1.24.2006

slim minority

So. Here we are.

Whether it be what we feared or what we hoped for, the outcome is mostly what we expected. The Conservatives have a minority government, and Stephen Harper is the new Prime Minister of Canada. For Americans (or other non-Canadians) who may not have seen it, here are the totals:
Party - Seats - Popular Vote
Conservatives - 124 - 36.25%
Liberals - 103 - 30.22%
Bloc Quebecois - 51 - 10.48%
New Democrats - 29 - 17.49%
Independent - 1 - .52%
When we first moved here, Stephen Harper was an embarrassment. It seemed clear the Conservatives wouldn't form a government as long as he was the party leader - which shows the limits of appearance and punditry. Now it remains to be seen if the old, scary Harper will crawl out of the remade, centrist, big-tent Harper. I imagine the Conservatives are thinking long-term, and will take it slow.

Considering the Liberals ran a terrible campaign, always on the defensive and in damage-control mode, and considering the giant suitcase labeled SCANDAL they were lugging around, they won an awful lot of seats. In my view, this speaks of both the rejection of the Conservative Party by a substantial number of Canadians, and a general satisfaction with the status quo. Because, scandals aside, the Liberals didn't leave much to complain about.

The forward movement of the NDP is exciting. They increased their seats from 19 to 29, and I'm eager to see how they do in the Harper Parliament.

My own riding of Mississauga South returned its Liberal MP to Ottawa, as did the rest of Mississauga - and indeed, most of the GTA. I'll remember this next time I hear snarky comments about "the 905s". The suburban 905s are more conservative than the urban 416s, to be sure, but give me a break, it's not Alberta.

One thing I noticed last night was that the urban vs. rural divide that runs so deep in the US (contrary to red state vs blue state cliche, this is the real divide) is very much present in Canada, too. British Columbia is a perfect example of that, voting like a conservative western state in most ridings, and voting like a progressive urban enclave in Vancouver. All the Conservative gains in Quebec were in rural Quebec, not in Montreal. Indeed, the Conservative seat-count in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver combined comes to a grand total of zero.

I really enjoyed the CBC coverage last night. Trying to conform (wink, wink), we watched Rick Mercer first. I'll probably never understand why this guy is so popular for saying what we all already know. (In between Rick Mercer and election coverage we switched over to CTV for "Corner Gas," and finally caught the Ukrainian Dancing episode!)

Anyway, I really appreciated the CBC coverage, and if you've ever watched election returns on a US network, you know why. CBC was serious without being somber, entertaining without being ridiculous, offered good commentary, and always, always: context. Personally, I could do without the George Stroumboulopoulos reach-younger-viewers segment, but at least it's not filmed sideways with jump-cuts like a wannabe music video.

One more observation, and one question.

Before I began researching moving to Canada, I thought the Canadian Parliament had proportional representation. I'm not referring to representation by population, as in the US House of Representatives, where states with higher populations have more representatives. (When I asked about proportional representation, this is what people generally thought I meant.) I'm referring to the system used by several European parliaments, where seats are distributed according to the actual percentage of popular vote, as opposed to the first-past-the-post riding-by-riding system.

Under a proportional system, if the NDP won, say, 33% of the overall popular vote, they would hold 33% of the seats. This encourages the building of smaller parties, and the existence of more parties, thus more voices, in the system. I'd like to see that here.

[Late addition: Proportional representation also encourages greater participation in the system, and discourages strategic voting. Now, if you are the minority in your riding or district, your vote will almost never "count" - it will always disappear into the majority. But if you knew your vote would join together with others like yours all over the country, you would be more likely to vote, and vote your conscience.]

My question is a simple one, but one that confounded Allan and I last night. What does it mean to say a party "holds the balance of power"? There was much discussion last night over whether or not the New Democrats do indeed have that. But we couldn't quite figure out what it means.

Last night, I was thinking of wmtc's great friend Wrye, who worked a long day running a polling station in Vancouver. Days like that are exhausting and exhilarating. It's exciting to see democracy up-close and personal. The people have spoken. At least here in Canada, we know what they said. (Paper ballots rock.)

93 comments:

Scott M. said...

Ahh... the elusive "Balance of Power".

In our parliment, a simple majority is required in order to pass a piece of legislation, and the speaker does not vote (except in a tie). There are 308 seats in the house, so, if everyone shows up there is no possibility of a tie.

The "balance of power" refers to the number of seats that must be added to the minority government's total to achieve that majority. In other words, if the Conservatives plus the NDP equalled 154 (assuming incumbent Liberal Peter Milliken returns as speaker), the two parties could pass any legislation they agree on (and could form a quasi-coalition).

As the NDP only achieved 29 seats, they are short of the required amount to prop up the Conservatives. As such, they have a substantially reduced power in the government and the Conservatives are less likely to court them for ideas.

ALPF said...

Unless Belinda Stronach crosses the floor again to become and NDP MP?
124+30!!!

Wow what a long night for me on the air. CBC??? L-Girl didn't you flip over at least once to see your friend ALPF's work? You could have seen the back of my head from 7:30 until 8:00 during our live pre-show.

Actually I started getting all the East Coast numbers at 7:00 our time (which I had to make sure never made it to air) and there were several "partisan pundits" who were brought in for a panel discussion standing over my shoulders. They were screaming at the results like they were watching a football game or something.

Did see that Hamilton went all NDP!!

2 years and wee will be doing it all again.

Take Care

L-girl said...

Unless Belinda Stronach crosses the floor again to become and NDP MP?

LOL

CBC??? L-Girl didn't you flip over at least once to see your friend ALPF's work?

