Monday, October 17, 2016

The Cons mini-referendum

This summer the Conservative Party Caucus had themselves a mini-referendum about having a referendum about electoral reform. 

ERRE Committee vice-chair Scott Reid held a presser about it last Friday and was very pleased to announce a 90.6% approval rating of 73,740 YES votes from the 81,389 returned responses. 
Sure, the ballot only went out to 59 ridings held by Con MPs and allowed 4 responses per household, but still - a 90.6% approval rating for a referendum!

When a reporter asked how many ballots were originally sent out in order to get those 81,389 back, Reid expressed regret at not having those numbers available so I'm giving him a helping hand here. 

The total number of eligible electors in the 59 ridings cited is 4,613,620. I know because I added them up last night.

If 81,389 ballots were returned out of 4.6 million, that's a response rate of 1.76%
If 73,740 of those were YES REFERENDUM! votes, that's a 1.6% referendum approval rating, and it's a 1.6% referendum approval rating in Conservative-held ridings only, a third of which are in Alberta. 

I have no great quarrel with the 4 page CPC referendum/referendum itself - the explanations and questions are about what you might expect. But when you consider that it was received on the heels of a flyer saying a referendum was required to "stop the Liberals from rigging the 2019 election" in, for instance, Con MP Len Webber's riding of Calgary Confederation... well, lets just say that riding's 2.2% response rate probably indicates Calgary Confederationists are not setting their hair on fire over it. 

The CPC Caucus submission to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform contained the following tables about their mini-ref. I added two extra columns on the far right - total number of electors in the riding and the riding response rate to the questionnaire - to give their numbers some context. I also added the names of the MPs.  Click em to read em. 

So there ya go, Scott - your missing numbers. You're welcome.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Referendumpster fire

CPC MP and ERRE committee member Scott Reid held a presser today to lay out the CPC position on electoral reform : No referendum, no Consent to electoral reform.

Mr Reid cites the results of a householder CPC MPs sent to their constituents. Shocker : 90.6% of them voted for a referendum.

Wikipedia : 
"In Canadian politics, a Ten Percenter is a party political flyer that MPs have the right to mail — at no cost to themselves — to households in their own ridings, equivalent to 10% of the households in their constituency. They may also send the same flier to all of their constituents if they change 50% of the copy." 
Complaining that members of the public who show up to ERRE road show meetings are "self-selective" and therefore not representative of Canadians as a whole - a complaint also repeated in committee by ERRE Lib MP Sherry Romanado - Reid calls his survey of 59 Conservative ridings out of a total of 338 possible ridings "the largest sampling of views on this issue to date." Ok but 30% of ridings surveyed were in Alberta. Nothing "self-selective" there.

The 81,000 votes from across Canada returned to the Conservative office or the local riding MP include up to 4 votes permitted per household. To put that in context, 81K is the same number of voters found in the ridings of Ottawa West or North Vancouver. 
In Scott Reid's own riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston with 77,808 voters, 1400 responded to his electoral referendum questionnaire ... which works out to a 1.8% response rate. 
So, you know, good effort, Cons.

Now Scott Reid has been personally in favour of implementing a proportional electoral system like STV since 2001 and his fellow ERRE member CPC Gerard Deltell also favours PR , but alas their hands are tied by the 2004 CPC founding charter which specifies that any electoral reform must be preceded by a referendum. Apparently their Bill C-23 Fair Elections Act didn't count.

Reid also reported he thinks a five-party committee consensus to proceed with a PR system is possible, that a public referendum on PR would pass, and that Elections Canada CEOs JP Kingsley and Marc Mayrand have said there is time before the next election in 2019 for both a referendum and a new electoral reform system provided the new system is not unduly complicated in the redrawing of ridings. 

So why are the CPCs the fly in the electoral reform ointment?

