Sunday, September 30, 2007

Vote for MMP! the "Andrew Coyne's Second Salvo" Edition

Andrew Coyne takes on the fear mongers in his latest post on the Ontario Referendum.

It's almost as though he knew the Star was going to come out with an endorsement of FPTP filled with lies and distortions about MMP.

Stay tuned for Mr. Coyne's next column, which promises to take on even more of the lies and half-truths perpetuated by the Anti-MMP crowd.

I can't wait.

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Mike Weir beats Tiger Woods in individual match play!

So, the International team will lose the President's Cup in Montreal today, but the good news is that Mike Weir went head-to-head with Tiger Woods and beat him (1 Up)!!!

I expect all the Weir bashers to stfu now.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Wow! Just how much trouble are the Federal Liberals in???

When I read Chantal Hebert's column today (Confidence in Dion reaches crisis level) at first I thought perhaps she was overstating things a bit (though just a bit... when Chantal speaks, I listen). In part, she wrote about a feeling in Liberal ranks that now might be a time for an election (i.e. go now and get killed rather than wait a year and get SLAUGHTERED). Chantal writes:

Leaving aside the fact that a campaign is likely a prerequisite to any successful attempt to dump Dion as leader, most Quebec Liberals feel that an immediate fight against the Conservatives would ultimately wreak less damage on the party than six more months of corrosive internal unrest.

For the latter is what awaits the federal Liberals in the absence of a fall trip to the polls.

Between next month's Speech from the Throne and an election-setting Conservative budget in the spring, Dion can realistically expect no improvement in his prospects in Quebec.

On that score, suffice it to say that most Liberal incumbents figure that their chances of holding on to their seats are actually better now than they might be next year.

Because they have so little left to lose in the province, other Liberals may be tempted to whistle past their Quebec graveyard.

I say that at first I thought she might be overstating things a bit because then I read this from Paul Wells: "Chantal's right . She may actually be understating things".

That's Paul "Ain't Dion Dreamy" Wells people.

When Paul Wells says that not only is Chantal Hebert correct in her assessment of what a terrible hash Dion and his team have made of things, but that furthermore she may be underestimating how bad it really is, the party (if not "the Party") is over.

I was always a big fan of Dion, but I'm suddenly concerned that a quick election now may be the only way to PREVENT a Tory majority.

Someone asked after the Outrement loss if it was time to hit the panic button. I wasn't sure then, but now? Slam that button with a closed fist.

It's time to panic.

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On following the Liberals' lead... again...

Scott Feschuk has a great take on yesterday's federal surplus announcement that I hope he will forgive me reproducing in full here:

In announcing today that the federal surplus has unexpectedly soared to $14-billion, way above government estimates, Stephen Harper issued the following statement:

“I would like to apologize, sincerely and without reservation, to members of the previous Liberal government for my reflexive, unrelenting criticism of their fiscal management acumen. As I’m sure you recall, I routinely mocked the Liberals as incompetent buffoons for failing to accurately forecast the size of the surplus. But, whoa, turns out it’s not so easy! I mean, take a look at the size of this thing – it’s huuuuge!"

“Seriously though," the Prime Minister continued, “if only I were trained as an economist, I probably would have known that predicting revenues in a modern economy is, at the best of times, an inexact pursuit. What’s that you say? I am an economist? Really? Well then I guess I was just being a big fat jerk about it all. Sorry."

The Prime Minister’s statement was released early this afternoon in my imagination.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vote For MMP!!! The Facebook Group Edition (#3)

Quick, somebody go join the Vote for MMP Facebook Group! It's at 2,999 members.

For those of you wondering, No MMP Ontario is at 659 members.

That's 82% for Vote for MMP versus 18% for No MMP Ontario.