Um, sure, yes, well, um, no, not really, oops, sorry.

I would have liked to have seen the back of your head! I'm sure I would know it anywhere.

Did see that Hamilton went all NDP!!

Way cool.

2 years and wee will be doing it all again.

Good. Let's hope for better results.

Scott M: thanks. It still doesn't make complete sense to me. In a minority govt, any party could hold the balance of power. No?

Wrye said...

Scott has it. Another useful term (though not much used in Canada) is coalition partner; and I'd say that without being a coalition partner, no party will really hold the balance of power in the sense of being able to steer the government (i.e., do as we say, or we'll topple you). The BQ has the numbers to hold the balance, but as they aren't likely to be partnering up with the Cons in any formal way, I'm sure.

L-girl said...

Wrye, what are you doing up so early? You had to go to work this morning?? Ugh.

Masnick96 said...

It was exciting to watch the results on C-Span...it felt like we were in Canada watching them :-)

I know that the NDP want proportional representation brought up in Parliament, if Harper is serious about electoral reform maybe we will see it happen...

RobfromAlberta said...

Ok, I'll admit it. I totally underestimated Ontario. I figured they would run and hide from the scary Conservatives (and true to form, Toronto did), so 40 seats in Ontario is surprising. Having said that, this could be the shortest-lived minority government in history. The Liberals cannot allow Canadains to become comfortable with a Conservative government because they will lose the only effective weapon in their arsenal, the threat of a socon agenda. Also, the BQ cannot allow the Conservatives an opportunity to build on their success. The CPC was first or second in nearly 50 ridings in Quebec with almost no network of grassroots supporters. Given time to build up their base, the Conservatives could conceivably become the major party in the province. I don't see that as likely, but I was stunned to see them win 10 seats, so what do I know? In any case, the BQ hold the balance of power and have major incentive to bring down the Tories as soon as possible.

L-girl said...

I figured they would run and hide from the scary Conservatives (and true to form, Toronto did),

They didn't run and hide. They voted for their choice. They voted against who they don't believe in. Rob, your party won last night, and you are still complaining!

this could be the shortest-lived minority government in history. The Liberals cannot allow Canadains to become comfortable with a Conservative government because they will lose the only effective weapon in their arsenal, the threat of a socon agenda.

Rob, you really surprise me. I didn't take you for a sore winner.

I thought the one good thing about Harper winning would be not having to listen to Alberta complaining anymore. Apparently I underestimated their ability to whine.

Wouldn't the shortest govt in Canadian history be Kim Campbell? Was there one shorter?

Wrye said...

Yup, 6AM shifts all this week. Kill me.

No, I think you can relax, Rob...The Liberals will have no interest in pulling the plug before they have a new leader. The BQ are also likely to suffer if they pull the plug, and they already show symptoms of withering. Quebecois get just as annoyed at unnecessary elections as the rest of us, and they will punish even the BQ for it. What's more likely is for the BQ to try and get concessions out of the Cons. The phrase "structural reforms with exemptions for Quebec" has been tossed around online. The NDP will likely again try to paint themselves as the party of grown-ups and the last champions of federalism. So Harper will, I think get a chance to run with the ball and bring down at least one budget.

No, I think an election in the next 12 months is unlikely--what's just as likely in that time is Harper calling a snap election if he sees the new Liberal leader as weak or beatable. Which may well be the case, depending on who wins...

RobfromAlberta said...

Wouldn't the shortest govt in Canadian history be Kim Campbell? Was there one shorter?

Kim Campbell wasn't leading a minority government, she took over the leadership of her party a few months before an election after Brian Mulroney stepped down. I expect this government to last only until its first budget.

Rob, your party won last night, and you are still complaining!

The Conservatives only won in a purely technical sense of the word. They will be unable to table any legislation at all, so in no real sense have they won the election. Personally, I would have preferred a weak Liberal minority to a weak Conservative minority.

Lone Primate said...

No, I think an election in the next 12 months is unlikely--what's just as likely in that time is Harper calling a snap election if he sees the new Liberal leader as weak or beatable. Which may well be the case, depending on who wins...

Unless Harper REALLY impresses the country and flabbergasts the Opposition enough to follow his lead, AND the Grits pick someone still closely identified with Chretien and/or Martin, I doubt he'll try this. He has the governemnt now; he's the one who's got something to lose. A friend of mine suggested Frank McKenna might get the Liberal nod. He's a little too pro-Washington for my tastes, but he's an outsider, best known as the former premier of New Brunswick who followed Richard Hatfield, a Tory so corrupt that the Grits swept every seat in the provincial legislature -- a result of a nature not altogether unusual with the Tories, who yet have the gall to ceaselessly lecture the rest of us about ethics...

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

I'd say at least 12 months. As wyre said, you have to wait at for the Liberals to go through a leadership campaign.

All of which will give time for the Conservatives to shore up power. I think the only ones who are really concerned would be the Bloc.

I'm not sure if you know L-girl, but the bloc was one of those parties created out of the old conservatives. They have the most to fear of the new inroads by the conservatives into Quebec. If Quebec swings back into the Conservative fold, it would be a major, major change as it would
a) Kill the seperatist movement
b) Shift the conservative party to the solid centre (like the Liberals)
c) Significantly reduce the influence of Ontario as kingmaker that it's enjoyed for the past 12 years or so.

I think politics in Canada just got more interesting.

I'll admit I voted NDP. I couldn't stand either the Liberal or Conservative candidates in my riding.

Lone Primate said...

