About the Author

Theresa Lubowitz was born in Moose Factory, Ontario during the reign of Brian Mulroney. Her family eventually left their home in Moosonee, Ontario and settled north of Toronto. She was educated in an elementary school and high school with skilled teachers whose lessons still impact her today.

She went on to post-secondary education at the University of Ottawa, a school she selected in part because of its proximity to Parliament Hill. At U of O she, like Alex Trebek before her, studied philosophy from the department’s gifted faculty. Immersing herself in both the analytic and continental philosophical traditions that the university uniquely offered, her horizons expanded greatly through the study of metaphysics and less so through the study of medieval philosophy which she hopes to never encounter again.

She spent some time minoring in sociology where she enjoyed studying globalization, got more than her fill of Marx, and reawakened to her interest in Aboriginal issues within Canada, specifically concerning the Innu and Inuit peoples. She dabbled in psychology, history, English, and music courses throughout her studies, considering minoring in each. By the end of it all she received a Bachelor of Arts with a Specialization in Philosophy and a minor in Sociology.

Theresa’s time in Ottawa deepened her relationship with Canadian politics and reignited her interest in Canadian history. She later enrolled in a  Post-Graduate Certificate in Public Administration and awaits the day Trebek retires as the host of Jeopardy and a request is sent out for another U of O philosophy grad to take his place.

Theresa recently began a new endeavor with the help of some friends called Canadian Voter. Canadian Voter is a place where voters who wish to be informed can visit to learn about their policy options during an election without the political spin.

Theresa began this website out of disappointment in the level of understanding Canadians have of their civic institutions, processes and history. Her passion is the push for the re-engagement of the electorate in civic life and hopes to play a role in the reversal of the democratic deficit creeping across the country.

3 comments

  1. Clay Shentrup says:

    Hey Theresa,

    I’m really inspired by your passion for Approval Voting. I’d love an opportunity to chat with you via phone some time if you’re interested. I’m generally curious about how receptive others in your circle have been.

    When talking to make district supervisor about it recently, he feared that you would get colorless winners who took no firm positions on issues but got high name recognition, because voters would just basically vote for every candidate they had heard of to whom they had attached no negative associations.

    This is totally not supported by empirical or theoretical evidence. If you think about it, a voter simply has an ordered list of preferences, and his ballot is cast based on a chosen “threshold”. So like 1st, 2nd, 3rd, THRESHOLD, 4th, 5th means you vote fore the first three choices. Say we imagine some artificial scenario where a “colorless” candidate is winning. But now we imagine that the second place candidate had found a few positions on some issues, on which a majority of voters would support him. For instance, say 55% of voters wanted gay marriage to be passed. Or say 60% of voters wanted the city to shift police enforcement of drug laws to addressing violent crime offenders. For any issue like that, a colorless candidate would statistically be better off by supporting it.

    Aside from that, it’s ironic that a majority of Approval Voting critics (especially the rather insane members of FairVote) actually make the opposite criticism — that Approval Voting would degenerate into Plurality Voting because of the “bullet voting” strategy. We have uncovered empirical data which completely shatters this view.
    http://www.electology.org/bullet-voting

    The problem is, these are the naive expectations of people who are newly introduced to the subject, time and time again. So it’s an obstacle we have to overcome in order to get Approval Voting. I’m interested in hearing your tactic.

    Best,
    Clay

  2. Theresa says:

    Hi Clay,

    I tried to keep the concept of Approval Voting under my hat for a long time because to my knowledge no one was talking about it anywhere in Canada and I figured that if it was to be accepted, all the details and arguments would have to be ironed out first in a Canadian context.

    I’ve since spoken to many people about it and feel that the best way to introduce it is within the nomination process of political parties. if the people most involved in the political process use and like it, the rest of society will follow.

    As for reaction, out of the many people I have explained the system to, I believe probably around 2-3 people in total have been skeptical which means there is great potential for support in the general public.

    As for your district supervisor’s concern about colourless candidates, I feel that AV would not lead to that at all. It would lead to the continued sidelining of extreme fringe candidates but most systems do that anyway and in my opinion, rightly so as they do not reflect the majority and democracy is about society as a whole, not pockets of it.

    What I think AV does best, more than any other system, is demand that candidates avoid gutter politics as tarring one another does not help win over voters who support candidates other than oneself. By having each candidate searching for the support of all voters and not just interest groups, the discourse during elections is raised.

    At the same time, candidates cannot afford to stand for nothing or they will not be appealing enough to vote for. Candidates without positions won’t attract the attention of voters because voters cast ballots in a largely self-interested matter and want to know what politicians can do for them or those they care about. If the answer is nothing because the candidate refuses to take a stand then that candidate will not get elected.

    Approval Voting is about being drawn to and away from various candidates based on their beliefs and their actions. Those who stand for nothing and those who stand to merely oppose others might get pockets of support but will never be the consensus choice of society.

    I find the biggest problem with pushing for the adoption of Approval Voting is the understandable ignorance of the average voter (we can’t all be nerds!) on all the options that are available and the near militancy with which proponents of proportional representation (like FairVote) pursue their cause and thereby dominate the discussion.

    I believe if more people knew about the benefits of AV, the unending problems of PR, and the simple idea that there are more choices beyond PR and FPTP out there, that AV would be the preferred choice of most people.

    Thanks for the comments Clay!

    Sincerely,
    Theresa

  3. Kate J. says:

    Dear Theresa,
    Would you please email me? I am developing a project, considering using an image found on your website, and need to find its source in order to get approval, a high-res copy, etc., before we can publish it.
    I’ll keep searching online, of course, to find the copyright-owner of the image, but if you can help, I’d appreciate hearing from you.
    Thanks,
    Kate

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