Or, as supporters of first-past-the-post would write it:

Vote for MMP: 100%
No MMP Ontario: 0%


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Vote for MMP!!! The 1993 Federal Election Edition

So, Andrew Coyne's excellent column savaging the first-past-the-post, winner take all system we use for elections in Canada reminded me of some election results that truly illustrate how crazy FPTP is, and how terribly it works in giving us legislatures that represent the expressed will of the people, or in making sure people's votes count equally across the province or country.

Here are some numbers from the 1993 federal election:

In the '93 federal election the Progressive Conservatives earned the votes of 2,186,422 Canadians. The Reform party did slightly better, garnering 2,559,245. However, lest you think this was the actual RESULT of the election (a 2.6% difference between the two parties) think again. Because as we all know, the Tories 2.1 million votes was a DEVASTATING result, and they were reduced to just 2 seats in Ottawa. Meanwhile, Reform's 2.5 million votes was a TERRIFIC result, giving them 52 seats on Parliament Hill.

The Tories got one seat for every 1,093,211 votes they received.
The Reformers got one seat for every 49,216 votes they received.

In simplified terms, a voter who voted Reform had a vote that was for all practical purposes 22 times more powerful than the vote of a voter who marked their ballot for the Tories.

Another great example comes to us from the 2004 federal election. In that election, the NDP got a respectable 15.7% of the vote, with 2,116,536 votes. The Bloc Quebecois meanwhile were over 3% (and over 440,000 votes) behind with just 1,672,874 votes. What did FPTP do with these numbers? Well, it gave the NDP and their 2.1 million voters 19 seats in Parliament. Meanwhile, the 1.6 million Bloc voters got 54 seats in Parliament. NDP voters got one seat in Parliament for every 111,397 votes they cast, while Bloc voters received one seat for every 30,979 votes. Does that sound like democracy to anyone?

As Mr. Coyne points out, the majority of Quebecers have voted federalist in every federal election since 1993. Does anything about our Parliament, or our recent history, reflect that reality?

It's long past time for a change.

Vote for MMP in Ontario, and get the ball rolling.

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Vote for MMP!!! The Coyne's on a Roll Edition!!!

Andrew Coyne savages first past the post in a new column from today!

Go Andrew Go!

ETA: Here's a great quote!

In 26 federal elections since 1921, there have been 16 majority governments elected, but only two that actually commanded a majority of the vote. The rest were minorities posing as majorities, wielding undivided power though as many as five voters in eight voted against them. Supporters of the status quo cite its tendency to produce stable majority governments. But these aren’t majority governments. They’re legalized coup d’etats".

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What a strange day on the job for one L.A. cop!!!

I've got to say, I'd be really nervous about having to arrest Jack Bauer!

Those officers are lucky to be alive to tell the story!


I've also got to say that I'm shocked they didn't let him off with a warning! After all that man's done for the country, to get arrested for DUI!!! Who did they think he was, Tony Almeda???


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Monday, September 24, 2007

Kyoto post redux...

So, someone actually tried to say in a comment to my last Kyoto post that only two countries are close to meeting their Kyoto protocol targets (how they thought I was going to buy that is beyond me, given that many countries have ALREADY exceeded their targets, but whatever...).

So, FYI, here's a recent report on Kyoto progress.

The highlights:

The EU (the original member states signed on to a collective target for all 15 states, and then negotiated how they would share that burden amongst themselves) is on track to reduce their emissions by 9.3% by 2010, well ahead of their collective Kyoto target of an 8% reduction.

Individually within this group, the U.K. has already surpassed its target of a 12.5% reduction,and is now on track for a 23-35% reduction by 2010. (The U.K. is also committed to reducing it's emissions by 60% - not Harper's 50% - by 2050).

France has also surpassed it's target of staying at 1990 levels, and has reduced their emissions by 2%.

Sweden was actually permitted a targeted increase of 4% under the burden sharing agreement, however they have instead also reduced their emissions by 2% below 1990 levels. They've also committed to a Sweden free of fossil fuels by 2020.

Germany's reductions of 18.5% below 1990 levels meanwhile put it easily on target for their obligatory 21% reduction target.