You know, the more I think about it, the more I like it. It's karma, don't you think? After all that time scheming and pontificating and hounding Martin, now it's Harper who's going to have to sit up nights, counting Commons beans, trading tit for tat, cobbling deals and offering everyone else the sweat of HIS nuts just to hold onto a little dignity and to keep his furniture in 24 Sussex Drive for one more day. This is what he's been dishing out for a year and half; now it's his turn to eat a big bowl of it and call it ice cream. May he enjoy the headache; he's certainly earned it.

RobfromAlberta said...

The big positive for me are the Quebec results. I was looking at 3 seats maximum. Yet, the Cons won 10 and were legitimate contenders in a dozen more. Combine that with modest gains in Atlantic Canada and you have the potential in the future for the CPC to win a majority without any help from Toronto. If that ever happens, I will truly be content.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

The Conservatives only won in a purely technical sense of the word. They will be unable to table any legislation at all, so in no real sense have they won the election. Personally, I would have preferred a weak Liberal minority to a weak Conservative minority.

If I were a conservative, I'd be pleased with this. It's very much a message that Ontario is willing to give a trial marriage with the Conservatives a chance. If they don't blow it (i.e. they prove they aren't the bogey-man), the Conservatives could tranform this into a majority in the next election.

You don't understand the picture here in Ontario. In Alberta, the mere word "liberal" is enough to generate intense hatred. In Ontario though, people are quite tired of the Liberals, but they have serious reservations that the Conservative party is merely the Canadian chapter of the GOP. Your party now has the chance to prove we can trust it, which it couldn't do in opposition.

Lone Primate said...

If Quebec swings back into the Conservative fold, it would be a major, major change as it would
a) Kill the seperatist movement


Nothing will ever kill the separatist movement, Kyle. Ever, ever, ever. It's a facet of politics in Quebec. There's a sincere kernel that really does want to quit Canada, because they're rural and 'distinct' and afraid of the strangers beyond the "pure wool" of their cozy small towns; 17th century France with automobiles and cell phones. And then there are the soft sovereigntist, who don't so much want out of Canada as they want everything they can blackmail out of the rest of us. Essentially, to be a big, beautiful singer in the world spotlight, with a fat WASP sugar-daddy sitting in the audience and paying the bills. That's been a fact of life in Canada since the 1960s; do not ever expect to see it change in your lifetime so long as Quebec remains in the federation.

Significantly reduce the influence of Ontario as kingmaker that it's enjoyed for the past 12 years or so.

You live a little too far east to swallow that guff, Kyle; come on. Ontario was never the kingmaker. It's simply a large lump of five or six different regions that all might just as well be provinces in their own right; they vote in different ways with a lot less of an eye to ideology and more a one to practicalities than most of the rest of Canada (though I'll grant you, Toronto's a likely exception to what I just said... on its own, it would be as monolithic a province, as, ohhh, I dunno, what... sayyyy... Alberta. No, wait; we actually elected TWO parties in Toronto. Never mind). But Ontario is diverse enough that it tends to break down along party lines almost in mirror of Canada's results nationwide. Have a look at the results. Anyone who counts on Ontario voting to elect them, when they have no notable support elsewhere in Canada, is bound to be disappointed. Ontario is not Alberta. If you're looking for a kingmaker, you're looking for Quebec or Alberta. Not Ontario, despite the size of its constituency.

RobfromAlberta said...

It's very much a message that Ontario is willing to give a trial marriage with the Conservatives a chance.

In the first glow, it appears that way, but in the cold hard light of post-election analysis, a scandal-ridden Liberal party ran one of the worst election campaigns in the modern history of Canadian politics and still won Ontario. I just don't see that much to build on. The Conservatives may win a majority in the future, but I think it's safe to say that Quebec, not Ontario, is going to push them over the top.

Lone Primate said...

The Conservatives may win a majority in the future, but I think it's safe to say that Quebec, not Ontario, is going to push them over the top.

Ohhhh, gooood. Move over, Brian Mulroney; it's 'Sell Canada Down the River to Quebec to Shore Up Tory Fortunes Time' again. I can't wait for the first utterance of the word "amend"...

sharonapple said...

I know that the NDP want proportional representation brought up in Parliament, if Harper is serious about electoral reform maybe we will see it happen...

I'm not sure I'm for this. It would benefit the NDP, but there are some really strange parties on the Canadian scene that might then get seats. For instance, I wouldn't be comfortable with the Christian Heritage Party in Parliment.

Still, if there was proportional representation -- what would happen to the candidates and ridings. I like the fact that in our current system we get to know our member of Parliment. A good candidate in a riding can trump national popularity of a party, as seen in the last election. And this a good thing since it eliminates a few yellow-dog candidates -- ie. someone you vote for strictly for the party but who is really worthless (can be used in the phrase, "I'd vote for a yellow-dog if they ran for the Republican party.")

Ohhhh, gooood. Move over, Brian Mulroney; it's 'Sell Canada Down the River to Quebec to Shore Up Tory Fortunes Time' again. I can't wait for the first utterance of the word "amend"...

Well, he's been using "spend" a lot -- as in righting the "fiscal imbalance." What's interesting is that when questioned about the fact that daycare in Toronto depends on federal money, Harper said this, "I'm not responsible for the City of Toronto budget ... The agreements the federal government signed are only guaranteed funding for one year."

Hey, Toronto pumps 6.6 billion dollars to the federal government that it doesn't get back. I guess it's only a "fiscal imbalance" if it happens outside of the Toronto area.

(I'm not for righting the "fiscal imbalance." Areas with more money should help out those with less, if only so that they don't fall below a certain level. I don't like the position Harper's taking on this.)

Granny said...

I didn't watch the whole process but I certainly kept up with the results.

