About Theresa

Theresa Lubowitz was born in Moose Factory, Ontario and spent her early years in the northern Ontario community of Moosonee. Her family eventually settled north of Toronto where she was educated by highly 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 and the political culture of its city. At the University of Ottawa, like Alex Trebek before her, she studied philosophy from the department’s gifted faculty.

Theresa’s time in Ottawa deepened her relationship with Canadian politics and reignited her interest in Canadian history. She has since worked in Canadian party politics and in government in the province of Ontario.

Theresa’s interests in Canadian culture, politics, and sport is deep and varied. This website is the product of that interest and acts as an avenue to explore her pride in the uniquely Canadian approach her fellow citizens bring to each of these pursuits.

In the meantime, she awaits the day Trebek retires and the Jeopardy team looks to the alumni and alumnae of the University of Ottawa’s Philosophy department to step up and take his place.

4 thoughts on “About Theresa”

  1. 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. 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. 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

  4. Dear Teresa,

    Thank you for posting the transcript of Prime Minister King’s speech on the occasion of the first citizenship ceremony in Canada on Jan. 3, 1947. I am interested in the image that you used to illustrate that post. It is such a striking image of King at a desk, under the spotlights, and speaking to the nation. Could you please contact me? I would very much like to learn more about your source for that image.

    Thank you so much for your time.

    Lily Cho, Dept. of English, York University

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