Fair Vote Canada Predicts Election Outcome

Fair Vote Canada
Although the writ has barely dropped, Fair Vote Canada figures it’s not too soon to announce the results of the coming federal election.

The President of Fair Vote Canada, Bronwen Bruch says, “Our dysfunctional voting system throws up erratic and irrational results,” says “but some outcomes are sadly predictable.”

So, Fair Vote confidently predicts the following:

· Most Canadians will be “represented” in Parliament by somebody they voted against. Under the current, winner-take-all system, votes for losing candidates do not help to elect anybody and are essentially wasted votes.

· Canada will elect less than 25% women to Parliament. That’s about as good as it gets with our voting system. Fifty countries do better than we do in this regard, most of them using proportional voting systems. Every democracy with at least 30% women in its legislature uses a proportional voting system.

  • The Conservatives will win every seat in Alberta, or all but one, with about 65% of the votes.
  • The Liberals will win almost all the seats in Canada’s major cities, with about half the votes.
  • The NDP will get one million more votes than the Bloc Quebecois, but the BQ will win almost twice as many seats.
  • The Bloc Quebecois will win two-thirds of the seats in Quebec with half the votes. 
  • The Green Party will get one million votes (enough to elect 25 Conservatives) but will not win any seats.

· Voter turnout will be the lowest in history, or close to it. When your vote doesn’t make a difference, why bother? Unprecedented amounts of negative campaign advertising will deliberately foster apathy and cynicism.

Our antique voting system is not really competitive, Two-thirds of Canadian voters already know who will be elected in their riding, before the votes are even cast. Really, it’s a tribute to Canadians’ sense of civic duty that any of us bother to vote at all


Off to the Races

Just watched the Harper Government fall. I have been waiting for months. We are off to the races and I have high hopes about what might happen.

Despite what the polls might say. I think this race is Michael Ignatieff's to lose. An election will be Canada's first chance to see him working on his feet. Best of luck to him.

Harper it seems will try and ignore his failure as a government and he will run on the economy and against the so called coalition. Pretty thin in my view. He claims Canadians don't want an election. I think he is wrong.

Some advice for Jack Layton. Stop pretending that you are going to be elected as Prime Minister. You and I and all of us know it isn't going to happen. The New Democrats can provide a strong voice from the left. A strong voice for humanity. Your role is to provide leadership on that front. Stop pretending.

Harper thinks there is a coalition and that coalition brought him down. We all know that is bull.  Arrogance  caused his government to self destruct.

So campaign as hard as possible but when it is all said and done if Harper is back with the support of 37% of Canadians. There are options. Use them.

Vision, or the Lack Thereof

I am not writing this, as just another opportunity to slag Stephen Harper, although I generally don't have a problem with doing that. What bothers me is that, on the eve of an election being called, neither Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Giles Duceppe, Jack Layton nor Elizabeth May are offering us any real vision for our country.

We have a new "stay the course" budget from Harper without a bold new initiative in sight. Sadly, I don't expect much more from any of the political parties as the campaign goes forward. Oh sure, they'll promise to tweak this and tweak that, to be more open and to rebuild Canada's proper role in things international. But what else?

We expect a campaign of slogans not substance. They will argue about who has been more bereft of principle, the Conservatives, the Liberals, the separatists or those socialist NDP. We'll argue about tough on crime agendas, accountability, fighter jets, arctic sovereignty and dirty oil. You can bet no will talk about the gun registry. Get ready for a campaign full of attack ads but lacking any plan which would plot a course showing how we will move forward, as a country.

My Canada cares about people, not slogans.

A Vision the Cares About People

I was taken by a story I read this morning in the Globe & Mail about the fact that in Denmark, seniors are entitled to free home care, around the clock if necessary. The basic service includes help with shopping, and cleaning but in addition, anyone 75 and older is entitled to an annual home assessment to determine if additional care might be needed. The Danes do this because they believe "It gives the elderly better well-being and healthier lives." The added result is increased life expectancy and fewer admissions to hospital and nursing homes.

My brother recently suffered from a health issue while visiting France. They were in a small village without any real medical facilities. After a call to the nearest hospital to seek advice a doctor quickly turned up at the house they were renting. He diagnosed the problem and prescribed medication.

