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Pop The Stack: Should America Make Voting Mandatory?

So US President Obama recently suggested that making voting mandatory. There are multiple reasons for this, one being that the people who don’t vote are more likely to be low income and democrat so it would favour his party. But he also suggested it would reduce the influence of money in politics since the candidates that can spend more to make sure their base get out would lose the advantage.

I don’t disagree but I think there are many better ways to get people voting, like ensuring every vote counts equally and that every significant voice is heard even if (Read more…)

Je suis Charlie: All NL parties agree to anti-democratic, regressive cuts to legislature #nlpoli

Whenever the provincial government gets into financial trouble, someone will suggest that one great way to save money would be to cut the number of members in the House of Assembly.

Some people make the suggestion because they think members of the House doing nothing anyway. Others suggest that cutting the House is a way of sharing the pain of cuts coming to government generally.  And others justify proposed cuts to the House of Assembly because other places with a larger population have fewer politicians to represent them.

None of those are valid reasons to cut the House budget.  Reform of the House of Assembly should be about representing the people of the province more effectively. It should be about reducing the control of monied interests, including unions, and increasing the influence of ordinary people.

Cutting the number of members  as proposed by Dwight Ball, Lorraine Michael, and Paul Davis, . . . → Read More: Je suis Charlie: All NL parties agree to anti-democratic, regressive cuts to legislature #nlpoli

CuriosityCat: Michael Den Tandt is wrong: Mulcair knows what a mess of pottage is

Den Tandt: Muclair cannot count

So, what will our next federal government look like? Today is the last day of the year 2014, and most commentators have hidden their heads in the sand rather than venture a public guess.

Michael Den Tandt is one of the braver ones.

In an article in the National Post he forecasts a minority government for Stephen Harper, without any attempt by the two opposition parties – which combined will have more MPs than the Tory minority government – to vote him out in a no-confidence vote. Den Tandt believes that Harper will survive for (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Mulcair leads the way to a more democratic Canada

Mulcair: The man who would bring democracy to Canada

Thomas Mulcair, that very capable MP who is leader of the NDP, has publicly committed himself to remedy our democratic deficit, as this post indicates. Mulcair is to be commended for two things. First, for signing the Fair Vote Canada declaration (click herefor the full text). Second, for strongly coming out in favour of a modified proportional representation system of electing our federal MPs. The Fair Vote Canada declaration has this very important commitment:

What is important about the Fair Vote Canada declaration is that it is the modern equivalent (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Mulcair leads the way to a more democratic Canada

Democracy Under Fire: An Open Letter to Tom Mulcair.

Dear Sir I am in receipt of you self congratulatory email boasting of how you have just signed the Fair Vote Canada’s Politicians’ Pledge,I congratulate you on doing so and would hope that many other MPs from all parties join you in doing so but have a number of concerns with the other issues raised in you communications. Firstly your “commitment to make 2015 the last unfair election — and 2019 the first election to use a truly democratic electoral system” is clearly unobtainable…… unless you intend to either impose a new system upon Canadians without public consultation and (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: 2015 election: Coalition gains favour

Which one, or two, of these men will lead Canada?

The end of the Harper government is clear from this latest poll, which shows that the Harper scare tactics of the past have run their course: Liberal and NDP supporters, meanwhile, have expressed a tepid willingness to consider each other, suggesting that a Liberal-NDP coalition may be feasible should the Conservatives pull off a minority win in 2015. Indeed, unlike in 2011, it appears now that Liberals and NDP supporters are equally likely to say they are certain to be voting. The rise of greater commitment to vote in (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, taking a quick look at Canada’s options for electoral reform while arguing that an MMP system would create far better incentives for our political leaders than the alternatives.

For further reading…- Alison wrote about our options in advance of yesterday’s vote on the NDP’s electoral reform proposal. – Eric Grenier discusses the possible outcomes under the three main alternatives based on current polling. And I’d argue that the current party standings offer a useful litmus test as to one’s weighting of representativeness versus defaulting toward majority government – as a preferential system would put the Libs within (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: Electoral reform: Which party would benefit most?