In Eastern Europe meanwhile, (outside the E.U. Kyoto group) the ten Eastern European countries have reduced emissions by 32% below 1990 levels, well below their collective target of reducing their emissions by 7.7%. Pretty much every country in Eastern Europe (that's 10 countries remember) has already passed their individual Kyoto targets.

Iceland meanwhile, actually permitted a 10% increase under Kyoto, has also reduced their emissions below 1990 levels (obviously, SHATTERING their Kyoto target).

New Zealand is also on track to meet their 2010 targets.

To me, Iceland is the most shocking indictment of Canada's failure. Under Kyoto, Iceland was actually permitted to INCREASE their emissions to 10% above their 1990 emissions, while Canada committed to a reduction to 6% below our 1990 emissions. Since then, Iceland has reduced their emissions to 2% below their 1990 levels, while Canada's emissions have increased to more than 30% above 1990 levels. So, Iceland's target was 10% ABOVE 1990, ours was 6% BELOW 1990, and Iceland is currently WAY closer to hitting OUR target, than we are to hitting theirs!!!

That's abysmal.

We've increased our emissions beyond the targeted levels of the countries that were actually permitted to increase their emissions under the agreement. Meanwhile, several of those countries that , unlike us, were actually ALLOWED to have increases, have made reductions. It's pathetic, but true.

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Harper proposes countries already ahead of us "follow our lead" on Climate Change...

I'd be much less angry about the Prime Minister's lack of leadership on Climate Change if he wasn't out there PRETENDING to lead on Climate Change.

The notion that "Kyoto's not realistic, we need to move on from Kyoto" doesn't really fly with the many countries that have met or exceeded their Kyoto obligations. Perhaps Kyoto is unrealistic for CANADA now, because we sat on our hands for 13 years, but that's not the message we should be using to convince countries that MET their Kyoto obligations (or never signed on to Kyoto) to follow the plan of a country that didn't (or rather, won't) live up to their treaty obligations going forward.

Sure, plenty of countries besides Canada think it'd be a good idea to reduce GHG emmissions by half by 2050. However many, many of those countries will be starting from their post-Kyoto totals, and reducing THOSE by half. Meanwhile, Canada would be starting from a position WAY ABOVE our Kyoto targets, and reducing THAT by half. Hell, we'll be starting from a position WAY ABOVE where our actual emmissions were when the Kyoto targets were agreed to, and reducing that by half!!! This is not just Harper's fault, but it is reality.

None of the countries that are already AHEAD OF US are going to "follow our lead". It's as though we've arrived for a 26 mile marathon an hour too late and we're asking the countries an hour ahead of us to run a full 26 miles beginning from where they are currently in the race, while we run the 26 miles fresh from the start line (and actually, what's REALLY going on is that we're asking them to run 26 miles from where they currently are an hour into the race, while we run 15 miles!!!). We just hope (against hope) that none of them figure out that they will have ended up running more than twice as far as we have!

I'd be less concerned about the Prime Minister not leading on this issue (given where he had to start, thanks to the Liberals) if he wasn't out there PRETENDING to be a leader on this issue (and making himself, and by extension the country look foolish in the process). None of the countries that meet their Kyoto obligations are going to be at all impressed that Canada manages to reduce it's inflated pre-Kyoto emmissions by half by 2050 while they all reduce their POST-Kyoto emmissions by half. And they CERTAINLY won't view us as leaders!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Vote for MMP!!! Facebook Edition Redux...

So, here's a totally unscientific, statistically insignificant, meaningless observation.

Currently, there are two "official" Ontario Electoral Reform Campaign groups on Facebook. One for No MMP Ontario, and the other for Vote for MMP! In total, there are 3190 people in the two groups.

So how are the two sides doing? Well, Vote for MMP has 2651 members, while No MMP Ontario has 539.

