Monday, December 31, 2007

10 Lessons from 2007 pt. 2

Am I the only one fed up with the national junior team? As far as I can tell there are about three guys (Tavares, Matthias, Schenn) actually playing over the last four periods. Pathetic. The so-called big line has been particularly disappointing. Brad Marchand's only contribution was giving up the puck and the game against Sweden. Brandon Sutter is clearly hurt and should not be playing. I think Craig Hartsburg should be replaced for next year. Anyway, on we go with the lessons from 2007.

5. The Environment is Actually Politically Important

The lesson we began to learn with Dion's Green victory in December of 2006 continued to be learned in 2007. Be it the rise of the Green Party of Canada in national polls or the increasing success of the Ontario Green Party in the provincial election (particularly Shane Jolley in Owen Sound), the environment is resonating with Canadians. As Mr. Jolley's result indicates its more than urban hippies who care about this issue these days. Harper's dance on the issue would be funny if the consequences of his inaction were not so dire.

4. Immigration is the Defining Issue for the West

This is more relevant for other countries with more serious immigration problems (rioting in France; panic and legal chaos in the United States) but Canada must do better by its new immigrants. We are too often failing to ensure that the newest Canadians can integrate successfully into Canadian society. Our past successes are wonderful and we should celebrate them. We need to work hard to ensure that immigrants arriving today have the same success. Canada is a leader on this issue. We must continue to lead. The West is aging and our economies are teetering. Immigration is the best path to economic and social progress, countries that fail to grasp this will be left behind.

3. The American Primary System is Beyond Broken

The state of Michigan has been disenfranchised by the Democratic party and nobody seems to have noticed. Michigan is not exactly a small insignificant state. However, they angered the DNC gods by moving their primary up so that candidates actually bother to visit their little state. As a result, the Michigan primary is little more than a straw poll. This disturbing incident combined with the insanity that is the Iowa Caucuses, leads to one conclusion. The Americans need to change their system and now. All the states should vote the second Tuesday after New Year's day. Iowans are upset at how early they have to vote this year. The second Tuesday would ensure that the holidays are not overwhelmed by elections. By having all states vote early, they would finally have equity in the primary process.

2. Pakistan is in Deep Trouble

Martial law. The assassination of an opposition leader. The opposition being taken over by a 19 year old. This country is in trouble. The tension between secular democrats, the military and militant Islamic extremists is tearing the country apart. This is scary stuff. Even if you don't care about Pakistan and its people (and as human beings we should), you must remember this country is a nuclear power. The future of Pakistan could shape all of our futures. I don't know what the outside world can do to help the Pakistani people. I do know that we are all going to be holding our breaths until this mess is sorted out one way or another.

1. The Internet is Killing Traditional Entertainment

Don't think this is as relevant as some of the other stuff? You could make the argument. I've posted on the writer's strike before, but it is worth some repetition. What this strike is about (internet revenues) is about how to slice up an increasingly small and insignificant pie. Consider this, what is the top rated live-action TV sitcom still on the air? I have no clue. Do you? The most popular comedies are probably cartoons: The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park etc. This lack of quality television combined with the download disease which has spread with technology from music to television and movies is killing Hollywood and its related affiliates north of the border. The strike by the writers may prove to be one more nail in the coffin. The collapse of an industry that has sustained North America for generations is not in any way insignificant. It has been confirmed in 2007. Enjoy your reality TV folks, its all that's profitable these days.

On that note, Happy New Year. May 2008 find you well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Movie Thoughts

I've seen two movies in theatres in the last couple of weeks. I don't usually see two movies in theatre in a year so this is something to write home about or at least post. Since I believe both to be somewhat political, my thoughts.

The Golden Compass:

I wrote about this when the preview came out. I loved the books. Huge fan. I was somewhat disappointed in the movie. All the nuance is gone. So is most of the character. Lee Scoresby comes off as a pervert. The bears have lost all their nature. Is the film anit-Catholic? No. It's anti-Calvinist. Read the books. In all seriousness, it's anti-repression of nature and independent thought especially when done so by religion. If Catholics feel that this criticism is leveled most heavily against them it reflects their own self-image and not reality or Pullman. The movie wears kid gloves compared to the novel. Serafina Pekkala's anti-religious rant has become muted. The true horror of the intercision process is lost (the victim appears to have survived). If religious critics want to be offended, they should read the books, particularly the last one. As for the movie... I hate how they mangled the order of the plot. I hate ending the film early. The Subtle Knife has a different feel and to start the next movie (assuming they make it) with the arctic sacrifice would be improper. The Golden Compass (first titled The Northern Lights) is heavily concerned with snow and ice. Neither The Subtle Knife nor The Amber Spyglass share this fascination. The former focuses on trees and desert and the latter on rock and earth. This thematic division is part of the elegance of the trilogy. To change it loses more nuance. Also, separating Lyra's loss of her best friend from the meeting of her future lover is nice. A little more loyalty to the book may have helped here. On the bright side, the CG is great particularly the polar bears.

I am Legend:

I got asked to see this one today. Not my type of movie frankly. Although, I have trouble finding a genre for this. It isn't really horror or sci-fi although it borrows heavily from both. However, my distaste has nothing to do with what type of movie it is. You may be wondering why this movie is political. Well, I need to be a spoiler to explain. So if you want to wait to see the movie stop reading now. The movie has heavy religious overtones in its ending. Robert Neville (Will Smith) is saved from hell (well mutated humanoid vampires) by the shining lights of a religious prophet and her mute son. He then redeems humanity by having a religious epiphany. The movie's premise is that a scientifically engineered virus has wiped out/mutated most of humanity. Neville and his saviour have a fierce theological debate. Posters in the destroyed New York proclaim God's love. The prophet has spent most of the plague on a boat. His daughter (not saved from damnation) complains that the destruction of mankind will prevent her from getting her Christmas presents and never shuts up (compare with the saved and mute/obedient son of the prophet). The building most prominent in the last bastion of humanity is a church. All in all the movie has a distinctive Noah's Ark (God has killed the wicked and saved the righteous) overtone that I find creepy as all get out (way creepier than the CG vampires). The lesson seems to be that science and perhaps commercialism have distracted humanity from God (the prophet hears God's voice because the world is quiet post-plague). The path to salvation is to bring God back into the centre of our lives and let Him guide our actions. If the Golden Compass is the anti-religion movie for the holidays, this is the pro-religion movie. I have nothing against religion. In fact I am proud of my Jewish faith. However, I don't think it should dictate all of our actions. I don't care if Mike Huckabee wants to wish people a merry Christmas. I just don't want the fact that a kid was born in Nazareth a couple thousand of years ago to dictate policy. You can apply this to any religion, I am just using Christianity as an example. I don't care if you wear a headscarf. I care when a woman is sentenced to be beaten for being raped because that is the interpretation of God's will. I have no objection to a faith based reality as long as the sense and reason based reality comes first.

Hmm... two movies that I saw in theatres... didn't really like either one. Maybe I should stick to not paying an arm and a leg for bad entertainment. If you want an interesting religiously themed movie this holiday season try to dig up a copy of the Hungarian movie Kontroll. That one I liked.

10 Lessons From 2007 pt. 1

Christmas is upon us. A merry Christmas to those who celebrate. Not being Christian, I take no particular note of the day. I do note that in a week's time it will no longer be 2007 and instead be 2008. So, before time passes this year into dust, a quick review of what we've learned over the past year.

10. There is no such thing as an inevitability in politics

Inevitable has been tossed around a lot this year. A spring election was inevitable. Jean Charest's defeat was inevitable. A fall election was inevitable. Hillary Clinton's nomination was inevitable. None of these things have come to pass. The lesson: don't believe the hype. The media (both mainstream and otherwise) make money (okay mostly the mainstream here... yay adsense!) on helping their audience understand the news and come to some sort of conclusions. These conclusions are often incorrect. Not to say that I will stop making predictions on this blog (half the fun in blogging after all). I'm just saying nothing is inevitable. Things may be more likely than not, but sometimes things change. In fact, things change most of the time.

9. A week is a lifetime in politics

So, we should have known this a long time ago. This year made the point standout. John Tory was seen as being tough competition for Dalton McGuinty, that is until the religious school flap blew up in his face. Mulroney was Harper's mentor until Karlheinz Schreiber reared his head. Things change quickly in politics. This is related to the point above. We should be weary of making predictions because we never know what the future may hold.

8. Records are meant to be broken (or at least asterisked)

Readers of this blog (all three of you) will know that I occasionally dip into the sports world for my posts. So here's the sports entry for the list. This year saw the breaking of the all-time home run record in baseball (Bonds), the youngest winner of the Hart in a generation (Crosby), and is on the verge of producing a perfect football team (the Pats). In the case of both baseball and football those records come amidst scandal. The Patriots were caught taping the signals of the New York Jets on opening day resulting in massive fines and the loss of a draft pick. Barry Bonds chase of the home run record was dogged by allegations of steroid use. Since then, Mr. Bonds has been indicted by a grand jury for perjury and has been named in the increasingly infamous Mitchell Report. In both cases, some have wondered whether or not the records should stand. I have no qualms with the Pats records. I don't think Spygate helped them in the least. Was it foolish and illegal? Yes. Does it change one of the best offenses ever fielded? No. That's what matters. That's why I feel very differently about Barry Bonds. Steroid use did help him hit all those home runs. While not banned by baseball, they were banned substances. He cheated and that directly impacted his performance. I don't accept that he is the greatest home run hitter in history. I can't.