Reid notes that Minister Monsef has not proposed any specific model to replace FPtP or pledged to accept the committee's consensus position, supposing they reach one after this referendum ultimatum. 
Reid :
"Up til now, she has only said she'll take it under advisement so we can move towards that model. What I don't want to have happen is this : have the committee move towards some kind of conclusion and then the government says 'thank you very much, we're doing something else' because we have an ironclad commitment about 2019 and then impose a system that favours the governing party. That would obviously be completely unacceptable and I am anxious at all costs to make sure that doesn't happen."
I get this concern. I do. The dreaded Alternative Vote, a non-proportional system considered capable of keeping the Libs in power forever because the Libs are everyone's presumed first and/or second choice on a ranked ballot in a single seat riding, is right there in the ERRE committee road show handout and was included in the public e-consultation on the ERRE site.  

But after months of sending out householders like the one pictured at the top here - sent out prior to the committee rejig in May which allowed the Bloc and Elizabeth May a seat at the ERRE table and reduced the number of Liberals on committee from a majority of six down to four Libs plus the chair - together with your failure to hold town halls in your communities to inform yourselves and voters about possible alternatives to FPtP, and the fact your official seven page Conservative Caucus submission to ERRE today is about nothing but holding a referendum ...  well, Cons, you failed miserably at reaching out further afield than just to your dog-whistled fear-mongered householder base here to achieve that all-party consensus you claim to aspire to.

h/t Pat McGrail and James Valcke for the householder viz.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Electoral Reform for Dummies - that would be us.

Well that was then. 
Today some sixteen months later, having attended exactly zero electoral reform committee road meetings or community-based townhalls these past few weeks, our legacy media is jointly suggesting Trudeau throw in the towel.

Susan Delacourt : Time for Trudeau to cut his losses on electoral reform
"Mayrand just gave the Liberals a face-saving excuse. They should take it."

Ms Delacourt manages to interpret Elections Canada CEO Marc Mayrand's caution that :
any new electoral system should enjoy broad support beyond a simple majority of MPs (Liberal MPs, in this case) in the House of Commons.
“I believe that changes to the Elections Act should reflect a broad consensus, that’s for sure. And I believe that a single party, whatever the majority of that party is, should not be entitled to change the act unilaterally,” Mayrand said.
into an 'out' for Trudeau, as if somehow the NDP, Bloc, and Elizabeth May, not to mention the wildly cheering Canadian public who voted for reform above, do not count. 

Having hung this on something Mayrand didn't say, she goes on to speculate about "what Mayrand didn’t say (but could have)" and it goes downhill from there, although I give her points for not mentioning a referendum until several paras in - perhaps because Mayrand says it's unnecessary. 

"I don’t think electoral reform is a top-of-mind issue for Canadians," she says, apparently oblivious to the irony that, aside from Kady O'Malley, a media boycott might be having some bearing on that.

Toronto Star : Mayrand is right – give the people a voice on election reform: Editorial

The Star editorial board first plumps for a national referendum but settles for kicking reform down the road aways:
"Trudeau’s best move would be put election reform to a national vote and let Canadians chose the system they want, even if it means breaking a promise to do away with first-past-the-post during his first term in office."

Ditto the Ottawa Citizen It's more important to do electoral reform right than to do it quickly
"First, the Liberals need to break the promise that 2015 will be the last first-past-the-post election. Second, they must replace that promise with a new one to pass enabling legislation for a voting system change prior to the 2019 election, but give up on the idea of implementation by that date."

So did you all get the same phone call from Butts?

Who have I missed here? The Sun papers are sticking with their slogan No Referendum, No Reform.  Oh, and the Globe and Mail - nothing from them. I guess their entire interest in electoral reform was exhausted in their Minister Monsef birther scoop.

Not really much use to us alive, are you, legacy media?

The truth is though there is a problem with the ERRE committee. 
Electoral reform advocates and activists remain resolutely positive and, in the spirit of the multi-party nature of the committee, open to whatever form of proportional representation is leading despite individual preferences for one system or another.
But underneath that there is concern.

Despite a mandate to come to a consensus about implementing a new electoral system, at least three of the four Liberals on the committee appear unconvinced electoral reform is even necessary and one is still making up his mind about a referendum. They've had 36 meetings and over a hundred witnesses, yet still take turns repeating bs rightwing Keep It Simple talking points about ballots the size of bedsheets and how complicated it would be for voters to rank several candidates/parties on a ballot instead of just one. 