Percentage-wise, that's

Vote For MMP: 83%
No MMP Ontario: 17%

Or, as advocates of first-past the post would express it:

Vote for MMP: 100%
No MMP Ontario: 0%

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Vote for MMP!!! The Conservative Case Edition

In another excellent post on electoral reform, Andrew Coyne sums up a "conservative case" for proportional representation.

However, in many ways, it's not just a "conservative" case, but a "logical" case. As Mr. Coyne argues, electoral reform isn't about whether the "left", or the "right" is advantaged by a system such as MMP, it's about whether the VOTER is advantaged. And they clearly are. Under "First Past the Post" (and as Mr. Coyne points out, it would be more accurate to call FPTP "Winner take all") the votes of hundreds of thousands of voters are wasted every election, and those voters aren't just on the left, but on the right as well. Electoral reform shakes EVERYTHING up, and gives us a whole new way of choosing those who represent us in government.

About damned time, if you ask me.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Vote for MMP!! The Facebook Edition!

So, of course, everyone supporting MMP should join the Facebook Vote for MMP Group!

However, may I also suggest considering changing your Facebook profile picture (either now, or closer to Referendum day (less than 20 days away!!!)) to one of the images available at the Vote for MPP website.

Not only will everyone visiting your profile see the Vote for MMP logo, but if you use one of those images as your profile pic, it will appear as your profile pic EVERYWHERE in Facebook where your profile pic appears (where you're listed in your friends' lists of friends... next to every posting you've written on anyone's wall... where you appear as a member of a group... EVERYWHERE!).

It's a great and easy way to spread the Vote for MMP message to a great number of people, including people you've never even met!

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Vote for MMP!!! The "Famous Endorsers" Edition....

So Vote for MMP has a list of prominent Canadians who endorse MMP in the upcoming October 10th Referendum! Check it out.

Names that might hold some particular sway with me (were I not already on board!):

Rick Anderson, Director, Fireweed Democracy Project, former advisor to Preston Manning

Ed Broadbent, former MP & leader of New Democratic Party

Elinor Caplan, Former Liberal federal and provincial cabinet minister

Stompin' Tom Connors, recording artist and entertainer ('cause I mean c'mon, it's STOMPIN' TOM!!!)

Andrew Coyne, journalist

Janet Ecker, Former Ontario cabinet minister

Stephen Lewis, Former Ambassador to United Nations

Clayton Ruby, barrister and solicitor

Senator Hugh Segal, Senator

David Suzuki, environmentalist

Mr. Walter Robinson, Former Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

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Parity is old news... how about the loonie at $1.05 U.S.

I mean c'mon.

Parity is SOOOO 11:00. It's the afternoon now.

Time to start thinking about a loonie worth USD 1.05!!!

And if oil goes over $100? Can I hear $1.10!?!?!

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Loonie at 99.9 cents U.S....

Oh, COME ON already. Now the traders are just being silly.


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Anybody know why Blogger is randomly talking to me in German these days???

Is it just me? Anybody else getting the German treatment from Blogger (occasionally, and randomly, for no apparent reason!).

'Cause it's starting to freak me out!

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More from Coyne on the By-elections....

Again, thank God SOMEONE is paying attention to what's actually going on, and not just to what everyone seems to be SAYING is going on!!!

Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells. Single-handedly doing the job of the entire MSM!

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Loonie hits 99 cents versus the U.S. dollar this morning!

Here comes parity!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where's the by-election Veil story???

So, we all tied ourselves in knots over whether Muslim women wearing veils should be forced to lift their veils before being allowed to vote (not that any of them need to be "forced" mind you, as no Muslim woman has EVER been recorded as having refused such a request, but moving on...) and a Parliamentary Committee went so far as to demand that the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada use his "emergency powers" to ignore the written laws of Canada and impose their will (because, GASP! there were three Quebec by-elections coming up!!!).

Now, the day after the by-elections, not a word.