7. Quebec is undergoing another political revolution

The continued strength of Stephen Harper's Tories combined with the rise of the ADQ in the spring election tells me that something big is going down in Quebec. Add to that the hearings on immigration and what you come up with is this: rural, conservative Quebeckers are tired of voting for socialists just because they agree with their position on independence. I think we are slowly seeing the evolution of a more accurately represented Quebec.

6. Nation building cannot work if the nation does not want to be built

2007 should prove once and for all that these misguided occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq are doomed to fail. Is the consequence of leaving potentially disastrous? Yes. That's why this debate isn't easy. What should be easy is the answer next time someone asks us to help occupy a resistant country. NO! We have not learned from history (Vietnam, Somalia etc.) and now we are repeating it. It is a great tragedy that so many people died this year for nothing. At the end of the day, the result of the mission will be the same: failure.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Harper's Running Scared

After nearly six months, Stephen Harper has decided to call the rest of the by-elections. He could have called them at the same time as the Quebec by-elections but that didn't suit his narrative. See, he wanted to show that the Liberal party was weak, conflicted and poorly organized. So he called the by-elections in Quebec first where the LPC(Q) is probably best described as weak conflicted and poorly organized. The rest of the Liberal party on the other hand is doing fine. Add to that, Harper's majority train hasn't run through Toronto or Vancouver yet. Saskatchewan (which features the only by-election likely to be close) is more of a mystery. However, I think it confirms what I have believed for months, Saskatchewan is politically restless. They just threw out a government in the middle of an economic boom. That, political scientists will tell you, is not an everyday phenomenon. Did they go to the political right? Sure. However, federally the Tories have raised a lot of anger over their meddling in the Canadian Wheat Board (I don't understand this issue, so I won't get into details. I just know people are upset). If Harper thought there was a political gain to be made in Saskatchewan he would have called that by-election a long time ago. The reality is that Harper does not want the headline "Liberals Sweep By-Elections" to appear before an election. That would mean Stephane Dion might not be a bumbling incompetent as the Tories have sought to portray him. That would mean that maybe the Liberals are a viable alternative. And that thought, has Stephen Harper running scared.

Now that I've ended it so nicely, one more thing. I think it behooves us to change the rules regarding by-elections. They should be set 60 days after the retirement of the MP or MPP. Giving the government this kind of manipulative power is ridiculous. There we go folks another bit of electoral reform I support. More democracy, more representation. What's not to like?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Snapshots

Some quick thoughts for the new week:
  • Bali ended in a compromise even more useless than the one agreed to in Kyoto ten years ago. The agreement by the current responsible signatories of Kyoto means less than nothing. The world will get warmer and not one world leader has a plan to stop it.
  • This weekend did not look much like global warming in Southern Ontario. I ache from the shoveling. If Canadians are a little thinner than their American neighbours, I think shoveling has to contribute to our national fitness.
  • The NDP's dumping of a transgendered candidate in Quebec City looks bad. There's a he said she said thing at play here. The candidate claims her sexuality is at root here. The NDP claims she wasn't a team player. The truth is impossible to discern from my perspective. I will say that maybe a candidate that was acceptable to the NDP in Quebec before their win in Outremont may be less desirable now that they think they can actually win seats. Why this particular candidate was not desirable I cannot say. However, irregardless of the reasoning, the NDP dropped a transgendered candidate. That looks bad to the LGBT community which has often supported the NDP.
  • Electoral systems do not predict environmental policies or any other policy. I could easily argue that systems which guarantee coalition governments limit the possibility of dramatic action so necessary to solve the climate change crisis. The responsiveness of the EU to the issue has nothing to do with electoral systems and everything to do with bureaucratic pressures from Brussels elites.
  • My Bills playoff dreams ended on Sunday. Tear.
  • The Celtics are ridiculously good.
  • So are the Pats. Oh and didn't the Red Sox just win the world series? Oh to be a sports fan in Boston...
  • The polling scandal is more funny than scandalous. It certainly exposes Harper's obsession with monitoring public opinion particular in Québec.
  • The new military strategy in Afghanistan is now apparently to occupy with force as much land as physically possible. So, now when we whack the Taleban/mole we keep our forces/mallet in the same area/hole and switch to a new unit/mallet. Mr. Ignatieff probably thinks this is a good idea. I think it is moronic. If we can't secure peace without pointing a gun to people's heads we are in serious trouble. We need to rethink and refocus this mission and we need to do so now.
  • Schreiber... zzzzzzzzzzz.... Mulroney...zzzzzzzzzzzz... Have we solved the myriad of problem the country faces TODAY? No? Then why is the media wallowing in the past? Can we talk about the future at some point? Please!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

News of the Day

One exam done, time for a quick post:
  • Pickton got convicted. Won't be eligible for parole for 25 years. I'm surprised they couldn't get a first degree murder conviction but they have twenty other chances to get him for murder one if they want.
  • M. Dion is blogging from Bali. Interesting. I don't know how I feel about leader blogging. I am not crazy about politicians blogging in general. They have the bully pulpit of the house of commons or legislature or council to make their views known. I suppose it shows the Liberals finding new technology when its almost at its best before date. Of course, Dion's blogging sounds like a mixture between a travel log and a stump speech. It's all irrelevant because nobody outside of the politicos will read it.
  • Flaherty's going after the NDP. Did Harper approve of this message? I thought Tories could only attack Liberals. Hmmm...
  • The Wizard of Croz justifiably won the Lou Marsh award today. By the way I hate the Sid the Kid moniker. It needs to go before he's 40 and we don't know what to call one of the best players of all time. The Wizard of Croz is a name that I heard the Pittsburgh play-by-play guy call him and I like it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bali Boogie

As the discussion turns to who should be responsible for stopping global warming (the correct answer, boys and girls, is everyone) it's time to look at exactly who we can consider the "developed world." There is a tendency by some (let's call them the Bureaupean Bunion) to limit responsibility to Western nations. This is of course absurd. So, ladies and gentlemen a quick look at which countries are "responsible" and which are not with the corresponding GDP per capita (purchasing power) (all stats from the CIA World Fact Book).


Ukraine $7,800 (the same as China by the way)
Croatia $13,400
Bulgaria $10,700
Romania $9,100

Not Responsible:

Singapore: $31,400 (that's higher than France or Italy by the way)
South Korea $24,500
Kuwait $23,100
Bahrain $25,600

I don't want the historical guilt argument. I don't buy historical guilt in any context. I certainly don't buy it in this one. The countries most capable of changing their economies are those with the most money. If we must have two standards, can we at least divide the camps in a rational manner?

Once again, Harper has the right plan but no desire to make it work. Intensity based emissions allow for economic growth (starving people are a bad thing regardless of the climate). If they are tough enough they can also prevent climate change. Dion has the wrong plan with all the desire to make it work. Can we please have a meeting of the minds on this one? Harper's plan with Dion's desire. That's how we solve this.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Race For the Exits 2008: Month to Primary Edition

I figure now is as good a time as any to update my report on the Presidential election down south. I'm going to avoid the tedium of going through all the candidates and stick to the ones who have a chance in Hades of winning. With my luck, I'll leave out the winner. Here we go:


In order of current position:

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Okay, I know you've heard it all before when it comes to Hillary. I don't think I can say anything new. Here's the snapshot. She's the frontrunner except that she beginning to look like the New York Mets when they collapsed. In other words, she has a huge lead but she's hemorrhaging and fast. The question is whether or not she can hang on long enough to win Iowa and New Hampshire. Her positives include a great organization, name recognition and a strong appeal to women. Her negatives include her name recognition and the presence of a whole bunch of Americans that will never vote for Hillary.

Barack Obama: One of the most devoted Christians in the Democratic field has had some odd things thrown at him. To attempt to slur someone by calling them something that is a) false and b) only an insult if you are a racist is a) evil, b) moronic or c) both. Having said that, Obama is the candidate that appears to be gaining fast on the Clinton machine. He's not half as divisive as she is. He also hasn't articulated his vision as clearly although that is starting to come out. Outsiders usually do well in Presidential elections. However, it is difficult to call a US Senator an outsider. Obama may in the end just be too young and inexperienced.

John Edwards: If Clinton falls like Perdita Felicien and Barack trips like Barbaro out of the gate, look out for John Edwards. He did this four years ago and has a strong local organization all over the place. He's charming and enthusiastic. His rhetoric has always struck me as anachronistically socialist.


A much more open field. This order is going to be alphabetical.

Rudy Giuliani: I have never understood why the socially liberal mayor from New York thinks he can win the Republican nomination. However, if terror is the issue, Giuliani wins. I can't see it. I just can't. Not even with the support of the 700 Club.

Mike Huckabee: If I were to bet on someone at this point in the race, it would be this guy. Why? Because he is the only one who legitimately speaks to the base and actually wants the job (more on that later). The former Arkansas Governor is catching up fast to the early race frontrunners. The only question is does he have enough time and local organization in early states to close the gap.

John McCain: It is odd that John McCain, the great rabble rouser from 2000, has become the safe choice in this race. However, McCain is the known quantity here. If the Republicans get scared (of the other candidates, not terror), they might go McCain. He also has a good organization in New Hampshire where he won eight years ago.