He explained that it was better to have a few roving doctors treating patients in their homes than it was to overcrowd emergency facilities. His charge was modest and he went on his way and the medication took care of the problem in a few days..

A Canadian I know of who lives in Italy was recently visited by his father who became quite ill while he was there. So ill in fact, that he was hospitalized for three or four days.

When it came time to leave the hospital the expat asked how much they owed for his father's care. The response was "You owe us nothing." Questioned about how that was possible the hospital administration replied, "What kind of country would we be if we charged a visitor to our country for care he would have received free had he lived here."

Those my friends, are examples of vision at work.

What about Infrastructure?

I also noticed a story about the Gotthard Base Tunnel being built by the Swiss. Begun in 1996, the tunnel will be 57 km long, and will be the world's longest rail tunnel. It should become operational at the end of 2016. It's twin track will run between Switzerland and Germany and will accommodate both freight and high speed passenger trains.

Remember the Chunnel?
I got thinking about big projects on the go here in Canada and I couldn't think of any. Aren't we lucky Stephen Harper wasn't Prime Minister when we needed a national railway coast to coast or when we needed the St Laurence Seaway.

We have to ask how our government can boast about being so economically responsible while our infrastructure is crumbling. Everyone's focus is on reducing taxes and we are passing on the infrastructure problems to our children and grandchildren to pay for.

They have no vision.


Conservative Budgets out this Week

We are right in the middle of budget season. Both the Feds and the Saskatchewan government tabled their budgets this week.

I am quite taken by the fact that the media, particularly the CBC, is spending so much time and energy slicing and dicing the Harper Government's new offering, talking about what kind of impact it will have considering the fact that it hasn't a hope of going forward. The government will fall this week. No question.

If Harper wins another minority or, perish the thought a majority it will present a much different budget, you can depend on it.

What analysis I have heard sees the Federal offering as a kind of stay the course budget anyway. Pretty dull stuff. Not much to run on which will capture the hearts of Canadians except for a $75.00 rebate if you send your kids to music lessons. Pretty thin, I'd say.

I am always amazed at how the pundits continue to ignore the growing infrastructure crisis in Canada while praising corporate tax cuts.  It is a simple math economists don't seem to get. Pay less and promise more, Conservative economic policies don't work.

Here in Saskatchewan it is pretty much the same. The Saskatchewan party got elected at precisely the right time and the province is said to be booming so, these guys had a pretty good four years. Frankly I think it would have taken an idiot to fail in this economic climate. Brad has a few of those and still managed to come out smelling like a rose.

There really isn't too much worth commenting on but, I did like the following quote in the Leader Post obviously taken word for word from the press release "The provincial Budget released on Wednesday stated it will give beer off-sales retailers an extra $5.1 million to help remain strong contributors to the community"

I can't figure out how that works but it will certainly keep their small business supporters happy.


Regime Change

Ready, Set, Go
Everyone is doing it so Canada, don't miss this opportunity. The chance doesn't come often enough.

The "Harper Government" is set for a fall and although all the chatter is about the rejection of the budget, it isn't that at all. This government is going down over integrity, dogma, secrecy, lying, bullying, lack of vision, partisanship and corruption.

I wish I'd made a list. I know it would be as long as my arm but I am as bad as everyone else. I move from issue to issue forgetting fairly quickly what annoyed me last week as a new clumsy misstep grabs our attention.

We do remember a few like:
  • Agriculture Minister Gerry "The Ritz Cracker" joking over listeria deaths.
  • The stonewalling over Canadian soldiers turning over Afghans to be tortured.
  • Using the unelected Conservative majority in the Senate to defeat a bill after it was approved by Parliament.
  • The unbridled use of Republican style attack ads to attack the leader of the Liberal.
  • The prorogation of Parliament by Harper in an attempt to save his own skin.
  • The insertion of the word "not" into a document which it seems was approved by the minister in order to reverse that decision.
  • Using Parliamentary staff and budgets to raise funds for the Conservative Party
  • Ignore the law over election spending
Under Stephen Harper's leadership the Conservatives pandered to the anti gun control lobby, shunned climate change research and supported dirty oil and held fast to the view that lower corporate tax rates will solve our economic issues. They are soft of humanitarian aid,  overtly militaristic, most of their elected members are little more than mouthpieces for the Prime Minister's Office.