I'm learning as I go.

I was quite taken with your comments about the inept campaign. We Dems do that every election. Snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory.

Is it a progressive thing, I wonder?

James said...

I think, overall, it's not a bad result. The Liberals got spanked for not keeping their noses clean, but we didn't just hand the country over to the Tories who are either (a) the descendants of Mulroney's Conservatives or (b) completely untried, depending on your point of view.

L-Girl, did you go down to the polling station? We were curious as to what you'd've thought of the process as practiced up here, compared to the US.

Our voting outing went as follows:

- Five-minute walk to the polling station, an auditorium on the Ryerson campus
- Handed our voter registration cards to the first person we saw
- He directed us to "Station 95", which was a small table staffed by two people, with anothyer small table behind which had a "voting booth" on it -- a cardboard shield big enough to give you a little privacy when marking your ballot
- The folks at the table took our voter reg cards, cross our names off in the voter reg book, and gave us each a folded-up ballot. The instructions were: "Mark an X in the circle next to the name of your candidate, then fold it back up and hand it back to me with the number showing. I'll tear the number off and give it back, then you can put it in the ballot box."
- So we did just that, then walked home

Total time: about 15 minutes, and nothing more fallible than a pencil to worry about.

Lone Primate said...

Wow, they've noticed us. Check it out... BBC NEWS Have Your Say: Canadian elections...

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

In the first glow, it appears that way, but in the cold hard light of post-election analysis, a scandal-ridden Liberal party ran one of the worst election campaigns in the modern history of Canadian politics and still won Ontario. I just don't see that much to build on.

I don't know about that. I mean, a lot of people I talk to didn't know who they were going to vote for until the last minute.

Then again, as I said before I think I prefer minority governments. Until PR or something equivalent comes along, its the closest thing we have to a truly representative parliament.

Kyahgirl said...

A great thread as always.
I'm happy to see the NDP made some progress and glad that the Conservatives are going to have to struggle with a minority government...I ha had a good chuckle when I read this, I think lone-primate said it perfectly here:
now it's Harper who's going to have to sit up nights, counting Commons beans, trading tit for tat, cobbling deals and offering everyone else the sweat of HIS nuts just to hold onto a little dignity and to keep his furniture in 24 Sussex Drive for one more day.

Interesting days are coming in Canadian politics.

L-girl said...

Is it a progressive thing, I wonder?

Not here. The progressives here are the NDP - and they are shrewd and smart.

I'm not really around - will catch up on comments later today.

Trevor said...

If Quebec swings back into the Conservative fold, it would be a major, major change as it would
a) Kill the seperatist movement

Nothing will ever kill the separatist movement, Kyle. Ever, ever, ever.


This is sadly true --- although I think the sight of a half-drunk and shiny Jacques Parizeau blaming "Money and the Ethnic Vote" after the referendum in 1995 that just barely voted for staying in Canada scared a generation of moderate Quebecers into never dabbling in that again. So it'll always be an issue but will never happen. And I think after yesterday, Albertan rumblings of wanting to leave will be quiet, if they were ever serious. If separatism is a concern anywhere, it's Newfoundland -- they still can remember not being a province and would leave in heartbeat, if they could generate enough oil and gas income for its small population. Some of them still believe they didn't vote for Confederation in the first place in 1949 and that the British shafted them.

Re: Frank McKenna. As a NBer, I would like to see Frank get a shot at being prime minister. I didn't necessarily agree with everything he did in NB, but there was tough economic medecine to be taken and he made the pain as short-term as possible -- and unlike many politicians, he said he'd stick around for 10 years, and when the deadline came he quit while still wildly popular (unlike flying the plane into the ground like Mulroney, for instance -- or perhaps packing your chute before handing the controls to Kim Campbell, like Mulroney, for a clearer example). I would argue that he's not pro-Washington any more than any Canadian businessman is -- the reality is the US is the largest market for everything we have at this point, therefore you need to connect with your clients. As US Ambassador, he's actually been far more combative than most. And he is an outsider -- no taint of AdScam on him.

Lone Primate said...

Steve Harper. Neocon. A career barely alive.

Gentlemen, we can rebrand him. We have the philosophy. We have the capability to spin the world's first Liberal Conservative.

Steve Harper will be that man.

Nicer than he was before.

Nicer... gentler... kinder.

THE SIX MILLION VOTE MAN
(give or take)

Lone Primate said...

We know what they said in the US. You just don't like the results.

I got news for you, buddy.

97.5% of humanity didn't like the results.

The 2.5% who did -- half the United States, and, I suppose, Margaret Thatcher, Osama Bin Laden, et al. -- would be entirely welcome to their "results" if they'd just keep them to themselves.

Lone Primate said...

"Money and the Ethnic Vote"

Yeah... man, if I had a band in Montreal, I would so call it that. :D

Some of them still believe they didn't vote for Confederation in the first place in 1949 and that the British shafted them.

Mm hmm, yeah. If the Rock was such a Peach, why would the Brits "shaft" the place? I don't see them "shafting" Bermuda, do you? Just a point of contention the next time somebody brings it up. The Brits desperately wanted RID of the place. They should thank their lucky cod tongues there was somebody who WANTED them.

the reality is the US is the largest market for everything we have at this point, therefore you need to connect with your clients.

Yeah, but "connecting" shouldn't mean leaning in car windows on street corners. You don't have to sell out to sell cars (wood, beef, oil, wheat, etc. etc. etc.).

andrea said...

Thanks for pointing out the rural vs. urban divide because here in Vancouver we feel it most strongly, being in the west. The good news for us, though, was that the NDP increased their seats from 5 to 10 in BC.