Mitt Romney: I believe the national polls place the former Governor in the lead in this race. I don't see it. A Mormon is not good enough social conservative credentials for many in the base of the Republican party. It may be as baseless in reason as saying that Obama being a Muslim would disqualify him. The fact that Romney is actually a Mormon is a key difference. Romney also has Giuliani's problem of having some questionable (in the eyes of social conservatives) views on certain key subjects. The combination I think will leave him dead in the water in South Carolina and other Southern and Western states.

Fred Thompson: We will never know if Fred Thompson had a chance at this. He doesn't seem to like campaigning. The retail politics inherent in the primary process seems beyond him. On the other hand, with the whole host of question marks that plague the front runners. The faux reincarnation of Reagan could be a choice, who knows?

Do you support a candidate that a) wants to eliminate most of the US government or b) believes in UFO's? Sorry, it ain't happening. Although I have a certain respect for Ron Paul and his campaign.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Procrastination Post

I did say that I might post more than usual to avoid my work. Well, here's one. Two major issues on the table today.
  1. The Middle East Peace Conference. There are something like 50 groups represented at this thing. There's two big ones missing: Hamas and Iran. The press has been about Iran and while there relationship with Hezbollah in particular does not help matters, Hamas is the far more important player left out in the cold. Bush must think he's Alexander the Great and he can just leave the disagreeable Spartans out of the picture while he negotiates Greece's surrender. The Spartans, however, did not control half of the country and have a legitimate claim to the whole territory by right of democratic election. Hamas does. A peace deal without Hamas will be, in all likelihood, a useless waste of time.
  2. The C-22 fallout. Kudos to Premiers Charest and Doer for backing Ontario on this one. Apparently half the country is being small-minded. With Doer and Charest we now have all three major federal parties represented. Time for Stephane Dion to pounce on this wounded gazelle and end this farce. Oh, and will the increasingly disgraced minister resign?!?!
That's all for now folks.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday... the work continues

With two major papers due this week, blogging may be light. Then again I may use it as a means of procrastination which means it will be heavy. Anyhoo, Monday thoughts
  • I am really curious to see whether anyone is paying attention to this C-22 fiasco.
  • Congrats to the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the province of Saskatchewan on the Roughriders Grey Cup win. There have been better Grey Cups but at least it wasn't a blow out.
  • Soccer Canada's first task in getting to 2010? Beating Saint Vincent and Grenadines. Go Canada Go!
  • Any guesses on who the Republicans are going to nominate? Anyone?
  • Obama is claiming momentum and thinks he's ready to caucus Clinton out of Iowa, we shall see.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Intelligence Wasted

I often wonder what would happen if Stephen Harper didn't subject his brain to political considerations. Some of the things would be awful, no doubt. Others, like this gem, would be a refreshing change. From the oft-quoted speech to the American Council for National Policy:

"For years, we have given concessions of various kinds of the province of Quebec, political and economic, to make them happier. This has not worked. The sovereignty movement has continued to rise in prominence. And its demands have continued to increase."

I don't mind politicians having a change of heart (Chrétien on free trade for instance). I do mind politicians selling their souls for a couple of votes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Could Someone Please Get Out a Calculator

So, the furor over bill C-22 continues to grow. Peter Van Loan and co. claim the bill will give Ontario ten more seats. The media is trumpeting this as fact. My post here shows my math. Given current data Ontario would get all of two additional seats. In order for Ontario to deserve 10 additional seats its population would have to skyrocket. Around 850,000 people by my calculations. to get to 116 (ten more than the existing 106). That calculation also presumes that the population of the rest of the country remains stagnant which is highly unlikely. Nothing in the bill changes how Ontario calculates its seat total. Would the media or the opposition or somebody please challenge the Tories' new math on this one?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Things I Think

I always have issues titling my quick thought posts. I try to avoid repetition which can prove difficult. Anyway, here are my thoughts to start off the week:
  • The Robert Dziekanski affair is tragic. However, the discussion should be about police protocols on force not on tasers in particular. Tasers are used because they provide a simple, hands-off means of subduing a person - no broken bones from being tackled to the ground. I think what we really need to be asking is why the RCMP felt it necessary to use force in the first place. By the way, I'm no fan of tasers but I don't think this incident substantively changes the debate.
  • Also tragic is the loss of two more brave Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. To quote Dylan, "how many deaths will it take 'til he knows that to many people have died?" We need to get out of Kandahar province and we need to get out now. Note: I did not say Afghanistan. We can do reconstruction somewhere else.
  • Banning cell phone use makes sense but misses the point. There are a dozen things that distract drivers. Cell phones are a weapon, not the criminal. Much like I support gun control but don't think that is an adequate crime prevention strategy, I support this type of ban but don't think it solves the problem.
  • Apparently my city councilor wants to convert a few houses in my neighbourhood from public housing to a parking lot. I'm no fan of parking lots. However, the Danforth does need more parking. This is particularly true during Taste when streets become so overparked, locals are trapped in their houses. I'd actually have liked them to install underground parking at the green P lot beside Broadview station. However, given the endless (four years now?) construction there I can't really advocate more. Underground parking would make more sense as it does not blight the landscape.
  • Great post on the NDP and poverty here.
  • The C-22 story is starting to take off. One of my favourite columnists, Ian Urquhart has a good column here. My handy-dandy C-22 explainer is here. I still don't get how the Ontario getting ten seats thing works with the calculus. I guess that's just the population projections for 2011. If someone has a better theory, please, clue me in.
  • The Vanier Cup will be Manitboa- Saint Mary's.
  • The Grey Cup will be Winnipeg- Saskatchewan.
  • My conclusion from the above two statements: there are going to be more Winnipegers in Toronto next weekend then in Winnipeg.
  • Can we just give the Pats the Super Bowl now? I guess that would mean foresaking the best ads of the year.
That's all for now.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Air Conditioning

I've determined that air conditioning is the biggest challenge in terms of solving the climate change crisis. Look who is meeting its Kyoto targets: Northern European countries that do not have a large proliferation of air conditioner use in their countries. Who has failed? The US, Canada, Australia and Mediterranean Europe who need air conditioning in the summer. Am I oversimplifying?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Quick Thoughts

Some quick things to muse over for the weekend:

  • Are the people of York-Simcoe listening to what their MP is saying about their province? Whoever the Liberal nominee there is needs to pounce on this for the next election. Peter Van Loan may have just put himself in jeopardy of losing.
  • Nice to see Liberals doing better in national polls. Doesn't mean a thing though.
  • For that reason, no, Elizabeth May does not 'deserve' a place in the next debate. As I've said before, any party that wins seats should be in the debate. It's the standard that we've had for a long time. Win a seat, Greens, then we'll talk. One, out of writ poll does not entitles someone to a place
  • Hillary Clinton planting a question is really not a big deal. It's an old political trick that everyone uses. The fact that her plant wasn't loyal is embarrassing. There is a major difference between that and the fake FEMA press conference.
  • More Hillary, this is Hill-arious. I am kind of surprised that Bill's that front and centre.
  • Having just defended her, I will say that she needs to come out with some straightforward positions.
  • Sarkozy's attempts to fix France are interesting to watch. I hope for the sake of France he succeeds.
  • Kind of want to see "Redacted". Looks interesting.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bill C-22 Explained

Okay, so there's a lot of discussion about representation. Harper's rewording the elections act to give more seats to Alberta and British Columbia. Here's the legalese. Here's how it would work (or at least how I read the legalese). First you take the population of Canada's provinces and divide by 279 (the divisor prescribed in 1985). So (population data taken from wikipedia):


Then you take the population of each province and divide by the quotient above giving you:

Ontario: 108
Quebec: 65
Alberta: 29
Manitoba: 10
Nova Scotia:8
New Brunswick:6
Newfoundland and Labrador:4

That would be the Canadian parliament under pure representation by population basis. However, three clauses of the election need to be implemented. First, no province can have less seats in the house than it does in the senate. Second, no province can have less seats than it did in 1988 (the coming into force of the 1985 revision).

Leading to this:

ON: 108 (unchanged)
PQ: 65 to 75 (1988 level)
BC: 37 (unchanged)
AB: 29 (unchanged)
MB: 10 to 14 (1988 level)
SK: 8 to 14 (1988 level)
NS: 8 to 11 (1988 level)
NB: 6 to 10 (senate-based minimum)
NL:4 to 7 (1988 level)
PE: 1 to 4 (senate-based minimum)

Here's where C-22 changes things. Under bill C-22, if a province does not benefit from the readjustment above, and a larger province does, they get to recalculate their seats. The applicable provinces - BC and Alberta - get the same member to voter ratio as the larger province - Quebec - meaning in this case one member for every 102,677.4267 people. This leads to:

BC: 37 to 43
AB: 29 to 34

So, basically the only province that doesn't get a boost is Ontario. No wonder Dalton's pissed off. Basically, this gives the West the special treatment that they resent Quebec for getting. Not a bad deal for them. Aside from McGuinty's valid complaints, this system guarantees that the house will expand ad infinitum. The Conservative Party of Canada: Delivering Bigger Governments Since 2006!

In all seriousness, we should have a system which limits the size of the house. We should eliminate the clause that requires that a province's seat count cannot shrink below a certain level. Leave in the senate thing to ensure adequate representation out East. This would allow Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador to shrink (as their share of the Canadian population has) and give us a stable number of MP's.