Satire inspired by this headline: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/electoral-reform-which-party-would-benefit-most-1.2857321

Song of the Watermelon: On the Benevolence of Slippery Slopes: Women Taking the Lead

I had the pleasure last week of attending a public talk called “Women’s Voices: What Difference Do They Make?” featuring Canada’s first and only female prime minister, Kim Campbell.

Appearing at Vancouver’s Harbour Centre campus of Simon Fraser University, the former PM sat down with Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions to discuss women’s participation in government, business, and the media. She spoke with ease and humour about her time in politics, relating such anecdotes as the aura of stunned silence which prevailed when, having recently been promoted to cabinet, she disrupted the old boys’ atmosphere by launching into a (Read more…)

The Progressive Right: I Support Mandatory Voting ( #cdnpoli #onpoli )

I went on a bit of a tear today on Twitter in support of mandatory voting, spurred somewhat by the discussion happening at the Canada 2020 conference in Ottawa.

Voter participation in Canadian elections is abysmal and with municipal elections happening across Ontario, it’s time to revisit mandatory voting.

If you’re a voter, good for you. You probably have an opinion on mandatory voting, but I’m not addressing you right now. I’d like to take a stab at why mandatory voting would be good for motivating non-voters.

I believe there are two general types of non-voter.

Single issue-based or politically (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Harper’s Gambit

With his numbers sinking in the most recent polls, Harper appears to be moving to bring out his rear guard actions to sustain his grip on power.

There are several pieces to this discussion:

(1)  Foreign Affairs

Between fomenting a shooting war with Russia in the Ukraine,  a stance on Israel that’s about as nuanced as an angry rhinoceros, and taking explicit sides in the ongoing collapse of Iraq and Syria, anyone would think that Harper was trying to drag Canada into a war.

Make no mistake about it, that is one of the cards that Harper (Read more…)

The Progressive Right: Return to the Ward System in #Oshawa ( #oshpoli )

In the upcoming municipal election, the city of Oshawa will have a ballot question asking voters whether the city should return to the ward system – that is, electing councillors based upon neighbourhoods rather than the current “councillor-at-large” method. Click to see full size PDF

Oshawa previously had a ward system, but changed to an at-large voting system for the election of 2010.

The question of moving to the councillor-at-large system originated with a 2006 ballot question. The turnout was low and thus non-binding, but City Council moved ahead with the decision to elect councillors at large for the 2010 (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Personal Perspective

After more than 5 years of writing about our declining democracy and having several times reviewed the options open to us should we ever get a government in power willing to put the issue of voting reform before the people I am now going to try and spell out my own wishes in this regard. Such wishes must be tempered by some practical considerations, wishing for things that simply are never going to happen is an exercise in futility – perhaps this whole series on Electoral Reform should be filed under that heading!

I will start by reiterating that I (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – The Parties Position

Its sometimes hard to see where the parties stand on any particular issue given the hype, bafflegab and spin that issues from almost all of them at times and the ever changing positions taken depending upon their position in the polls or whether they are in power or not. As far as I can tell the following is their current position on Electoral Reform.

Trudeau is a supporter of a preferential ballot, having made it a plank of his leadership platform.Liberals say they will launch all-party consultations on reform. The party passed a resolution at its convention earlier (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Voting Systems

I have said that simply calling for PR (Proportional Voting) is not sufficient but that we must understand the various systems that are generally promoted as ‘proportional’, and the alternatives. I wrote about the various systems some 3 years ago and will simply re-post part of that article with some updates and additional thoughts here in this series on Electoral Reform.

First however I must point out that non of the systems thus far proposed can be compared with what is often touted as the outcome from FPTP in so far as ‘the popular vote’. We currently vote for an (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform – Proportional Representation

Proportional Representation or PR for short has become the buzz word for those who are advocating for Electoral Reform (and that group includes myself) but what exactly do we mean when we say we want PR? The broad definition is “a method of voting by which political parties are given legislative representation in proportion to their popular vote.” , in Canada we have to add “within the limits set by our constitution” as some provinces have a minimum representative threshold. We must also add “as close as possible within practical limits” after all we cannot put fractions of MPs (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Electoral Reform Needed!