Nerdbeard said...

I could not be more happy with the results. I voted for Telegdi (Liberal), however I don't know if I would have been equally happy with a Liberal minority. But then, I view politics as more of a form of entertainment than anything else. Can't wait to see how things go down for Harper.

Best part of the election is that the Liberals are getting a new leader! Martin was a great Minister, but a tepid and unbelievable PM. I sure hope Allan Rock runs for leadership.

Re: PR -- I really like the STV system. But, I have never heard a reasonable explanation of how to marry it to our geographically-based riding system. If a party wins in 30% of the ridings, but gets 45% of the popular vote, how do we decide where that extra 15% gets their seats? It seems like many ridings will necessarily end up with a representative they did not elect.

Echo Mouse said...

Lone Primate knows Canada (history and present) and is absolutely correct.

As for the NDP being strong and smart? I think you need to look into them a lot more before deciding that ;)

Regarding the love for Rick Mercer, I think it's because when he's on tv, he is CANADA. He has our sense of humour, he says what we're all thinking, and he does it in a way that's entertaining but gets our message across. I also think it has to do with Canada being bombarded with U.S. tv forever, until recently. Finally we have somebody good who tells it like it is and has fun with it. We appreciate seeing our own voice on tv. Jon Stewart is good, but he's American. He has no clue about us. Rick Mercer IS the quintessential Canadian and I think that's why most of us love him.

Lone Primate said...

I like Rick Mercer for the most part, but those segments when he goes to the States to demonstrate American ignorance are just cringeingly sorry to see. It's like watching Cousin Clem from Pumpkin Patch Corners take his videocamera to town and embarrass people by showing they don't know the difference between two grades of fertilizer, warf warf warf! Jesus, why would they?

It cuts both ways. About ten years back I had someone from the States ask me what I thought of Tipper Gore's political asperations. And I said, "Who's Tipper Gore?" I got this look like I'd asked "Who's Santa Claus?", and was incredulously informed that she was the wife of the Vice President of the United States. Sure, but why would I know that? I'm Canadian; the personage of the Vice President himself hardly matters in my day-to-day life, much less the spouse thereof. Cripes, with a name like that, she might more reasonably be expected to be Al Gore's dog than his wife (and please, no jokes here; they're too obvious). :)

Lone Primate said...

P.S. For the record: I don't know the name of Dick Cheney's wife, either. Or even if he has one.

James said...

P.S. For the record: I don't know the name of Dick Cheney's wife, either. Or even if he has one.

Lynne. Though I only know because of the kerfuffle over their daughter, Mary, who's lesbian. Apparently the Republicans though it was Very Rude of Mr. Kerry to acknowledge her existence -- and in a positive manner -- during the last presidential campaign.

L-girl said...

Hi guys! Great stuff here, I'm a-chewin' on it all.

L-Girl, did you go down to the polling station?

I didn't - I didn't even think of it.

But I will say, it's never taken me more than 10 minutes to vote, including strolling down to my polling station down the street.

The crazy shit you heard about from the 2004 "election" wasn't the norm. Of course I believe it was deliberate.

Regarding the love for Rick Mercer, I think it's because when he's on tv, he is CANADA. He has our sense of humour, he says what we're all thinking, and he does it in a way that's entertaining but gets our message across.

There's a ton of Canadian humour out there, Canada has produced some of the finest humour I've ever had the pleasure to hear and see, and lots of it, and very varied. I wouldn't even put Rick Mercer on the list. I don't find him particularly insightful, or funny, or wittym or... anything. He just seems very tame. The rants that I heard so much about, and that everyone except me and Allan seem to love - without the graffiti and hand-held camera, I wouldn't even know he's supposed to be ranting. As I've said before, most of the commenters on this site do a better rant.

I know, I know, I'll start packing...

L-girl said...

P.S. For the record: I don't know the name of Dick Cheney's wife, either. Or even if he has one.

Lynne. Though I only know because of the kerfuffle over their daughter, Mary, who's lesbian.


What??? DON'T SAY THAT!!! ;-)

For the record, before her husband became Veep, Lynne Cheney had a thriving career as a historian, author, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a bunch of other stuff. She's an accomplished woman, not window-dressing.

But I agree, I see no reason why anyone in Canada should know her, same as I didn't know the name of Paul Martin's wife before I moved here. About some things, it's perfectly ok to be ignorant. None of us is a walking encyclopedia.

lenny said...

"British Columbia is a perfect example of that, voting like a conservative western state in most ridings, and voting like a progressive urban enclave in Vancouver."

I don't agree. The NDP won rural ridings far from Vancouver - Southern Interior, Bulkley Valley, North Island . Many of the Conservative seats are suburban - Richmond, South Surrey, Port Moody, Pitt Meadows and argueably some of the others in the Fraser Valley. And in many of the rural ridings that the Cons won, the NDP and Libs combined for more votes - Saanich, Okanagan-Shuswap, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Cariboo-Prince George.

L-girl said...

As for the NDP being strong and smart? I think you need to look into them a lot more before deciding that ;)

But I didn't say that. :)

I said they were smart and shrewd. I think they are - right now, anyway, which is all I'm talking about.

Granny was alluding to the jaw-droppingly awful campaigns the Dems have run in the US, campaign after campaign after campaign, and wondering if it's a progressive thing.

L-girl said...

I don't agree. The NDP won rural ridings far from Vancouver - Southern Interior, Bulkley Valley, North Island . Many of the Conservative seats are suburban - Richmond, South Surrey, Port Moody, Pitt Meadows and argueably some of the others in the Fraser Valley. And in many of the rural ridings that the Cons won, the NDP and Libs combined for more votes - Saanich, Okanagan-Shuswap, Nanaimo, Kamloops and Cariboo-Prince George.