Side Note: Those advocating an equal senate should take a long look at the clause above. An equal senate (10 senators a province) would mean an increase in the house delegations of both PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador to ridiculous levels. PEI would have one member for every 14,000 people. Ontario would have one member for every 118,000 people. Yikes!

Solidarity um... Line!

You may have noticed when your favourite late night talk show went into reruns last week that the Writers Guild of America is on strike. The strike centres on the issue of internet downloading and DVD sales. See, whenever a show airs on television, the writers of that show get a small cut of the revenue. However, when the show is streamed over the internet on the company's website replete with advertisements, the writers get nothing. The writers' take on DVD sales is miniscule. This is why the writers guild is on strike. They want their cut. This is not an unreasonable demand and my guess is that eventually they'll get it. The reason this is even an issue in my view, is the ever shrinking pie that they are looking to get a cut from.

The movement of many TV shows to streaming internet video is an attempt to regain a lost market. Increasingly, young people, like myself, are relying on free internet downloads to watch their shows and movies when they want to. Of course, this practice is illegal and there is no profit taking involved. While some people may be willing to pay a few dollars for the show on iTunes, the vast majority of people who download will continue to do so. This represents a significant market reduction for networks for their shows. The problem is made all the worse by the fact that the people who download shows are the exact market advertisers crave: young men and women. The attempts by networks like Comedy Central to meet people half way (streaming video on their websites with ads) has been, in my view, the most effective way of countering this problem. Sure, people complain that you can't find Stewart and Colbert on YouTube anymore but you also will have a hell of a time finding a pirated version to download (check out your favourite torrent site). This isn't because nobody wants to watch those shows, but because there is no reason to wait for a download that will take up hard drive space when you can access the entire library of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on their website. The streaming option works well for those shows partially because Comedy Central can break the shows into segments and run short ads before each segment. A show that was not so segmented may encounter more problems trying to stream. One of the appeals of downloading is that you are not forced to watch a billion commercials that disrupt the flow of the plot. If the show is segmented, there is no plot to disrupt. If you try to apply the same model to drama you may encounter a problem. However, it is probably the only way for networks to save their shows and the writers should get a cut.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Thoughts

Some quick thoughts to start the week:

- The Schreiber affair is bad news for the Tories. But, I mean the Tories of Brian Mulroney. I don't really see this being Harper's scandal. I mean he wasn't even in the same party at the time. Then again, I have no gauge for how the public judges scandals so who knows. That and the appearance of a cover up is great for the fodder.

- The whole thing seems almost to surreal to be true. I find it hard to believe a PM could be that stupid.

- The Dion poverty plan is nice. I like the policy diversification. The all Kyoto, all the time thing was driving me nuts. I could make a long argument about how "eliminating poverty" is an unrealistic goal. However, the steps proposed by M. Dion should do well to mitigate and alleviate the impact of poverty if not doing the impossible and eliminating it. Let's leave it at that.

- I wish I could go see Gerard Kennedy speak about an enterprising Canada down at Ryerson on the 19th. And for all you conspiracy hacks out there, this is Gerard's job NOT a continuation of his leadership run.

- Chantal Hébert continues her cheer leading for Mr. Harper in the Star today. I don't know that there is a more blatantly partisan columnist out there today.

- This post marks the 201st for this little blog. I would have marked the 200th but I thought it an inappropriate accompaniment to the poetry of Dr. McRae.

- Anyone understand the San Diego Chargers or the New Orleans Saints? Anyone?

- For that matter, anyone get the Pittsburgh Penguins?

- The writers' strike down south is fascinating to me. In fact, I think I'll skip commenting here and devote a whole post.

- As much as I dislike the media's love affair with Québec, I agree that it is the most interesting political story in the country these days.

- Although, Saskatchewan is pretty interesting itself. It's not everyday a government loses during an economic boom.

- The Toronto Raptors need to get the consistency thing down. They have the potential to be a really good team.

- Go Argos! The Grey Cup needs the host city to play if it is going to be a real success. This might not be true out West, it is in Toronto.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

On days such as these words fail me. So, I leave the words to others:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Dr. John McRae

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Okay, so there are people upset with me suggesting that Harper should bail out Canada's struggling cities. They argue it is unconstitutional. First of all, you can read the constitution in a lot of ways. For instance section 92.10 c states that local works and undertakings are a provincial responsibility EXCEPT :
"(c) Such Works as, although wholly situate within the Province, are before or after their Execution declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for the general Advantage of Canada or for the Advantage of Two or more of the Provinces."

To me this is a fairly broad exception and could certainly be applied to a whole host of things in Canada's cities. I could argue that ensuring the security of the Toronto Stock Exchange is in the "general advantage of Canada" and therefore the feds should pay part of the cost of the Toronto Police Force. I could argue that investments in public transit which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions are in the "general advantage of Canada" and therefore deserve federal funding. Hell, why not throw in literacy (public libraries) and public health (recreational facilities, garbage collection)? The Canadian economy needs healthy educated workers.

Even if you don't want to get picky, there's are a lot of things that fall under federal jurisdiction, particularly in the GTA. "Naturalization and Aliens" falls under section 91. Money for ESL programs, please and thank you. The feds have a responsibility in our cities. The provinces don't mind the intrusion. In fact Dalton McGuinty is begging for it. The constitution was framed by men like John A. Macdonald who that the provinces would wither and die within a few decades. We can certainly afford to cross some lines in light of modern circumstances.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Harper's Walking on Thin Ice

Harper's attitude towards the municipalities of this country is deplorable. They are in a major fix and the federal government refuses to help. Now Harper finds himself at war not only with Ontario's recently re-elected premier but with its most popular mayor, Hazel McCallion. Harper needs the suburbs of Toronto if he wants his majority and pissing off Hazel is not a good way to win votes there. This isn't the wacky socialist mayor of Toronto, this is the no nonsense mayor of Mississauga. There's a big difference and Harper may learn it at the polls.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Hooray for Infrastructure!

As promised, a post on infrastructure. There is a lot of talk today about how pointless the federal government is. The argument is that the provinces and municipalities provide most of the essential services and yet the feds collect most of the money. Well, here it is folks, what the feds could do with all that money that is distinctly their responsibility. Infrastructure was what united this country in the first place. The railroad built this country in a whole slew of ways. The railroad is also the future of this country. This country desperately needs cheap, fast train services. In particular, this is necessary in major corridors. Two immediately come to mind. First, the place where a huge number of Canadians live, the Windsor-Quebec City corridor. Why is it that the best way to get from Toronto-Ottawa is by car? Planes are expensive and you have to spend hours getting to and going through security at the airport. The current trains are not much faster than a car (particularly if you exceed the speed limit) and are ridiculously overpriced. Imagine if you could make the trip from Toronto-Ottawa in about 2 hours. This is possible. It is done all over Europe. There are high speed trains that go well over 200 km/h. Now, I have heard that the Canadian climate could be a problem. However, I believe that this is an obstacle that can be overcome. The higher speed would also knock down the costs of running the trains (or at very least offset any increase in the cost of operating the faster trains) because you would be paying for fewer hours of labour. Not only do we need fast trains but we need train service in more places. The Calgary-Edmonton-Fort McMurray corridor would be a prime target for trains. Kitchener-Waterloo needs to be train accessible as well. Fast trains would reduce traffic congestion, reduce pollution and increase productivity (less hours spent traveling is a good for business).

The second major infrastructure the feds could make is in our airports. If you want to make sure Canada is open to business in a globalized era, you must reduce the ridiculous landing fees which exist at Canadian airports. By making a larger contribution to the upkeep and expansion of our airports, the federal government would make travel cheaper for Canadians and Canada more competitive.

Is there more? Of course. Our population has outgrown our network of highways. Many of our existing roads and bridges need repair. These are all matters that the federal government can help in. It is time for us to invest in infrastructure.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Stephen Harper is not Always Wrong

I guess this post should be titled why the senate should be abolished. Let's review our options on the Canadian Senate:

The Status Quo:

An unelected senate/ or quasi-elected (Harper's appointment of the senator from Alberta) senate with almost as much power (on paper) as the House of Commons. The provincial distribution of seats is based on population data from when provinces entered confederation and designed to provide a regional balancing act that no longer makes sense. The West should not be equal to the Maritimes. This is not a good thing for the Canadian system to hold on to. The pros of the current senate? Sober second thought? An interesting idea. Most of the real work that the senate does is in fixing legislation to make it legally better. That work could and really should be done in the House. If you want an unelected body to review legislation, we have a federal bureaucracy. Reports on major issues of the day? Well, there are some reports we might pay attention to (reports on health care). However, most are simply ignored. Did you know the Canadian senate recently put out a report on aid policy in sub-Saharan Africa? Is it a good report, I couldn't tell you, I haven't read it. Could we have it done by a committee of the House of Commons or, a Canadian tradition, a Royal Commission? Absolutely.


Now, I know there isn't a perfect consensus on Senate reform, so I'll look at the most popular: the triple E senate. I don't mind (in and of itself) the elected part. Elected officials are a good thing. However, the other two parts make me cringe. Equal? Are you joking? The idea is to give every province ten seats. PEI would be equal to Ontario. I have never understood the logic. The only reason seems to be that the Americans do it. That does not make something good or desirable. The third E however is the kicker. An effective senate would lead only to endless legislative gridlock. You would have butchered version of American democracy. We have a House of Commons, we don't need another body like this.