Committee Liberals also complain that the members of the public who show up to public ERRE meetings are biased in favour of electoral reform. As if people unconcerned about being represented in government are going to make a special trip in to say 'I don't care about this'.

Last word goes to Conservative MP and ERRE member GĂ©rard Deltell, speaking on electoral reform at the Quebec National Assembly on Sept. 27, 2011:
"We have almost 30 months before the next election. We have time to do what all the parties have always urged, that is, a proportional system.'

Monday, October 03, 2016

Does this poll make my electoral ass look big?

Apparently half of NDP voter respondents are either very or somewhat satisfied with our current First Past the Post electoral system - really? - but 71% of them are definitely or probably in favour of a referendum. Does this seem at all likely to you?

On Sept 28 I attended the travelling public Electoral Reform Committee in Vancouver. 
One of the witnesses was Mario Canseco, VP of InsightsWest, who presented the results of his company's Sept 14-16 weighted online survey of 1029 Canadians on electoral reform. The committee was given his brief but since then the questions and data behind the brief have been published online. It is not mentioned who commissioned the poll.
This was the big news at the time to the committee : Overall, nearly two-thirds of poll respondents are very or somewhat satisfied with keeping our electoral system the way it is and 68% definitely/probably want a referendum.

As there was no media present *yet again* at the committee, it's unlikely anyone will take a look at the survey, now being quoted online by referendum and FPtP fans with names like XXX the Deplorable. Here's the data info on the First-Past-the-Post question :
Let's leave aside for the moment whether First-Past-the-Post is accurately described here.
If I understand this data correctly, half of respondents who voted NDP in the 2015 election are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with First-Past-the-Post. How likely is that? Or that 72% of Liberals are? Or that only 9% of Canadians overall are very dissatisfied with a system in which just over half of their votes - 9,106,936 of them - were wasted.

Moving on to what electoral system should replace FPtP for the apparently only 22% of Canadians with any interest in doing so
It seems twice as many Conservatives (26% based on their vote in the 2015 election) are strongly in favour of Party-List PR than are their NDP (11%) and Liberal (12%) counterparts. Who knew? 
Notable that between 20% and 38% in the different categories were unable to give any opinion either positive or negative on the three alternative voting systems presented to them.
Meanwhile a whopping 71% of NDP respondents and 65% of Liberal respondents told the pollsters they are in favour of holding a nationwide referendum :

So how does Insights West recruit these respondents? According to their website, you sign up with their survey panel by email : 
"You can earn between $0.50 to $5 for some surveys, for others you will be entered into sweepstakes draws with chances to win gift cards from a variety of Canadian retailers."

At the ERRE meeting on Wednesday, Mr Canseco said the respondents are not advised ahead of time what survey they will be taking but that after it starts the different voting systems are explained to them. 
Mr Canseco is tweeting his survey online. I have tweeted my questions as to what I interpret as anomalies in his survey back at him but he has yet to respond. If any poll nerds out there can explain them to me, I'll enter your name in the Creekside sweepstakes draw.

The Electoral Reform Committee is running its own e-consultation with Canadians until this Friday at midnight EST. They put a background paper online if you want to brush up first. The survey takes 15 to 30 minutes and can be completed over several sessions if you prefer.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Site C Licence of Occupation

On Sunday Sept. 25, the deadline for public input into BC Hydro's request to log crown land slated for Provincial Park status above the Site C dam will close. 

So why are you only just now hearing about this on a blog? Good question.

According to the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative in an article in, which you probably aren't in the habit of reading on a daily basis :
"On Sept. 1, BC Hydro placed a notice of intent to log the valley, including parts of the Peace-Boudreau, an Old Growth Management Area, at the back of local newspapers. There was no mention of the Site C dam in the advertisement, which gave a deadline for comments of Sept. 25."
Which is interesting because after recently issuing permits via Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans to allow the Site C dam to proceed even as the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nation were challenging the previous government's approval of it in the courts, the Trudeau government told the House of Commons on Tuesday that "it is now up to B.C. Hydro to conduct any further public consultations".