Could it be, as I've heard, that not a single veiled Muslim showed up to the polls, and that the less than half dozen people who DID show up to the polls veiled were PROTESTERS, protesting that the non-existent veil-wearing Muslims wouldn't be forced, against the written law of Canada, to do something they would be perfectly willing to do voluntarily anyway (if they existed that is!).

No, it couldn't be that could it!?!?

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Coyne and Wells discuss what really happened in the By-Elections....

I mean, thank God for Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells eh?

Good to see some people still around who are actually watching what's happening in politics rather than reporting what everyone SAYS is happening.

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Interesting take on last night's Quebec results....

from the Macleans live election blog suggesting it's not exactly Dion's fault the Liberals have lost Outrement:

Here are the numbers for Martin Cauchon in Outremont under Jean Chretien:

1993: 46.8%
1997: 50.2%
2000: 47.7%

Enter Paul Martin and Mr. Lapierre.

2004: 40.9%
2006: 35.1%

Somewhere Paul Wells is nodding ruefully.

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Veils in the by elections...

So, apparently (though who can be certain if this is serious... anyone else have a news source???) with all the HUGE controversy over veiled voting in the Quebec by-elections, and (idiotic) calls for the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada to use his emergency powers to overturn the laws of Canada.... FIVE PEOPLE SHOWED UP WEARING VEILS (Live Blogging: Philippe at 8:55)

Even better? They weren't Muslims, but people protesting the decision to allow Muslims to wear veils!

If that report is remotely accurate? Classic.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Early By Election results...

So, it's early, but Thomas Mulcair of the NDP currently has 49% of the vote in Outrement! (16% of polls reporting, still quite early...)

Getting beat isn't great for the Liberals. Getting beat by 20 points though? Wow.

Meanwhile, Conservative
Denis Lebel is at 59% (43.9% reporting), and CTV is already calling Roberval--Lac-Saint-Jean for the Tories. (BQ 26.7%, Liberals 9.7%).

Saint-Hyacinthe--Bagot, Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac has 43.8% for the BQ. The Tories are at 35.4%, the NDP are at 7.8% and the Liberals are at 7.1%.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Loonie hits 97 cents U.S. for the first time since 1977...

So, looks like talk of parity is back! That was a quick turn around.

Word is the Canadian dollar is expected to hit 98 cents by the end of next week. Well, if that's true, now I'm really starting to believe that parity could (even probably WILL) happen. The Canadian dollar's been at parity with the greenback in my lifetime, however, the last time it happened I was 13 months old!

This doesn't indicate things are uncompromisingly GREAT in Canada, but things are clearly pretty good. The bigger effect is that sadly things in the U.S. are still pretty bad.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why Toronto's screwed and it's not the Mayor's fault....

Plus, the City is forced to pay for social services that no other city in the world would ever have to pay for. Services the City doesn't even run. There are literally hundreds of millions of dollars in cheques that City Hall has to send to the province every year to pay for programs the province used to pay for, and that the City has no control over. We just have to pay for them because the province wrote a law that says "Toronto has to pay for this now... because we say so."

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A fictional retelling of today's Committee meeting on the "veil thing"...

Lukiwski held up his left hand, its back towards Mayrand, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Marc?'


'And if the Committee says that it is not four but five -- then how many?'


The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Mayrand's body....

'How many fingers, Marc?'


The needle went up to sixty.

'How many fingers, Marc?'

'Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!'


'You are a slow learner, Marc,' said Lukiwski gently.

'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'

'Sometimes, Marc. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'

Thank God Parliamentary Committees can't use PHYSICAL torture, eh? They just drive us mad with their stupidity.

H/T to Dr. Dawg for reminding me of this scene from 1984.

Apologies to George Orwell for messing with it.

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This is why we write laws down....

I can't believe that happened today! A Parliamentary Committee tried to get the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada to ignore the written law of the nation and do what they told him to do. The Committee basically pointed to our electoral law and said "THAT'S not the law... WE'RE the law!!!".


Mayrand stuck to his guns and told the Committee ".. we must rely on the will of Parliament as expressed by Parliament."

