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Media

Last Chance to Make Tyee’s Reader-Powered Election Coverage a Reality

And the extra question we'll pursue with your help (hint: pro-rep election reform).

By Jeanette Ageson and Robyn Smith 24 Jun 2019 | TheTyee.ca

Jeanette Ageson is publisher of The Tyee.

Robyn Smith is editor in chief of The Tyee.

We’ll cut to the chase — this is the last day of our campaign to raise funds for The Tyee’s reader-powered election reporting. If you’ve been thinking of chipping in, now is your moment! Click here to contribute now.

A couple of months ago, The Tyee team gathered in our office to discuss how we plan on covering the next federal election. We know people come to The Tyee to read pieces about politics that they won’t get anywhere else, so elections are busy times around these parts.

What will be the big stories this time around, we wondered? Do we follow the pack and cover what the leaders say at their press conferences? Report on what the latest polls say about who is ahead and who is behind? What will our readers be most interested in?

Instead of trying to guess what readers want to know about, we thought we’d try something radical. We’d ask.

We started by inviting readers to answer one simple question for us: What do you want candidates to be discussing as they compete for votes?

We were overwhelmed by the thoughtful number of responses we received. Over 600 readers submitted ideas. From there, we created a long list of possible questions we’d pursue and put out a call by email asking readers to rank the ideas by level of interest. Nearly 2,000 people responded to that survey, and the result was a tight list of five questions that we’ll pursue in the lead-up to the election. They are:

1. Do you agree Canada should be on an emergency footing regarding climate change, and if so what actions will your party take?

2. What are the tax loopholes in Canada, how have other countries closed them, what are candidates willing to do to assure the rich pay their fair share and reverse the widening wealth gap?

3. How do we transition to a green economy without causing mass unemployment and upheaval?

4. What would you do in the next 36 months to improve housing in and provide potable water to remote First Nations communities?

5. What would it mean to include dental care and pharmacare as part of government-funded health care, and where do candidates stand?

For the last three weeks, we’ve been asking readers to chip in to our reporting fund so that we can pay talented reporters to dig deep on these questions. Then, something magical happened. Three days before our campaign deadline we hit our initial target of $60,000!

Since we had a few days left on the clock, we dug out the list of questions that readers ranked and have tacked on the sixth-highest ranked question to the list. The question is:

6. The Liberals won after promising to reform our first-past-the-post voting system. Instead they killed the reform. But did they? What advocacy have people been doing and what are politicians’ promises this time around?

We’re excited to start assigning these questions to our fiercely independent reporters, but we can only pull this off if we know we have the resources on hand to do the job properly. If we hit our stretch goal of $75,000, we’ll be able to tackle all six questions.

Help us get there by midnight tonight and contribute to making this reporting plan a reality! Go here to contribute now.  [Tyee]

Read more: Elections, Media

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