Not sure an ad at the back of local papers that doesn't even name Site C counts as "public consultations" but here's your window of opportunity to tell the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations what you think about :
1) the lack of public consultation in which they have been complicit, and 
2) BC Hydro logging forest and vegetation above the shale and mud landslides built on clay they've already engineered- as amply documented in photos at Laila Yuile's blog.  
I spent much of today submitting this BC Hydro Licence of Occupation info, minus any snarky editorializing, to news media, environmental watchdogs, Site C opponents, and MPs. I haven't heard peep back from any of them so far despite the considerable help of facebookies and twitterati furiously aiming it at expected interested parties. 

Do people living in the Peace even know about it? I don't know. There's a Site C Project website and a twitter feed and I don't see this mentioned on either one.

As Christy Clark rushes to evict ranchers and landowners by Christmas to get the 83-kilometre flood zone "past the point of no return" before the next BC election, in the largest removal of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve in its history, it probably got lost amongst everything else Site C this month :

APTN : Justice Minister Jody Wilson Raybould blames previous government for SiteC

APTN : Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould should resign over SiteC says Treaty 8 chief

CBC : Indigenous Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette breaks with his government over B.C. hydro dam support

DeSmogBlogTrudeau Silent as B.C. First Nations Take Site C Dam Fight to Federal Court

Vancouver Observer : Site C project not in keeping with constitution or UN declaration: Bellegarde

Ricochet : First Nations caravan arrives in Montreal as Site C court challenge begins

The Tyee : BC Hydro: From Public Interest to Private Profits

Disturbing the Peace: The Story of the Site C Dam
Harry Swain, former chair of Joint Review Panel on Site C : "I think we're making a very big mistake."

And finally No Strings Attached for the on-the-ground Site C nitty gritty you won't read anywhere else. 

Don't forget to tell the BC government and BC Hydro what you think about this latest round of "public consultation" and logging land above mudslides before the deadline this coming Sunday.

h/t Mike for the link to the application

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

TPP - the TFW Program on steroids

The Human Resources Committee, HUMA - 6 Libs, 3 Cons, and 1 NDP - released its report on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program yesterday, after a month of hearing from 43 witnesses as varied as Lululemon and the Migrant Mothers Project.

Industry complaints initiated the study. The committee was asked to find a balance between employers desperate for TFWs for jobs they are unable to fill with Canadians and the rights of workers.  

I looked up a few of those desperate employers on various Canadian job search sites. If they're not desperate enough to be advertising these job vacancies where Canadians can find them, why exactly is government in the business of engineering TFWs to fill them? 

Here's just part of the dissenting report submitted by the lone NDP committee member alongside the main report : 

International Mobility Program and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
The previous Conservative government split the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in two – the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which covers streams requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment, and the International Mobility Program (IMP), in which no assessment of the impact on the Canadian labour market is required. 
The IMP is actually much larger than the TFWP (nearly twice the size in 2014), yet the committee review paid no attention to the IMP, the role that the IMP plays in the Canadian economy, and the impact that it has on workers. This is very disappointing. 
This is of particular concern since the Liberal government is looking to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. In addition to harming our economy, this agreement will expand access to the IMP, allowing employers to bring in foreign workers without any assessment of the impact on the Canadian labour market, even if Canadian workers are available to do the job. This has led some to describe the TPP as “the temporary foreign worker program on steroids.”
Back in 2013, 38% of foreign nationals came in under the TFWP, but 62% came in under the IMP

Then there's the ICTs, or Intra-Company Transfers, which Jason Kenney helpfully told us when he was Employment Minister were "often hard-wired into trade deals". 

ICTs "enables international companies with a presence in Canada to transfer their existing employees to their Canadian location".  And if you don't already have a branch in Canada - well, we got an app for that:
"Foreign businesses wishing to establish a Canadian enterprise may use the ICT Start-Up Visa program to bring key workers to the country to open a new office and begin doing business."
Back in June, Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk told a room full of union officials that she plans to toast the day the Liberal government shuts down the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, but in the meantime they've "already quietly made one change, removing restrictions on the number of workers seasonal employers can bring in through the program this year."

