Planting the seed of power

He harbours no illusions of being elected around 8:15 p.m. next Tuesday night.

If he manages to pull in a modest three-figure haul of votes in Richmond-Steveston, he'll be quietly contented.

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Indeed, the only exposure Mike Donovan has had in this campaign thus far is the "Vote Unparty" message he's been beaming from the projector in his car onto the concrete guideway of the Canada Line after dark.

But party founder Donovan doesn't care too much because he knows he'll have planted a seed. A seed that he hopes one day will grow into a new political world which hands the power back to the people.

"Our goal is to expand for the next election in four years," said Donovan, a Richmond software developer, who boasted a physics degree before being lured into technology during the dot.com boom of the '90s.

"We don't have a campaign manager and both my wife and I have full-time jobs. But since we launched, we've had support from Salmon Arm, Coquitlam, Bowen Island, all over the province.

"Quite a few people like the idea and there's an appetite for something other than the adversarial system we have today, full of lies and attack ads.

"We don't want to get embarrassed and have 17 votes or something. But it might just be that a 13 year old reads our website today and becomes the person who makes it happen."

If elected, the Unparty, which consists right now of Donovan and his wife, Chanel, who is running in Richmond Centre, would hold a series of town hall-style meetings to debate the issue in question, before coming to a decision via consensus.

Whatever decision is reached is the message that the Unparty MLA would take to Victoria on behalf of the riding.

"It's an open party idea with no masterplan and no secrets. It's about reforming the system and we don't have particular issues," said Donovan, who created the party out of frustration of the current set up.

"Better decisions are made by a diverse group of people than a few people. We believe it's possible to bring people together to discuss matters along with professional facilitators."

Donovan does hold personal views on a few issues in his riding, but, as he says, they are "irrelevant" because they haven't been reached by debate and consensus.

"I've been asked by other media, 'what if the decision that's reached by consensus conflicts with my own, would I still take that to Victoria?' The answer, of course, is yes."

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