Oh, interesting - thank you for that. The CBC didn't give me that.

lenny said...

Reading my post again it sounds somewhat rude and dismissive - it definately wasn't meant that way.

L-girl said...

Lenny, I didn't take it that way at all. You sounded strictly informative to me.

But thanks :)

Trevor said...

I don't think McKenna sold out -- but time will tell whether his approach of enticing business to set up in NB by saying we've got a well-educated, bilingual workforce that won't move has actually created a new economic paradigm. Call centers (and I worked in one verrrry early on in my career) are little more than glorified retail, but as he responded to a question by Bev Ware in the 1995 provincial election (when asked why he wasn't pushing for more $20/hr jobs for NBers) - "it's not a choice between $10/hr and $20/hr -- it's a choice between $10/hr or nothing". He did leave one lasting impression on NBers, whetehr you agreed with his economic policies or not -- he gave us a reason to be proud about who we were. At least someone was doing something, and we weren't sitting around waiting for handouts (or more to the point for those from the 'have provinces that are reading -- we weren't SEEN to be waiting for handouts.

Re; Newfoundland -- Hey, my mom's a newf who was 12 when they had the vote, and it makes no sense to me. They had a chocie of being their own country or joining Canada, and by alla ccounts the vote was close. But they maintain the brits counted the ballots quickly, announced the results, destroyed them, struck the flag and took off -- because they likely knew that as a separate country, they'd be back on London's doorstep in a few years, in serious trouble. And despite all the money we all believe gets poured into that province (jeez, even Maritimers shake their heads about Newfoundland sometimes), I think it'll quickly be forgotten if they have a chance at economic freedom. If you've ever been to Nfld or know Newfs, you can't deny that despite all the efforts made to consider Quebec a 'distinct society', Newfoundland truly is. Maybe it's an island thing.

And with 400,000 residents, it wouldnt take much oil and gas at $60+ a barrel to make the province rich. I think all they wanted was the deal Alberta got - Rob? :)

Trevor said...

PS - Lone: I think there WAS a band in Montreal called that -- ska band with someone from the old "Me Mom and Morganthaler". Or maybe someone was making a joke -- hey, after listening to Parizeau (and all his 'by jovisms' -- for a separatist he sure had a thing for Olde England), if you didn't laugh, you'd cry.

and I thought I saw someone trying to figure out how'd to define how they'd like to spin Harper - Conservabrel? Libservative? (Sounds too much like Lip-Serve-ative...)

Franc said...

Actually, the Conservatives won most of their Quebec ridings in the Quebec City region so not all of them were rural.

M@ said...

Regarding Rick Mercer -- he used to be funny, sometimes, when he was on This Hour. But I haven't found him funny since 1998 or so. Laura, I can 100% understand why you'd see him as you do. It must seem like a giant Canadian in-joke.

The only thing that really, really bugged me about last night was when Harper ended his victory speech with "god bless Canada". I was joking last week that if Harper won, I was going to move to the USA. When he said that, I thought, no need, I'm already practically there!

Other than that, the election satisfied all my hopes: no CPC majority and Martin is gone. We'll see how long my good mood lasts. :)

Lone Primate said...

hey, after listening to Parizeau (and all his 'by jovisms' -- for a separatist he sure had a thing for Olde England)

Yeah, that was the amazing thing about him. He LOVED Oxford -- so long as it was Oxford, England, and not Oxford, Nova Scotia. :/

Andrea said...

(How do you guys get things to go into italics? It never works for me.)

---Indeed, the Conservative seat-count in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver combined comes to a grand total of zero. ---

This was an interesting for me. I was not aware of that.

---I think politics in Canada just got more interesting.---

OHH YAA!! I have always voted but usually did my party checking at the last minute. This is the first time that I have been reading and learning from the very beginning and it has been a HUGE eye opener for me. I was not able to vote but I strongly know what my decision would have been now.
I have also decided that when I return to Canada I am going to become much more involved with politics. (I have already warned my hubby, hehe) I used to make funny faces at sign wavers and flyer people. Now I am determined to join them.

Too many members of my family voted to punish the liberals for their stupid scandel, and totally avoided the real issues and the things that they actually believe in.
It is making me bang my head against the wall.

I hope the next election happens soon, but that there is enough time for me to get back to Canada and join the political loud mouths that I now LOVE!

sharonapple said...

There's a ton of Canadian humour out there, Canada has produced some of the finest humour I've ever had the pleasure to hear and see, and lots of it, and very varied. I wouldn't even put Rick Mercer on the list.

Wow, next thing, you're going to say that The Tragically Hip isn't really that great a band. ;)

I said they were smart and shrewd. I think they are - right now, anyway, which is all I'm talking about.

The NDP picked up more seats, but I think they are now in a less than ideal situation.

With the last government, the NDP had enough seats to prop up the Liberals, so there were a lot of times the government was willing to take on their issues. Heck, Dosanjh even offered to work with Layton on the health care bill, but Layton turned Dosanjh down.

Right now, the NDP doesn't have enough seats to prop up a Conservative government if the Bloc and the Liberals decide to vote against them, so they're not kingmakers. They've also changed governments from a progressive to a conservative one that runs counter to their ends.

As James Laxer, an NDPer who was so radically socialist that they kicked him out of the party, noted, "Politics is too important to be left to the politicians, because they have too much of an interest in just thinking that if they maximize the number of votes for their brand, that that's the be-all and end-all of success."