Of course all this will be moot if the TPP goes through. 12A :
Canada shall grant temporary entry and provide a work permit or work authorization to Professionals and Technicians and will not:(a) require labour certification tests or other procedures of similar intent as a condition for temporary entry; or(b) impose or maintain any numerical restriction relating to temporary entry.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Conservative voices for electoral reform

Notable because we don't often hear Conservative voices speaking publicly in favour of electoral reform.

Sept 8, 2016. Colin Craig of the Manning Centre interviews President of Canadian Taxpayers Federation Troy Lanigan, on the benefits of proportional representation. Lanigan compares MMP with STV, which both prefer. 

Yesterday ERRE committee members CPC Scott Reid, NDP Nathan Cullen, and GPC Elizabeth May sent a letter to Democratic Institutions Minister Monsef requesting a move towards more concrete models of three different PR systems:
“Canadians will want to know how the various proposals for electoral reform would work and what they would look like in practice.”
They have asked Monsef to relegate some of her $10.7M public awareness budget to produce visual aids like potential ballots and electoral maps for three proposed systems - mixed member proportional representation (MMP), single transferrable vote (STV) and former Elections Canada CEO Jean-Pierre Kingsley's hybrid rural-urban system. 
The committee begins their cross-country road trip, hopefully with these materials in hand, starting next week. 

And no, I don't know why there's no signatory from a Liberal and Bloc committee member on the request for materials to Monsef.

PR proponents have criticized Monsef's cross-country road trip as being too strictly focused on 'values' to the relative exclusion of discussion on different electoral systems -which are more rigorously discussed and debated at MPs' electoral townhalls. 

So now we're going to get into specifics. In the meantime, you can find them at CPAC, in the appendices of FairVoteCanada's submission to ERRE, or Samara 

Happy International Democracy Day. Hoping to get more of it here in Canada.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Electoral Reform Road Trip

Last week IPSOS passed on their rather depressing survey news to the ERRE committee that only 3% of Canadians were following electoral reform at all closely and those 3% were mostly wealthy educated older dudes.

Pretty sure that's going to change in the next few weeks. Here in BC, there's over 30 electoral events - the ones from today on are listed below. 

If you can't make any of these, you can host your own discussion group and make your own submission to the Electoral Reform Committee. FairVoteCanada supports any version of proportional representation and will provide you with materials for your discussion :
**A dialogue can be as small as two or three people getting together for coffee or as big as a community town hall, and anything in between!
**You can also conduct a dialogue at a meeting of an organization you are already involved in.
**The government has provided a list of questions they would like feedback on. All you need to do is discuss the questions in your group, have someone take notes, and submit your report to the committee by Oct. 7.
Or you can attend one of another dozen BC discussion groups FairVote helped organize that aren't on the list below.  

Don't know anything about electoral reform? Don't worry about it - we're all learning. Here's Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, Guy Giorno, on what's really important about it - making every Canadian vote count.

Meanwhile, Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef has already kicked off her cross-country national electoral reform community dialogue tour: 

22 Local electoral reform events in BC from today onwards :

September 7th, 2016 - Federal electoral reform community dialogue tour with Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, 7:00 - 8:30pm, Saturna Island Community Hall, 109 East Point Road, Saturna Island, BC

September 7th, 2016 - Saturna Island Electoral Reform Townhall with MP Elizabeth May, 7:00 - 8:30pm, Saturna Island Community Hall, 109 East Point Road, Saturna Island, BC

September 7th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Town Hall with MP Alistair MacGregor, 6:00 - 7:30, Cowichan Campus Lecture Theatre, 2011 University Way, Duncan, BC, RSVP

September 7th, 2016 - Town Hall in Terrace with MP Nathan Cullen, 7 pm - 9 pm, Terrace Arena Banquet Room, 3320 Kalum St., Terrace, BC

September 7th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Town Hall with MP Gord Johns, 7:00 PM, Parksville Community & Conference Centre, 132 East Jensen Avenue, Parksville, BC.