Then, Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski actually said (I swear he said this, I'm not making it up to make him look stupid!) "So the will of this committee is not the will of Parliament?" NO you ninny, it's not. I'm so sorry to tell you this, but your Committee doesn't have the power to instruct a civil servant to ignore a law as passed by Parliament. Don't you think your Committee would be a bit busier if it had the power to tell government workers what parts of the written law they should follow, and what parts they can ignore!!! If the will of your Committee were the will of Parliament why would we keep paying the rest of those bozos???

I swear, this whole sad story has taken me from thinking that our MPs don't read the legislation they pass to suspecting many of them may actually be incapable of rational thought.

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Re-posted without comment...

Here is how our current first-past-the-post system of elections has distributed the seats in the Ontario Legislature (i.e. power) to the various political parties based upon their success in winning votes for the past five Ontario Elections:

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Jason Cherniak's fantasy conspiracy theory STILL better than FPTP!!!

So, Cherniak has a crazy and convoluted conspiracy theory about how the NDP and "Labour" could manipulate an MMP electoral system to get more seats in the Legislature than they would be entitled to based upon their combined votes.

It's such an inane notion that it is hardly worth commenting on, except for this. Under Jason's scary conspiracy theory, a mythical combination of the NDP and "Labour" mess with the system to get 27% of the seats in the legislature, with only 20% of the vote (HORROR!!!).

What Jason fails to mention is that in the real world, under the system we have in place today, the Liberals have 70% of the seats in the legislature with only 47% of the vote!!!

Gee, that couldn't be why Cherniak's against MMP, could it!?!?!

Anyway, buy into Jason's conspiracy if you wish, but keep in mind that in his fantasy world the NDP have to cooperate with a party that doesn't exist, and get the assistance of voters who are willing to go along with their conspiracy en masse, all to make the system give them 7% more seats than they get votes. Meanwhile, in the real world, the Liberals don't have to do anything special at all to get 23% more seats than they get votes under first past the post.

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Vote For MMP! The Election Results Edition...

Here, for your information, is a comparison of the votes cast in the last 5 Ontario Elections to the seats given to the parties in the legislature under our current First Past the Post electoral system.

The results for the party that formed the government are in bold (all "majority" governments, all with less than 50% of the votes) and what I see as the most egregious examples of the skewing of the Legislature by FPTP are in red (Governments which had more than 60% of the power with less than 50% of the vote, or more than 50% of the power with less than 40% of the vote!!!).

Interestingly (and I was surprised!) the current Liberal government was actually helped MORE by FPTP than Bob Rae's 37.6% "majority" in 1990. Despite not being able to get 50% of the vote, McGuinty's Liberals have 70% of the seats at Queen's Park (well, 69.9, but you'll forgive my rounding!). As you're probably aware, despite Ontario's tradition of "majority" governments, the last time a single party actually won a TRUE majority (i.e. actually had more than 50% of the votes) was in 1937. And, TECHNICALLY, that 1937 majority (with 51.6% of the votes) was actually a combination of the votes of the Liberal Party, the Liberal-Progressive Party, and the United Farmers. Making the 1934 election the last time a TRULY single party won a majority of the votes in Ontario.

ETA: The 1987 Liberal government should be in red too! (47.3% of the vote, 73% of the power!), but I can't be bothered to edit the image now!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Editorial on the "veiled voting" "controversy"...

It seems the editorial writers at the Toronto Star have done something remarkable.

They actually READ the election law passed by Parliament!!!

This puts them ahead of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Official Opposition, and as far as I can tell, EVERY OTHER MP IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

So now, TWO people in Canada have read the law that Parliament passed. Marc Mayrand, and the guy who wrote that editorial. Now if we could just get our elected officials to read their own legislation, maybe we'd be getting somewhere!!!!

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I hope Mr. Mayrand DOES appear before a Parliamentary Committee this week....

... because someone has to read Parliamentarians the election law they passed!!!