Out of all of the parties, the Bloc has stepped up to be the balance of power. It's only been a day but Duceppe's made it public that he wants Harper to keep his promise on righting the "fiscal imbalance" and allowing Quebec a bigger role in international affairs. It would be insane to hold another election, but out of all of the leaders, Duceppe has nothing to loose if he pulls the trigger. He has only one province to campaign in. And he has money to do it again. He might lose a few seats, but he could bleed the other parties dry finacially.

Wrye said...

Now to catch up:

Rob:
The Conservatives may win a majority in the future, but I think it's safe to say that Quebec, not Ontario, is going to push them over the top.

Absolutely, it wouldn't take much. And a Con party which is able to convincingly battle separatists is a party which gets a lot of credit in the ROC. To demonstrate an understanding of Quebec and Ontario plays againt the scary intolerant image. Reform's old strategy of trying to win elections without Ontario, Quebec or the Maritimes always seemed to be short on the math front.

Other points:

The NDP are what they are. Will they ever become a governing party? Is that even their aim? That's a whole other discussion.

BC is a complex place with many different regions within the big rural/urban divide, yes. Getting into the details of our Japanese-style geography is another whole other discussion, requiring maps. We also need to explain Social Credit to LG sometime.

Lastly, Tipper Gore wanted to ban music in the 1980s, so some of us knew all about her even before she became the second lady. She wasn't just anybody, you know :)

Wrye said...

Oh, and about proportional representation, stalwart calgarygrit beats me to it with a list of the also-rans. Suffice to say, these national totals wont be putting too many lunatics in the house. We're talking maybe 1 MP from #6, at best...

6. Christian Heritage Party 28273
7. Progressive Canadian Party 14446
8. Marxist-Leninist Party 9289
9. Marijuana Party 9266
10. Canadian Action Party 6201
11. Communist Party 3127
12. Libertarian Party 3003
13. First Peoples National Party 1340
14. Western Block Party 1094
15. Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada 72


A house of commons that already contains Rob Anders is hardly going to explode if it gets a Christian Heritage member--oh, noes, a lunatic MP without opposition or party staus, confederation is doomed, whatever will we dooooo....

sharonapple said...

And a Con party which is able to convincingly battle separatists is a party which gets a lot of credit in the ROC.

I have no problem with the Conservatives preventing the Bloc from getting 50% of the vote. The problem is that the Conservatives aren't battling separtists are much as they're co-opting their message. They're going to right the "fiscal imbalance," noting their unique status, and letting Quebec have a bigger say in international institutions. So they get the "unique society" that they were promised in Meech Lake.

http://www.conservative.ca/EN/1091/35881

In a way they have to do something like this because the province isn't conservative -- it's left leaning. They don't have anything else to attract Quebecers.

And it's a stand the Conservatives take purely for votes. The First Nations have an unique culture, but the party doesn't make any apparent concessions to them. It's sad. Really sad.

http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/realitycheck/aboriginal.html

http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/News_Releases/UBCICNews01170601.htm

A house of commons that already contains Rob Anders is hardly going to explode if it gets a Christian Heritage member--oh, noes, a lunatic MP without opposition or party staus, confederation is doomed, whatever will we dooooo....

Personally, I want to directly vote for my member of parliment. If I get a lunatic, I want it to be because I voted for him/her than because I was assigned him/her.

I'd rather go for Rob's suggestion of multiple rounds of voting. Winner will then be the majority. No splitting. People will probably examine their candidates more.

L-girl said...

Actually, the Conservatives won most of their Quebec ridings in the Quebec City region so not all of them were rural.

Peter Mansbridge, you let me down! ;-)

I guess he just meant outside of Montreal.

Regarding Rick Mercer -- he used to be funny, sometimes, when he was on This Hour. But I haven't found him funny since 1998 or so. Laura, I can 100% understand why you'd see him as you do. It must seem like a giant Canadian in-joke.

Hooray! Someone understands. :D

L-girl said...

I hope the next election happens soon, but that there is enough time for me to get back to Canada and join the political loud mouths that I now LOVE!

Yay Andrea!

You, me and Allan - we're the only three hoping for another election soon. :)

L-girl said...

Wow, next thing, you're going to say that The Tragically Hip isn't really that great a band. ;)

LOL... Come on, if they weren't Canadian, would you listen to them?

The NDP picked up more seats, but I think they are now in a less than ideal situation.

You're right, they're not. All I meant was that Layton is a shrewd politician and I think he ran a good campaign. Where I come from, "good campaign" and "left" cannot be put in the same sentence! So to me, it's impressive. C'est tout.

L-girl said...

Tipper Gore wanted to ban music in the 1980s,

Oh yeah, music fans of a certain age remember her all too well.

L-girl said...

A house of commons that already contains Rob Anders is hardly going to explode if it gets a Christian Heritage member

Exactly.

Sharonapple (and others), you would reject proportional representation because it might give a fringe party a seat in Parliament? Or a party you don't approve of? That doesn't sound very democratic.

Any party would have to meet a certain threshold of %age of popular vote to get a seat, it wouldn't be a free-for-all.

Proportional representation is closer to one person, one vote. That should be the ideal to strive for, no?

L-girl said...

Personally, I want to directly vote for my member of parliment.

That's a more serious reason to oppose pro-rep. I can see that.

I actually don't like the idea of local representatives. I think it makes for more special-interest, me-first style politics - voting for the person who'll fix the potholes on your street or bring jobs to your riding. That should be more of a city council job than an MP (or in the US, Congressperson) job.

