with the current political system is party politics. In fact, party politics appear to dominate democratic systems worldwide. But have you ever asked yourself whether this is a good idea and why this is the status quo? While there are legitimate philosophical discussions about the necessity and form of government in any context, today I’m more focused on “band aid” solutions within our current system. Let’s treat this as an intellectual exercise, open for discussion. Admittedly, I’ll be working here with generalities and blanket statements, so please take them with a grain of salt. Continue reading