The only reasonable conclusion is to abolish the upper house as was done across the country in province after province. It is a redundant relic of history. I agree with Liberals like Dalton McGuinty that it is time to end this farce.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sports for a Monday

So, being completely annoyed with federal politics, I think I'll devote a post to something less serious. So, my quick thoughts on the weekend sporting events.

- The Pats are amazing. Brady has a poor game by his standards and they still come from ten points down to beat the far and away second best team in the NFL.

- Will someone please give my now .500 Buffalo Bills some respect? This team is a couple of inches from being 6-2 (last second losses to Dallas and Denver). Sure, the teams they've beaten have combined for eight wins but the teams they've lost to have combined for eight losses.

- How much do the Michigan Wolverines wish they could replay that game against Appalaichan State?

- Nice to see the always consistent Oregon Ducks back on top of the PAC 10.

- Western continues its hot streak through the OUA. I'm pissed off they beat my Golden Gaels. I feel a little better since they beat Ottawa.

- The Raptors are good. Really good. Losing in overtime to one of the best teams in the east when your top two players spend the first half ice cold? That's one impressive off night.

- The Maple Leafs are horrible. JFJ has got to go. MLSE knows how to build a winner (see above). They have more money than God, spend it on a top level GM and the best scouts in the business.

- The Argos are one win away from playing at home in the Grey Cup. The ownership must be thrilled.

- Sports can be disillusioning. Case and point: Martina Hingis was one of the few tennis players I respected.

- Congrats to Calgary's Stephen Ames for his win. Why did the Canadian boys get hot when the season is ending?

- What is going on with the Pens? The team of the future is not looking very good in the present these days.

More politics later on. Probably a post on infrastructure. I'm interested in the dullest things aren't I?

Friday, November 02, 2007


Some quick thoughts that have crossed my mind:

- The Dems made a mistake in not allowing Stephen Colbert to run in South Carolina. At this point the Democratic nomination is going to be a snooze, a Colbert candidacy would keep people watching.

- The Canadian dollar continues to soar. Prices are starting to come down. Sometimes the free market actually does work, it does require some patience though.

- Stephen Harper's "new" government is apparently "new" for the 1930's. How else to explain the decision to let Canadians be killed in the United States. Our opposition to the death penalty in this country is a moral choice. We should fight for it everywhere in the world. Do we "respect" the laws of all of our friends? Funny, we don't seem to respect Chinese law regarding Tibet...

- So the Tories have taken to ousting candidates. I understand getting rid of candidates you don't like. I particularly understand it when you have another candidate to replace them. However, in an acclaimed nomination race in a riding you can't possibly win...

- In what universe do you think you can get away with stealing a baby in this country? There's morally repulsive and then there's morally repulsive.

- Repeatedly rolling over won't help you stand up M. Dion. What's the new YLC slogan I hate? Challenge everything? Well, you don't have to do that, but for the love of this party, please, challenge something. Oh, and by something, I don't mean the GST cut. Is it stupid? Yes. Is it political suicide to oppose it? Yes. Oh, on a lighter note I do approve of M. Dion's Laurier outfit.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lower the Voting Age

So, on we go with ideas to improve our dear country. This one is a bit strange and I'm not even sure I agree with it entirely. However, there are really good reasons to lower the voting age to 16. First, why sixteen? Well, at sixteen you are old enough to have sex (even by Tory standards) and drive a car. You are clearly able to make big decisions. However, that's not why I want the voting age to be sixteen. Political scientists make a big deal of the fact that voter turnout among young people has fallen dramatically over the last thirty years. I would argue part of the reason is the changing nature of early adulthood. It used to be that a small minority of the population went to university. Those that did go off to school usually went to the closest school to them. The University of Toronto served Toronto. Now, students spread out across the country and the world. This means they are removed from the place in which they grew up. They are removed from their local community. A community where they may have been involved. I make a habit of trekking back to Toronto to vote in elections. I feel much more a part of my riding in Toronto-Danforth than I do here in Kingston. However, many students won't bother with the trip. Particularly, if the first election they have a chance to vote in happens when they are at school. By lowering the voting age to sixteen we would allow people to register to vote and vote for the first time while in high school. This would allow them to vote in areas they care about, for candidates they might know something about. Would all sixteen year olds necessarily be informed voters? No. But they wouldn't all vote either. However, I firmly believe that by starting the process earlier we would make voting part of their routine. If people can vote for the first time when they still live at home, they will be around their parents who are far likelier to vote than their peers at university. The parents, we hope, will have a positive impact. I think it is worth a shot. I don't think there is high possibility that sixteen and seventeen year olds will be coerced, nor do I think that a bunch of people who wouldn't know Stephen Harper if he took their money and used it for federal election ads are going to start voting en masse. I think there is low risk and high reward on this one. Did I just come out in favour of electoral reform? Why yes, yes I did.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Where's the News?

The Canadian news scene is fairly quiet these days. The Saskatchewan election has one interesting story and it appears to be over. The Conservatives seem safe for the next little bit federally. The Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador elections were confirmations of the status quo. The media continues to write off Stephane Dion. The Democratic primaries seem to be all but over. The Republican primaries are such a mess, a Ron Paul victory wouldn't surprise me at this point (I'm not saying it's going to happen). Albertans are complaining about oil taxes. Okay, the taxer changed but really, "Albertans oppose tax hike" is not exactly a shocking headline. The Star is editorializing about pay-day loans and the rising dollar killing the economy. The Globe thinks everything is rosy. Iraq is Iraq. Afghanistan is Afghanistan. I suppose the whole FEMA "press" conference thing is funny but not surprising considering the Bush administration's track record. California's burning. Okay, it's worse this year. Is it a tragedy? Of course. Was it predictable? Of course. Wake me up when something happens?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sorbara's Out!

Didn't see this coming. Get out while you're on top, I guess. Strange. Really didn't see this coming.

Skinning Differs From Decapitation

As I've mentioned previously the trend lately among former proponents of MMP is to now come out in favour of STV. I really shouldn't care. However, I find the position completely inconsistent. There are few to any similarities between STV and MMP. Let's do a breakdown of the arguments for and features of each one (I'll leave the counter-arguments out, for the sake of discussion):

MMP: - Provides proportionality while maintaining some level of direct representation.
- Allows voters to distinguish between party and person.
- Fairly consistent with current system.
- Accurately represents small, often single issue, parties
- Encourages coalition building
- Encourages diversity (I didn't say the arguments had to be true)

STV: - Allows voters to indicate preference
- Encourages moderation of views
- Multiple representatives
- All members are equal (formula focuses on each candidate just meeting threshold)
- All members still locally accountable

What is notable in this comparison is these systems do not share very many features. STV is not proportional (the BC Greens objected to this point). MMP creates two types of differently abled politicians. MMP (the Ontario model) maintains the one riding, one member system. STV focuses on multi-member districts. STV has no mechanism that could be used to increase diversity. MMP rewards small, single issue parties. STV rewards large brokerage parties that can appeal to a broad base. The only things these two systems have in common are the features that exist in the current system and the fact that they are decidedly not the current system. If advocacy for reform is blind to their own proposals, we have a problem. If they truly like both of these systems what common feature are they advocating?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

When are they going to get to acceptance?

Watching the proponents of MMP fumble around with the referendum results is becoming a joke. There is a strong mixture of anger and denial. The denial came today from some hearty academics. The conclusions from this article is that if people had been told only good things about MMP they would have voted for it. Here we go: I propose a system of government that will have incomparable immediate economic growth, rapid decision making, high levels of security, low levels of crime and strong social cohesion. Do you agree? Well, probably. But you might not if you realized you were voting for fascism. I'm not comparing MMP to fascism. I'm talking about the ridiculous nature of that line of argument. Of course, if you talk about a system only in positives without any substantive detail people are going to agree. In a democracy, however, we have something called debate. This allows people to see the whole picture and make a decision. As I've argued before, the results of the referendum were predictable based on a reasonably well informed population. Knowing the exact make up of the citizen's assembly would not have changed the results.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Build Up, Not Out

Part two of my series of ideas whose times have come. Today we look at what should be on the lips of every environmentalist in North America: Urban Density. If you want to know why pollution rates here are so much higher than in Europe look no further than our sprawling cities. If we are to improve our environmental sustainability, we need to make our cities more dense. Now, when I speak of density I don't mean St. James' Town. I don't want concrete tower after concrete tower that obscures all light. We need to build towers where they are possible. One of the best places to increase density is parking lots. Flat, strip mall style parking lots are a blight. A condominium tower, or a bunch of townhouses would look much better and increase density. You don't need to touch an inch of green space to do it (and nor should you). There is a plan in Toronto to replace the two story facades which dominate major streets in the downtown core with facades of up to six stories. No major difference in look, but way more space to live or work. Density also means improving urban transit systems and avoiding tax policies that encourage sprawl (like the land transfer tax just passed by the city of Toronto). We need to make it easy to live downtown.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Engage the World

As it appears a federal election is not in the immediate future, I have decided to begin a series of posts on how the Liberal Party (or any party really) can move Canada towards a brighter tomorrow. The first relates on Canada in the globalized world.