September 8th, 2016 - Federal electoral reform community dialogue tour with Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, 7:00pm-9:00pm, Kitimat Riverlodge, 654 Columbia Ave West, Kitimat, BC

September 8th, 2016 - Town Hall in Kitimat with MP Nathan Cullen, 7 pm – 9 pm, Kitimat Riverlodge, 654 Columbia Ave West, Kitimat, BC

September 8th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Townhall with MP Gord Johns, 7:00 PM Florence Filberg Centre 411 Anderton Avenue, Courtenay, BC

September 9th, 2016 - Federal electoral reform community dialogue tour with Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef7pm-9pm, Sandman Hotel, Vancouver City Centre Ballroom, 180 West Georgia Street Vancouver, BC

September 9th, 2016 - Town Hall in Smithers, with MP Nathan Cullen, 7 pm - 9 pm, The Old Church, 1st Ave at King St., Smithers, BC

September 10th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Town Hall with MP Rachel Blaney, 1:30 - 4:30 pm, Comox Community Centre, 1855 Noel Avenue, Comox, BC
 - Fair Vote Canada is hosting a town hall on electoral reform with panelists from all political backgrounds, including NDP MP Murray Rankin, former Liberal candidate David Merner, Conservative commentator Bruce Hallsor and Green Party member Adam Olsen. Saturday, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm. Nellie McClung Branch of Greater Victoria Public Library, 3950 Cedar Hill Rd., Victoria, BC. Contact: Mark Jeffers 

September 11th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Townhall with MP Sheila Malcolmson & MP Nathan Cullen, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Doors at 11am. Malaspina Theatre (Building 310) Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth St Nanaimo, BC RSVP

September 12th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Town Hall – Have Your Say in MP Richard Cannings, 7 pm - 9 pm, Penticton library auditorium, 785 Main Street, Penticton, BC
 - Office of Jonathan Wilkinson, MP Electoral Reform Town Hall, Monday , 7 - 9 pm Pipe Shop Building, 15 Wallace Mews Road, North Vancouver, BC. RSVP:

September 12th, 2016 - Mayne Island Town Hall with MP Elizabeth May, MP, 18:30, PDT Mayne Island Community Centre, 493 Felix Jack Road, Mayne Island, BC

September 13th, 2016 - Pender Island Town Hall with MP Elizabeth May, 18:00 PDT, Pender Island Community Hall 4418 Bedwell Harbour Road, Pender Island, BC

September 15, 2016 - Campbell River Town Hall on Electoral Reform with Elizabeth May and Megan Dias from the Centre for Democratic Institutions, University of B.C. 18:30 PDT, Campbell River Museum, 470 Island Highway, Campbell River, BC 

September 16th, 2016 - Salt Spring Island Town Hall with MP Elizabeth May, 18:00 PDT Multi-purpose Room, G.I.S.S. 232 Rainbow Road, Salt Spring Island, BC

September 17th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Town Hall with MP Rachel Blaney, 1:30 - 4:30 pm, Dwight Hall 6274 Walnut St, Powell River, BC

September 18th, 2016 - Dialogue on Electoral Reform from 3:00pm-5:00pm at Creekside Commons, 2201 Lambert Drive, Courtenay, BC

September 24th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Town Hall with MP Rachel Blaney, 1 - 3 pm, Port McNeill Community Hall, 1473 Broughton Blvd, Port McNeill, BC

September 24th, 2016 - Electoral Reform Town Hall with MPs Alistair MacGregor and Randall Garrison, 2:00 - 3:30, Community Commons Belmost School, 3041 Langford Lake Rd., Langford, BC, RSVP

And don't forget the Electoral Committee also wants to hear from individual Canadians via their E-CONSULTATION

If I missed your group or got something wrong, please leave me a correction in comments. Thank you.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Craig Scott's testimony at ERRE #23

Notes from his presentation at the electoral reform committee today because Kady didn't blog this morning's meeting and the ERRE committee is taking about two weeks to post transcriptions. 