It's pretty clear now that virtually none of our elected officials have actually READ the legislation they enacted!!!


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Monday, September 10, 2007

Does anyone in Parliament read the laws they vote on?!?!?!?

Conservative MP Joe Preston of Elections Canada Chief Marc Mayrand:

“I'd love for him to come here and try to explain to us what he doesn't understand about photo ID.”

Well, I'd love to ask Joe Preston what he doesn't understand about the fact that the law he helped pass doesn't require voters to show photo ID.

I get the feeling he, and MANY of his colleagues from across the political spectrum haven't even read the law they passed!!!

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If the law required you to provide photo ID before voting

this would all be different!

The biggest issue in the latest veiled voting "controversy" is that our law makers appear to have not read the law they passed.

Nothing in Canadian elections law requires voters to show their faces at the polling station.

More importantly, nothing in Canadian election law requires voter to show photo identification before voting.

Now, that second part is VERY important.

Many of our politicians (led by the Prime Minister, but including members of other parties as well, including Dion and Duceppe) seem to be trying to convince the public that Elections Canada is trying to thwart the will of Parliament by not requiring Muslim women who cover their faces for religious reasons to remove their veils for identification purposes before voting.

Now, the first important point is that nothing in the new election law requires someone to show their face before voting. That's a fact.

However, I certainly concede that if the law required showing photo ID before voting then it probably WOULD be "thwarting the will of Parliament" for Elections Canada to allow women to vote without removing their veil. After all, if you are required to show PHOTO identification, then it seems obvious, even if it were not written explicitly, that that requirement would be meaningless if people were simply allowed to show photo ID, while their faces remained covered! A requirement that voters show photo identification would implicitly require women with veils to remove them, as VISUAL identification would be the obvious motive of such a requirement.

However, very importantly, Canadian election law does NOT require you to show photo identification before voting. That is, it's true, ONE of the ways you can establish your identity under the law passed by Parliament, but you can also show TWO pieces of acceptable ID WITHOUT photos. Or, you can show NO ID, and swear an oath confirming that you are who you say you are, confirmed by another resident of your riding who has had THEIR identity confirmed by either one piece of photo identification OR two pieces of non-photo identification. NOWEHERE is there a requirement, explicit or implied, that a voter be VISUALLY identified before being allowed to vote. All Elections Canada is saying is that the will not "read in" a requirement that Parliament has left out of the law.

So, there is no requirement that voters have uncovered faces when voting (which one might not actually expect to seee explicitly required) but there is ALSO no requirement to show any visual (i.e. photo) identification. So if you don't need to show photo ID, why should Elections Canada be expected to "read in" that you must remove your face veil??? WHY??? It's not in the law, and given that voters are NOT required to provide a photo card that poll workers could compare their face to, what possible reason would there be to require voters to show their faces???

Parliament wrote an election law with a hole big enough to drive a truck through. It's not Elections Canada's responsibility to throw up a roadblock after the fact. In fact, they specifically SHOULD NOT be doing so. Elections Canada FOLLOWS the law, they don't write it, and it's the fault of Parliamentarians if they wrote a law that doesn't actually do what they (they now claim, after the fact) apparently wanted it to.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

He's not gay, he wasn't looking for sex...

...he's just so mentally incompetent that he shouldn't be allowed out of the house without legal representation!!!

If you can believe it, Senator Larry Craig is considering trying to challenge his guilty plea, and go back in time to fight his recent conviction. In Minnesota, you can challenge a plea after the fact on the grounds of either coercion (which this wasn't) or incompetence.

So, apparently, a sitting U.S. Senator may be about to argue that he should be allowed to withdraw a guilty plea because he was too incompetent to have legally pled guilty to an everyday misdemeanor several weeks after the incident (in case you thought he pled guilty right there in the airport to get out of an uncomfortable situation, he didn't; he was arrested June 11th, and pled guilty in August 1st).

I swear, the Democrats must be thanking God for this guy.

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