It saddened me greatly when the last federal debate included no mention of foreign policy. The world matters. How we engage the new world which has been emerging over the last twenty years will shape the Canadian story. We can either seize upon our potential or we can mire ourselves in endless internal squabbles. Engaging the world is the new cause célèbre of my university. Unfortunately, it is little more than a cause. There are no actions to back up those words. We, as a country, require action. Here's a few starters:

Expand Student Exchanges
: This is an idea I've mentioned before. I am horribly biased on the subject, having just completed a wonderful exchange in Sweden. However, this is still a good idea. Canada should knock on the door of the ERASMUS program. ERASMUS was conceived as a way of uniting Europe by providing fora for cultural exchanges. Why can't it unite the world? We shouldn't stop with Europe either. Why not be a leader and set up similar systems with our OAS, Commonwealth, Francophonie and APEC allies? Not only does it provide Canadian students a chance to see the world and learn from it, but it will make our universities centres of international learning. If we are to compete in a globalized economy we must have workers who understand the world and a world that thinks about Canada. This can either be an initiative of the federal government or an initiative of the provinces or both.

Fix Immigration and then Expand it: Our immigration system is broken. We go around the world recruiting doctors and engineers and end up with taxi drivers and convenience store operators. We need to ensure that all immigrants have access to the credentials they have already earned. Where there are gaps in knowledge we need to develop programs to fill those gaps, not start from square one. I said during the leadership that immigrant success was one of my major reasons for supporting Gerard Kennedy. I said after the leadership that I hope M. Dion adopts the policy. I am still hopeful. Once we have fixed this problem we need to increase the number of immigrants who are coming to this country. The Western world faces a major demographic crisis with the retirement of the baby boom and immigration is the best way to combat it.

Increase Trade Relations with the Developing World
: Canada and Canadian companies should be on the ground in developing countries building capacity and creating sustainable growth. We need to reach out to the developing world as equals and trade with them freely and openly. Which leads to the next point.

Support the G77 in the Doha Round: Canada has a moral imperative to reduce its agricultural subsidies and encourage our allies to do the same. A level playing field in agriculture would be the first step to getting Africa on its feet. Let's stop complaining about how evil the WTO is and start working to make it better.

Reduce Landing Fees at Canadian Airports: If we want tourism we need to make it easier to fly to Canada. We need to eliminate the fees which make it cheaper to fly to Buffalo and rent a car to Toronto then fly to Toronto. We have a huge federal surplus, let's spend it on making Canada's infrastructure open for business.

Eliminate Visa Restrictions on Allied States: The restrictions on travelers from the Baltics in particular is an absurd post-cold war relic. NATO allies should be able to visit for a few days without having to get a visa.

Increase the size of our Foreign Service
: Simple. More embassies. More consulates. More people on the ground promoting Canada.

More to come...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Thoughts

Okay, some thoughts on the world around us:

- Pauline Marois' proposal is racist. It is discriminatory, unconstitutional and bad for Quebec. Welcome to Quebec, where you don't count! I don't understand Quebec nationalism and I never will. Tous les citoyens de notre pays ont les mêmes droits irrespecte de langue. Les anlglophones et allophones a le droit d'être députés dans l'Assemblie Nationale. Si les Québecois et Québecoises ne voudraient pas électer les personnes qui ne parle pas le français, comme Mme. Marois pense, ils peuvent voter seulement pour les francophones (I think I botched horribly the conditional in that last sentence, but you'll get my drift).

- Turkey's war on the PKK is big news. Huge news. As I see it, Turkey would be justified at this moment to invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty. People from Iraq launched an attack in Turkey. This is similar in circumstance if not in scale to the attacks of 9/11 which caused the US to invoke Article 5. It is not as impossible as you may think. Yes, there are NATO troops in Iraq but they will tell you that the government of Iraq is sovereign. Therefore, there would be no problem with NATO invading a sovereign Iraq in order to defend Turkey. I don't think they will invoke Article 5, but they could. That is a scary prospect. Even if they don't, Iraq is starting to reach the ultimate nightmare scenario that opponents of this war discussed in 2002.

- Stéphane Dion made a mistake in not bringing down Harper. He looks weak. He is now forced to make more of these decisions on every substantive bill from here on. Every time he decides to support the government he weakens the image of the Liberal Party. He blurs the significant differences between the two parties and strengthens the NDP. It was a mistake. Leaders are allowed to make mistake. If Dion thinks that the upcoming by-elections in English Canada will bolster the party, than perhaps the gambit is worthwhile. I don't think we can spin holding on to seats as a move forward.

- The situation in Pakistan should worry everyone. The strange dance between Musharraf and Bhutto which seems to only be happening to somehow strengthen the current regime may lead to civil strife. Pakistan is a nuclear power. Pakistan has a large extremist population. Let the two never mix.

- The US electoral system is wackier every day. Michigan has been disenfranchised by the Dems. Stephen Colbert is running for the nomination of BOTH parties in South Carolina. The parties need to put all their primaries on one day (or at very least one weekend like the LPC). End the hegemony of New Hampshire and Iowa. However, I guess the fair vote people don't mind, the primaries are PR based. The caucuses are kind of like STV.

- I know nothing about Saskatchewan provincial politics. I do know their is an election on. I also believe Saskatchewan will be one of the major fronts of the next federal election. Stéphane Dion needs to start pounding the Tories on the wheat board.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Let's Go!

Stephane Dion made it very clear the conditions he wanted to support the throne speech. Harper has refused to meet those conditions. Time to bring down this government.

On the Federal Election

I stand by my prediction from January that a federal election will take place in or around American Thanksgiving. That doesn't mean I want an election. I just think it's going to happen. When nominated candidates start saying stuff like this, it usually means there's an election brewing. Also, isn't it a shame that Ms. Coyne has a snowball's chance of getting into the house. I'll vote for her again but I think my neighbours still prefer the Jack-in-the-box. I make no judgment on whether or not we should go to the polls until I've seen the throne speech.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monday again

Quick thoughts to start the week:

- Queen's homecoming is over and done with. It is being heralded as a success. Even the usually hyper-critical Kingston Whig-Standard seems pleased. I would describe Aberdeen St. as ordered chaos this year. I enjoyed myself. A good last homecoming as a student. If you have no idea what I'm talking about.... well, look it up.

- Chretien doesn't like Paul Martin. WOW! Stop the presses! Or I guess more appropriately start the presses. YAWN! Only Chretien could create a media frenzy while recovering from heart surgery.

- Greenhouse gas emissions stabilized in 2004-5. Hey, it's better than a kick in the teeth.

- Harper wants a new press theatre. Umm... I'm so glad we're spending two million dollars on that instead of keeping the trains running in Toronto. I have no love for Mr. Miller but... one cent, now! And, um, quick question, don't you think the media would have asked how you built the new press theatre considering it's for the press? Harper's getting Cheney-like.

- So Miller's plans to save money are going beautifully. First, he had to backtrack on the closing of community centres. Now, the librarians union has successfully for breach of contract or some such meaning the city is going to have to pay for the librarians without getting anything in return. Shelve the plans to redo city hall? Nah. He'd rather have your local arena sponsored by MasterCard. I actually don't mind the private-public partnership but I can't believe that sits well with Miller's Dipper supporters.

- Harper's still right on the environment. Punishing the developed world transfers the problem. It doesn't fix it. We need Harper's strategy with Dion's timetable and we need it yesterday. If this election is about the environment, don't expect this blogger to lead the Liberal charge. Don't get me wrong, I still intend to vote Grit (climate change is not my top issue) but I can't defend the Liberal environmental policy.

- More on this later, but STV is not a good idea. It's also not PR. If you want PR don't vote for STV. You will be sorely disappointed. Note Ireland's most recent election where the governing party increased its popular vote and lost seats. The principle opposition saw their support go up 5 percentage points and gained 12 percentage points more seats. No, this does not mean I oppose all forms of electoral reform. Once again I support a system of majoritarian run-off as is used in France, Louisiana and Texas. Maintenance of local democracy with increased legitimacy. Not only that but you might get to vote twice! When STV failed I distinctly remember people saying "oh, well they should have proposed MMP." Now that MMP has crashed and burnt...

Andrew Coyne is on a warpath

So, Andrew Coyne is mad as hell. See, he liked MMP. MMP lost. Now, he's trying to figure out a way for him to be right and not be against popular opinion. First, he tried to claim that the people were cowed by Islamophobic propaganda. This is of course absurd. First, there was no mention of a possible Islamic party on behalf of the No MMP campaign and almost none in the media (a brief half-mention in the Globe). Secondly, this makes no sense considering the plethora of Muslim candidates elected in ridings that rejected MMP. Ontarians are not bigots. Finally, I can guarantee that the Canadian Islamic Congress was not motivated by Islamophobia when they rejected MMP.

Now Mr. Coyne has changed tack. He's now decided that in fact MMP won. Well, after all it got almost the same percentage as the premier. Well, if we're going to play games with the numbers, let's play games. Under FPTP the Liberals won a plurality of the votes in a majority of the ridings. How did MMP fare? They won 5 ridings out of 107. Reslicing the pie doesn't change the result. He also levels the ridiculous criticism that the low voter turnout invalidates the result. Every Canadian has a rigt not to vote. If you want to change that, bring in mandatory. I think it may be a debate worth having (I'm actually not sure where I stand on that one). If 48% of Ontarians didn't think it worth their time to vote, all we can interpret is that they didn't think voting was a priority. There are millions of reasons why people don't vote. We can't judge it to be any one of them with any certainty. However, their absence does not invalidate the result. Bad things happen when we allow the absent to delegitimize the actions of the present (see the Weimar republic). No one was disenfranchised.