Craig Scott - law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, former NDP critic for democratic reform

16 of 31 Liberals voted for MMP/PR electoral reform in the House in December.

MMP is the best of two worlds - local representation and fairness both addressed. 
MMP takes both local and regional candidates more seriously than any other form of PR or FPtP because voters can vote for preferred candidate and party separately. Local candidates vote is based on the candidate's work in their community without worrying about strategic vote. Regional MPs have to look at bigger picture of national issues because we currently have deficit of attention to national vision.

Any PR system would address these FPtP faults : 
~false majorities result in less diversity of opinion, 
~some regions unrepresented in Parl, ie NDP swept 80 seats in Quebec in 2011 with 40% of vote.
~exacerbates regionalism, ie Alberta IS Conservative
~feeds into unduly executive-dominated Westminster system of parliament via false majorities
~ silo-vision re legislation, rather than have to encounter different points of view
~tends away from consensus and collegiality and towards adversarialism and hyper-partisanship and organizing for next election.

Alternative Vote is ranked ballot within single member districts, and is in Liberal Party Policy Book.
Nothing in AV counteracts FPtP problems and it exacerbates disproportionality.
If last election had been under AV, Eric Grenier says 224 Libs would have attained seats instead of 185 seats under current system.
AV does not fulfill committee mandate of making every vote count because it never gets to counting the second candidates after the first round.

Compromise to get to multiple goals is to use the Jenkins Model of MMP allowing ranked voting on the local election side only or STV model with more local attention.

Naysayers are saying this committee is set up to be a "noble failure" due to deadlock impasse. This committee is formed the way proportional representation committees will be formed in the future. You guys can be proof that a system like this can work. 

End of notes from Scott.

I'm rather alarmed to learn from the IPSOS poll discussed at yesterday's meeting that only 3% of Canadians are following the issue of electoral reform at all closely - older, more educated, affluent males - and that only one in five Canadians are aware of it at all. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dear Postmedia Editorial Board

This : 
is not an adequate response or apology for what was previously published in that same space by the Postmedia Editorial Board on August 24th : "[Elizabeth] May must renounce anti-Israel resolutions". Excerpted :

You are not RebelMedia. 
You are not some partisan advocacy organization that can pass off the blame for this appalling libelous attack on some hapless newbie book reviewer - although I notice you share with them the phrase "figleaf of Jewishness". 
No, you are the editorial board of Vancouver's largest newspaper. Shame on you for stating Independent Jewish Voices supports terrorism and denies the Holocaust.

IJV Statement On Canadian Media Giant Libeling Us

Corey Levine : Why I Asked The Green Party To Challenge The JNF's Charitable Status

The only upside to this ridiculous op-ed is the thorough drubbing you received in comments below it. First five comments, excerpted :
"As a former journalist and chair of Langara's journalism program, I'm shocked by the degree of distortion in this editorial."
"This editorial is preposterous!"
"What a very sad editorial, full of errors and inaccuracies and probably conscious lies."
"This 'editorial' is purposely disingenuous."
"This editorial could have been written by the Likud party."

Your op-ed also condemned a resolution sponsored by Elizabeth May and 28 other Greens calling for Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund, the largest private landowner in Israel. JNF has used its tax-deductible status in Canada to build and maintain the infamous “Canada Park” on the ruins of three Palestinian villages.  As you note in your correction, at the convention the language was watered down to call for any charitable organization's status to be revoked if they are in violation of Canadian or international law. 

In 2014 Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey was Honorary Chair of the Jewish National Fund's annual Negev Gala.  
Elizabeth May has attended their galas in the past and consulted with JNF CEO Josh Cooper prior to the Green Party convention vote.

The offending op-ed, now taken down, published in the Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen :

In February, the House of Commons passed a motion 229-to-51 condemning any actions by Canadian groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement. IJV was the first national Jewish organization globally to support the non-violent BDS movement; the Green Party is the first national party in Canada to follow suit. Bravo to you both.

h/t  Waterbaby

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