In the recent Ontario Election out of every 100 (eligible) citizens approximately 52 voted and one or two of those either declined or (deliberately?) spoiled their ballots We have no means of knowing how many tried to vote but were turned away due to being at the wrong poll or not having proper ID but judging from the feedback I have received it is probably in the thousands rather than the hundreds.

“Unofficial results released by Elections Ontario on Wednesday showed 31,399 voters chose to decline their ballots, the highest since 1975, there were 22,687 rejected ballots and (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Election Stories

With the Ontario election now history and a slight uptick in the voter turn out I will relate a few of the problems various voters have encountered whilst trying to vote in an effort to make both the voters and those that run the system aware of impediments to voting during said election. Most of these stories are specific to rural areas and related to poll location and rural addressing issues, it may be that in urban areas such things are not such a problem and it would seem that Elections Ontario either is unaware of such problems or considers (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ontario Election: A Good Case for Proportional Representation

Premier Wynne led her Liberal Party to a majority government this week, trouncing the anti-statist (drown the government in a bathtub) frothings of the Conservative Party, and shouldering aside the NDP expectation that governmental power was theirs for the taking, like ripe fruit, without any real effort on their part to justify this to voters. But yet again the majority one is a mathematical majority, but not a moral one. Premier Wynne’s Liberals would be foolish to interpret their majority of seats as being a sign of a massive mandate from a majority of Ontarian voters. It is not. That (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Elections Ontario Struggling……

Elections Ontario is struggling to find enough staff to fill the positions required to process your vote, this is not a particular surprise to those who have worked the polls before, it always tough to find responsible folks available for a one day 12 to 1`4hr shift with no breaks! I am not sure how Elections Canada gets away with it but poll clerks and others who work the polls are expected to be at their station the entire time that the polls are open and then some must remain to count ballots or forfill other duties related to closing (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Election Act, Election Ont, Election Incentives

So the flawed “fair” Elections Act has now passed final reading with a few amendments that public pressure made the Cons include but without the dozens of amendments proposed by the opposition and without even considering the 75 amendments that the Greens were not permitted to table.

The Speaker upheld the decision of the House committee tasked with studying Bill C-23 to deny the Green Leader the right to present her amendments.  “I am profoundly disappointed by today’s ruling,” said the MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “This decision undermines the ability of MPs from smaller parties and independent MPs to move amendments, (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: CPC Lied To Elections Canada On RoboCalls?

The corruption that is the CPC’s actions in the 2011 election continues to fester.

The most recent instalment comes to us via Stephen Maher’s latest column.

In an email May 1, party lawyer Arthur Hamilton told Elections Canada that Conservative call centre workers were not advising voters that Elections Canada had changed the location of polling stations, and that the party had not advised voters to go to a polling station an hour and a half from their home. 

But a report released by Elections Canada last month includes a script that shows the party’s callers were telling voters (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: This and That – Distractions and Obfuscations

The ongoing Elections act cluster fk has successfully distracted from the latest omnibus budget from the Harper Regime, hardy a word has been seen about the 350 page “Harper Government Creating Jobs & Growth While Returning to Balanced Budgets With Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1.”. Yep, we are back to that H*&^%$# Government thing again to describe our Canada Government as run by the Harper Oligarchy and hardly a word about all the hidden things about food safety, rail safety, the appointment of judges and altering military ranks, and other stuff which has nothing to do with (Read more…)

Democracy Under Fire: Meaningful Changes or Lipstick on the Pig?

In the unholy rush to jam their Unfair Elections Act through before the majority of Canadians realise just how bad and self-serving piece of legislation it is the Harper regieme has asked the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to “pre-study” it. In short order the Conservative-dominated committee has come back with a number of changes that it would like to see, remember this is just a “pre-study” not full hearings and that the House of Commons has yet to finish its initial study of this bill. The House Affairs Committee studying the bill will conduct one more day of (Read more…)