He's also claiming that people were actively misinformed. I stand by every statement I made regarding MMP. The rise of fringe parties has taken place across Europe. It has been fostered by PR systems. It is not surprising that France and the UK (who use non-PR systems) remain the two major countries without a major Christian Democratic or Green movement. France also has had the most success in rejecting the right-wing nationalist movements that have swept Europe. Marie le Pen has lost the popularity that he once had and has remained out of power. Meanwhile, PR based countries of seen the inclusion of nationalist movements in government from the Netherlands to Denmark. The Belgians are still trying to form a government while a Flemish nationalist party threatens the destruction of Belgium. Not in Germany you say? Well, there are laws against nationalist parties in Germany. Seems that they had a bad experience with nationalism back in the day. MMP wouldn't have stopped the kind of xenophobia that has spread across Europe. The Swedes who use MMP (a slightly different version but built on the same principles) have seen a fringe nationalist party gain prominence all across their regional councils. Analysts predict they will be in the Riksdag after the next election (they were just under the threshold last year). This would throw the normally stable Riksdag into chaos. The carefully built coalitions would have to realign in order to accommodate the new party. In other words, they would get power, king-maker power. These new parties are not popular movements. They represent a tiny portion of the population and receive a disproportionate influence.

The rise of a Maori party in New Zealand is not a good thing as some people claim. The fact that there are Maori voters in New Zealand who feel they can only be represented by fellow Maoris is a failure. Integration is important to the success of any minority group. Note: integration not assimilation. There is a major difference between the maintenance of a distinct culture and the feeling that no one outside your culture can possibly represent you. This is the failure Canada has felt so profoundly in French Canada. The rise of the Maori party should be viewed in the same light as the rise of the PQ and BQ in Canada. A failure of political leadership. The line of argument that sees the rise of an ethnically based party as a success is the same argument that supports the segregation of our schools and the division of our country.

I said what I said during the campaign, not to scare people, but because I believe them and want to share my beliefs with my fellow citizens. Civic duty propelled me. It is insulting in the utmost to insinuate that I was acting out of some sort of malicious intent. I'm a university student. I was not trying to hold on to my own power (as Mr. Ferguson et al. may claim). If you disagree with me, fine. Don't call me a self-interested, bigoted liar.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What We Learned

Okay so here's what we know from Ontario's election:

1. Making bad promises will hurt you a lot more than not keeping good ones.

2. Shane Jolley should be the next leader of the Ontario Greens. The candidate from Owen Sound backed up his nationwide best showing in the federal election with an impressive second place finish in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. He got a higher voting percentage than Elizabeth May in London!

3. Howard Hampton needs to retire. His speech last night was, at best, unscripted at worst, horrible. I'm not talking about whether or not you agree with him on substance. It was a long rambling incoherent speech. At the beginning he sounded like Martin making his exit in 2006 (talking about people who had been there since the beginning etc.) then at the end he says "oh, by the way, I'm staying around." He shouldn't. Ontarians are never going to fall in love with the man from Fort Francis.

4. Drawing on that point, Ontario will not have a leadership race until after the next federal election. This has got to be in the minds of John Tory and Howard Hampton when they didn't resign last night. The last thing they want to do is distract their party faithful during an election campaign.

5. Ontarians don't care about provincial politics. That is the lesson from the low voter turnout last night. It is not because of the electoral system. You can not blame the precipitous decline in voter participation in the last fifty years on something that has been CONSTANT. It defies all logic. Please, electoral reform advocates, do not quote me the one poorly compiled academic paper that says there is a higher participation rate in PR systems. I don't care how Belgians voted in the middle of the 19th century. It tells me nothing about voting patterns today. A whopping 43% of Germans turned out to elect members to the European Parliament using... wait for it... MMP. Electoral systems have NOTHING to do with turnout.

6. We have lost touch with the local electorate. There were two huge upsets that almost happened last night. Namely, Halton and Timmiskiming-Cochrane. Neither the party in trouble nor the party challenging realized these were races. The pundits also completely missed on predictions for close races. London-Fanshawe is a tight three way race? Sid Ryan is going to win Oshawa? Ottawa Centre is close? John Tory has a chance in Don Valley West? Donna Cansfield was in trouble? We need to get reporters on the ground again. The most reliable source for information is the board over at in spite of the posters' horrible biases.

7. John Tory should never be allowed within twenty feet of a campaign war room.

I think my school paper just broke a story

Or did this morning... I'm a little behind on my posting. Here's the story from the Queen's Journal. Yep. A tory campaign manager literally cursing John Tory.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why MMP Failed

Now that I have access to Elections Ontario's riding by riding referendum results, it is time for some analysis. We need to start by debunking some myths about why this referendum failed.

Myth #1: McGuinty and the Liberals wanted it to fail.

This is absurd. It is absurd on so many levels. First, why on earth would prominent Liberal cabinet ministers (Smitherman, Bryant, Gerretsen et al.) be working on the pro-MMP side if the Grits were plotting its demise? Second, there is NO proof for this. Zero. Don't talk about the threshold which was copied almost verbatim from BC. It is a) not McGuinty's and b) in keeping with the Constitution and the principles of the Clarity Act. This kind of conspiracy is usually relegated to late night talk shows.

Myth #2: The media ignored the issue.

This is blatantly false. Almost every newspaper and most columnists in the province put out an editorial. Radio talk shows spent hours debating its merits. The blogosphere was saturated. The debate was out there. People just had to listen. A major television debate (outside TVO) was the only thing missing. Given the low ratings of the leaders' debate I wouldn't call this all that important.

Myth #3: The No MMP campaign killed it.

Our Lilliputian efforts (all $12,000 of it) may have helped to shape the debate (I'll come to that later) but we did not cause a landslide. I'd love to say we did, but we didn't.

Myth #4: The information campaign left people uninformed and they voted out of uneasiness.

This on the surface seems like a reasonable hypothesis. The information campaign was pathetic (see my last post). However, it is disproved by the results that we got from across the province. In order for this theory to work, you must assume that information was distributed relatively equally across the province. Everyone received the same useless pamphlet. Almost everyone has access to the internet somewhere so they could view the website. In other words, people should vote the same way across the province. There should be no noticeable difference between ridings. In fact support for MMP ranged from below 30% to 59.2% (Trinity-Spadina). That kind of thirty point spread indicates to me that a large number of people knew exactly what they were voting on or at very least had formed an opinion. Even if you assume that people in the large cities were better informed due to higher media and campaign saturation, you still can't explain why people in wealthy (and therefore more likely educated) urban ridings rejected MMP. It is also worthwhile to note that people voted predictably. Steve Paikin nailed on The Agenda when he surmised that the pro-MMP ridings were in downtown Toronto. How did he know they weren't in Thunder Bay or Ottawa? The answer is the reason MMP failed.

MMP failed because it didn't resonate with what Ontarians value in their politics. In my first post on MMP I discussed the principles behind both systems and how the choice was basically a philosophical one. The results confirm that hypothesis. First, let's look at who voted for MMP. The ridings are: Trinity-Spadina, Toronto-Danforth, Beaches-East York, Davenport and Parkdale-High Park. First off, let's recognize that the four of these ridings are NDP strongholds and the fifth (Davenport) has been on the Dipper wish list for some time now. What do these ridings have in common that makes them vote NDP and for MMP (unlike the Northern NDP ridings which rejected en masse)? First, they believe that political decisions are moral decisions. No, not in the bible belt sense but in the compassion for your fellow human beings sense. People in these ridings believe that everyone should have an equal chance. The argument that FPTP is unfair resonated here. Secondly, they are imbued with pluralist views. What is common about these ridings is their diversity. The whitest is probably Beaches-East York but even then, there is significant diversity. There is along with that diversity a fierce belief in multiculturalism. There is a pluralist belief that society is best when it includes everyone in the discussion. This pushed them in favour of getting small parties more say in the legislature. Now, to a certain extent these views are present everywhere in the province but they are especially present and relevant in voting behaviour in the old city of Toronto. In other words, MMP was in keeping with the values that drive voters in these ridings.

Different motivations governed the rest of the province. A strong attachment to local representatives, I would argue is one of them. It is not unreasonable to assume that the people that voted for Kathleen Wynne in Don Valley West valued local representation more than the performance of various leaders. The easy re-election of Khalil Ramal in London Fanshawe is a better example. The pundits argued that London Fanshawe set up perfectly for the NDP. After all, if you combined the vote totals from the various polls in 2003 that were under the redistributed London-Fanshawe boundaries they would have won. Furthermore, the NDP was much more popular in 2007 than they were in 2003. Ipso facto, well, nothing. The NDP decided to go youth, which while commendable, is not usually the best strategy for getting elected. Voters stuck with the experienced Ramal. Local candidates matter. They matter a lot in certain ridings. Voters who thought this was important didn't like the lists no matter how democratic the advocates of MMP thought they were.

Other areas vote because of regional preferences. This is particularly relevant in Northern Ontario. Why did NDPers in Toronto say yes to MMP but similarly NDP supporting people in the North reject it so fervently? This is because Northerners want to maintain a Northern voice. This is true in other rural parts of the province as well. I think the election of Randy Hillier last night is proof enough of that. No list can replicate the local representation provided by a FPTP based system.