So this is our chance to make a real change. What do we want instead?
  • Well, what if we had a Prime Minister who believed in and supported our arts and culture a  leader who saw the value of investing our tax dollars to support our writers, our poets, our artists and musicians instead of   and business, business and more business. Sorry, a $75.00 tax write-off for music lessons doesn't cut it.
  • What if we had a Prime Minister who understood that poverty, homelessness, desperation and crime are all pretty much part of the same equation. Some one who was prepared to roll up his sleeves and work to solve those problems instead of just putting those who fall through the cracks in jail.
  • What if we had a Prime Minister who believed that Canada should be a world leader in education and research?
  • What if we had a Prime Minister who valued democracy, human rights and transparency, who was prepared to fix our broken electoral system, who believed in and supported out public broadcaster, who really believed in a Canadian style healthcare system.
What if? 
What if? 
What if?
What if we could believe any of the leaders in the running would bring us all that? They won't but getting rid of Harper would at least be a start.

If we can believe the Globe and Mail poll most Canadians want an election and I'm looking forward it. Anything that would put my MP, Tom  Lukiwski into the opposition back benches would be a positive thing.


Weighing in on the DST Debate

I was in Quebec a week or so ago when North America moved to Daylight Savings Time. In fact it was when most of the world moved to Daylight Savings Time, most of the world except for where I normally hang my hat – Saskatchewan.

Here in the, easy to draw hard to spell province, DST, or lack of compliance to the doctrine, is a big issue. Nothing will get some old codger quite so riled up as the thought of moving clocks forward, or back an hour, in the spring and fall.

When the Saskatchewan Party, defeated the New Democrats – not exactly a bunch which embrace a new idea themselves - they said the people should decide, and promised a referendum on the issue. Last week I was wondering what happened to that vote?

It seems that the Junior Minister of Time, Darryl Hickey decided that most people in the province don’t want DST so he decided to scrap the idea of a vote on the issue. Hickey is the intellectually challenged minister from Prince Albert who ran in the last election on a platform of “A vote for Darryl Hickey is a vote to keep the mill open” all this when his own party’s platform was to let the Prince Albert mill die. One of the Saskatchewan Party’s first acts after getting elected was to scrap the deal the NDP had made to try and re-open the mill. Perhaps the fact he got elected says more about the intelligence of Prince Albert voters than it says about Hickey’s ethics.

In any case, had known Hickey was in charge I would have given up all hope we’d spring forward long ago.

I will admit though, it is a divisive issue here on the flatland. The opposition mainly comes from people who have the flexibility to control when they do what, unencumbered by set work scheduled, older rural folks. They used to argue that all this change would confuse the farm animals feeding schedule. I never quite figured that one out.

Now the luddite’s rallying cry seems to be “We are already on Daylight Savings Time. No need to change”.

I for one miss being able to comfortably sit outside long into the evening. It gets cool here on the prairies once the sun goes down. Believe me when you spend what seems like half your life in the deep freeze, you want to savour every minute of a warm sunny evening.

And then let’s not forget the mornings. Without shifting the clocks sunrise comes pretty early. That is fine, who doesn’t like a long day but when the birds start their raucous chatter on the trees just outside my bedroom window at about 4:30, I’d like just a bit more sleep.


The Minister of Weasel Words

We could hardly call Bev Oda forthcoming. With steps that would Ginger Rogers envious we have watched Oda danced around the issue for weeks now. In fact. it took the Minister of International Cooperation, 14 weeks to finally tell a Commons committee who altered the infamous memo denying $7-million of funding to human rights group Kairos. The New Democrts call her The Minister of Weasel words" and subjected her to some very tough grilling about the whole matter.

It looked like her actions might bring the government down but "tough on crime" beat her to it. The Parliamentary Committee looking into the the lack of transparency around that issue has found the Government in contempt of Parliament earlier today. 

Unless the big talkers chicken out again, we just may be on our way to the polls by the end of the week.
If you are following the Oda story though, the Hill Times takes a good look at the "not" scandal in this week's edition.