The other reason MMP failed is because the referendum was about MMP. The debate ended up being about the merits of MMP which I think is appropriate. However, when Elections Ontario changed the yes/no question to an either/or question I feared that the debate would focus on FPTP. If the vote for MMP campaign had managed to make the referendum about that, they may have been more successful at overcoming the natural predispositions against this system. John Tory and the vote for MMP campaign have this problem of directionality in common.

Finally, the referendum campaigns did have a minimal impact. You can certainly see the impact of Michael Bryant and Carolyn Bennett's work in getting the usually small c conservative St. Paul's near 50%. Similar things can be said of George Smitherman in Toronto Centre and Hugh Segal and John Gerretsen in Kingston and the Islands. The impact of our No MMP campaign is hard to decipher in the landslide. I'd say we were successful in Nipissing, Ottawa and elsewhere but I don't know that we would have been less successful had we sat on our hands. As I've said, if we made any major contribution to the overall results last night, it was keeping the attention squarely on MMP. Both referendum campaigns and perhaps the referendum in general were impacted by Elections Ontario's decision to treat the referendum campaigners as third party advertisers. The lack of tax receipts robbed both campaigns of the cash necessary for a full out debate. However, I don't think this is a major cause of the defeat.

Early Election Thoughts

So the results are in from Ontario tonight. Good news all around as far as I am concerned. A strong Liberal majority and a fierce rejection of MMP.

- One of the first things Dalton McGuinty needs to do is set up a legislative committee to look at the horrible job that Elections Ontario did during this election. Not only did their referendum information campaign fail to inform, but their website goes down as the results are coming in. Combine that with massive confusion surrounding the procedures for identification and on a personal note the loss of my voting card (I did vote, by the way), and I am unimpressed. They need to clean up their act for next time around.

- MMP's defeat tonight was decisive. Over 63% (at time of positing) of Ontarians said no, we don't want MMP our current system is preferable. I don't think given these results that Ontarians want to do this again with a different system four years from now. We should look at ways to reform our system, like the ones I proposed here, that don't involve the actual marking and counting of ballots. I will post more on this when Elections Ontario's website is up and the counting is done.

- I am thrilled that Kathleen Wynne was re-elected in Don Valley West. First and foremost, she is a great MPP and cabinet minister and it is good to have her back. Secondly, my distaste for John Tory knows no bounds and to see him defeated warms my heart.

- I am disappointed but not surprised that Peter Tabuns trounced Joyce Rowlands in Toronto-Danforth. The NDP hegemony continues.

- There should be two leadership races in the next four years. The PC race looks to be leaving first. I can't imagine anyone in Tory's caucus jumping to resign so he can get into the legislature. Hampton should leave. He has run three mediocre to poor campaigns. Three strikes should be enough. If the NDP wants to be competitive in Ontario, it needs new blood.

- I realize that I have been fairly silent in my support for the Ontario Liberal Party. I decided to dedicate my time this election to stopping MMP. However, I am thrilled that the Liberals have four more years to make Ontario stronger and better. Congratulations to Dalton McGuinty and all of his caucus colleagues.

As I say, much more analysis once Elections Ontario has results available for the public. (I notice the media got their numbers all night without interruption)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

An explanation is required

I have been criticized for warning bloggers who are blogging about the referendum during the blackout. Firstly, I did it as a public service, not as an attempt to silence opposition to my particular viewpoint. I did it because of how I read the following parts of the election law:

"Section 1:

“referendum advertising” means advertising in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that,

(a) has the purpose of promoting a particular result in the referendum, and

(b) appears during the referendum period,

Section 17:

(2) No person or entity shall arrange for or consent to referendum advertising that appears during the blackout period. O. Reg. 211/07, s. 17 (2).

(3) No broadcaster or publisher shall allow a referendum advertisement to appear during the blackout period. O. Reg. 211/07, s. 17 (3)."

To me, this indicates that any blogger "promoting a particular result in the referendum" would be guilty under this law. Now, Scott Tribe did his due diligence and found out that Elections Ontario only considers something advertising if it has been paid for by an election campaign. I have further concerns for bloggers that are affiliated, as I am, with one of the referendum campaigns. Since there is an implied relationship between a blogger and a blog roll, particularly when they advertise on each other's sites, it was my thought that perhaps this would constitute advertising. This is particularly true with the use of omnibus, referendum only, blogs that both sides used during the campaign. Clearly, both sides were using blogs as a means of disseminating propaganda. In essence, for the exact same reason you would use advertising. This would differentiate them from MSM sources, who while they may demonstrate bias or endorse a particular side, do not advertise for that side right beside the editorial or article.

Also troublesome, and I realize I am putting myself in hot water by publishing, is the issue of the banners on many blogs. The clause "No... publisher shall allow a referendum advertisement to appear during the black out" gave me a lengthy pause as a new post generates its own separate webpage where a separate and new advertisement for the referendum campaign would appear. Now I realize this would force people to stop blogging or take down their banners during the blackout which I believe to be unreasonable (here I mean practically, legally I don't know). The unreasonableness of this is why I have decided, after some deliberation, to put out this post and one more post before the polls close.

What all this demonstrates to me is that we need to figure out exactly how blogs are to be treated in future elections. If my pestering this morning starts a tiny debate in that direction, then it will have been worth my time. Given the information that Scott received I encourage all bloggers to use their personal blogs to debate this issue. However, I will not post on it any further. As a member of the executive of one of the referendum campaigns I do not think I can effectively separate personal from campaign blogging. I hope this helps to clarify my position.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Vote to Keep Our Existing Electoral System

This marks my 29th post on the subject of this referendum. It will also be my last before election day. So, here we go 10 reasons to vote for FPTP and against MMP:

10. Stable, effective government. Governments in ONTARIO which fail to get a majority rarely last longer than a couple of years and have difficulty executing a coherent agenda. Majority government allows for long term strategies instead of short term placating. We need to be able to make tough decisions. We can do that under FPTP, we can't under MMP.

9. Small parties should not control the agenda. I don't want a situation like that which exists under MMP systems where small parties control the agenda in spite of voter preference. I would rather have a parliament where a party that receives 40% of the vote has a majority than have a legislature where a party that receives 3% of the vote has the majority of the power. If you want a point of reference look at the power of New Zealand First in the first MMP coalition government or the influence of the Green party on Germany's insane energy policy.

8. Vote for the system you understand. I don't just mean that if you haven't done your research. I am talking about the large number of things we just don't know about MMP. The exact means of list selection is still among them. Does "democratic" mean Democratic Republic of Congo "democratic"? Sorry, not good enough, not by a long shot. Do you understand the process for a recount under MMP? No? That's because there isn't one. Understand what happens if a list MPP crosses the floor? No? That's because there's no provision for or against it. Ontarians don't understand MMP not only because Elections Ontario has failed them but also because there is a lot nobody understands.

7. Ballots should be easy to vote on and easy to count. Neither applies to MMP.

6. All of Ontario matters. Not just Toronto. I say this sitting in Toronto. A one member one vote system of choosing party lists would guarantee Torontonian dominance in the legislature. Voters will vote for who they want first. They won't be thinking about the look of the overall list. With the concentration of population and party members in the GTA, GTA candidates would have a major advantage under MMP.

5. Don't give more power to political parties. They are too powerful as is. Elections should be decided on election night by the voters of Ontario, not a month later by party elites in a Toronto hotel.

4. We are not threatened by nationalism. The boundaries that face minorities have nothing to do with the electoral system. We don't need MMP. You want First Nations politicians? How about Todd Russell? Tina Keeper? Nancy Karetak-Lindell? All in our Parliament today because of First Past the Post. There are more. There's a riding in the 905 where every single candidate is Muslim. Both the Liberals and the NDP have met their targets for increasing women in the legislature. Expect those targets to go up next time around. Our current ministers of health and education are openly gay. The Premier of Orange Ontario is Catholic. Let's look how far we've come before we look at how far we have to go. We don't need MMP to artificially solve our remaining problems.

3. Our electoral districts are too big, don't make them bigger. This is true not only in Northern Ontario where MMP would make a riding larger than France, but also in the GTA where a burgeoning population makes ridings harder and harder for independents and small parties to cover.

2. Our legislature at its best when it is a representation of Ontarians from across this province. I call this blog All Politics is Local because I believe in the importance of community based politics. Today's media based politics have wounded our local politics, we do not need MMP to finish the job. We should be working to restore our local democracy. This is crucial if we are to increase our voter turnout and diversify our legislature.

1. Related to the point above, list MPP's are accountable to absolutely no one. They are not accountable to the whole province as pro-forces claim. They are also not accountable to the people who voted for that party. This is an absurd argument that assumes that voter preferences on election day stay the same the rest of the term. Accountability is crucial. We need to be able to throw out the bums. It is the foundation of our democracy. We must preserve it. For all of our MPP's. We need to reject MMP and keep FPTP to do this.

Vote for our existing electoral system (First-Past-The-Post)
All views expressed in this blog are those of the author and the author alone. They do not represent the views of any organization, regardless of the author's involvement in any organizations.

All comments are the views of the individual writer. The administrator reserves the right to remove commentary which is offensive.

The author is not responsible for nor does he support any of the advertisements displayed on the page