Maybe national parties that spoke to overall interests, instead of regional or local interests, might help dampen some of the incessant regional bickering. I wouldn't care if my NDP representative lived in Mississauga or wherever, as long as she or he represented my overall interests.

At least that's how I think I'd feel. The reality might prove different. But I think it's closer to a democratic ideal.

teflonjedi said...

But I agree, I see no reason why anyone in Canada should know her, same as I didn't know the name of Paul Martin's wife before I moved here. About some things, it's perfectly ok to be ignorant. None of us is a walking encyclopedia.

Oh dear, I really have been gone from home for far too long...he has a wife???

Lone Primate said...

Wow, next thing, you're going to say that The Tragically Hip isn't really that great a band. ;)

LOL... Come on, if they weren't Canadian, would you listen to them?


Ahead By a Century is one of the coolest songs ever written. And the video is astonishing in places.

Trevor said...

Re: the Hip and Rick Mercer -- I think Rick's rants were much better when he was on This Hour Has 22 Minutes-- now, ehh...But he did do a great one-man show before he got famous, called "Ive Killed Before and I'll Kill Again". He was the execution in a post-nuclear holocaust world where Newfoundland is the only place to survive in Canada, and is full for "Canadian" refugees. So he talks about hanging various cultural icons (Burton Cummings, Anne Murray, etc).

And as a guy who's bought virtually every Hip CD when it came out, I have to say, "Day for Night" (1995?) was the last one i liekd end to end. But I do like Ahead by a Century too. and as much as I think Gord Downie may be a genius, his solo effort was, well, an acquired taste.

But L-Girl - even if i wasn't Canadian I would listen to them -- a lot! It took the Americans a few years to catch on to the Barenaked Ladies too. :)

M@ said...

Okay, we can all agree that "Day for Night" was the final Great Hip Album of all time, right? By which I mean, we can enjoy Grace, Too and Fireworks and Music At Work, but we accept that we can only go so far after Courage, and Nautical Disaster. Right?

Okay Then.

When we're done with that -- and the "Live From the Roxy" version of New Orleans, natch -- we can progress to Road Apples and Last American Exit and other such things.

Trevor, LP -- I know you're with me on this. Let's keep together and ensure L-Girl and Redsock are suitably indoctrinated. No swaying from the canon. I'm looking at you, Mr Bobcaygeon Was A Good Video Too, there...

(Okay, I'll break character for a second: it's okay to hate the Hip -- it's just another Candian One-Upmanship technique. But you gotta admit, Fireworks was a great song.)

Wrye said...

Oh dear, I really have been gone from home for far too long...he has a wife???

Someone didn't see the headline on the cover of last week's McLean's. Which I thought was way over the line for a respectable magazine, FWIW...

As for the Hip, I give you-

Don't tell me what the poets are doin'
Don't tell me that they're talking tough
Don't tell me that they're anti-social
Somehow not anti-social enough


So mock them at your peril, pundits.

And "Bobcaygeon" is beauty distilled in musical form.

Oh, in looking up that song, I found the following. you might ind this interesting, LG--
from www.hipmuseum.com:

As with most Hip songs however, "Bobcaygeon" defies easy explanation and seems to be alluding to multiple references. Of the most commonly discussed and debated is the songs hint of intolerant thugs clashing with mounted cops in "Toronto The Good." Gord took to introducing the song during 2004 with: "This one asks the question: evil in the open or evil just below the surface?"

Toronto, the capital of Ontario and Canada's largest city, was once known derisively in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the Stern Voice of God in the British Empire. The town was notorious for the moral righteousness of its leaders as well as their prohibition laws and church laden approach to social problems. The city, which today is proudly called the "most multicultural city on earth" lost its stoic and stuffy image and was permanently scared in 1933 by the Riot at Christie Pitts. During an afternoon softball game at the 30 acre park, a horde of Nazi's from a Toronto gang called the Swastika-Club brawled with a group of young Jewish men.

Like a school yard fight, word of the confrontation spread quickly throughout the city, bringing additional fighters and onlookers in a flood. The police in the area were overwhelmed, and didn't restore order until 2:30am the next morning.

Toronto was again touched by hate-induced violence in 1993 when members of the Neo-Nazi group the Heritage Front (scum who may also be referenced in Fire In The Hole) engaged in a bloody street fight with a group calling themselves Anti-Racist Action. Once again, Toronto police were caught helpless, and the city stood with its tolerant reputation in tatters.

This reference is furthered by the 1930's Guthrie-esque anti-hate message scrawled across Bobby's acoustic guitar at the end of the Bobcaygeon video: "This Machine Kills Fascists."

Echo Mouse said...

Yayyy for The Hip! Of course we'd love them if we weren't Canadian. We're talented judgers of music over here. :)

My favs are Boots or Hearts, Ahead by a Century, Bobcaygeon, Courage...I can't think of the rest right now. But The Hip...definitely a great band.

I knew of Tipper Gore too. The music thing got me. Oy.

Regarding Rick Mercer, I do love him and nope I'm not apologizing for it.;) But you don't have to love him. It's not a requirement for citizenship or anything. LOL But he does say what many Canadians think. I thoroughly loved when he did the Talking to Americans bits. Not because it's fun to belittle Americans, but because it's refreshing to see that citizens who claim to be so superior to Canadians, really don't know half as much as they should, being in a superpower country and all.

L-girl, as for semantics of words seen versus what you wrote, you should know I have a disability. I do my best but when it comes to the specific word written versus my interpretation, in this case, there wasn't much difference. I understand you don't want to be misquoted, but that's not what I was trying to do. Just wanted to explain that.

On another point, I found a great discussion archived online here:-
http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t43812.html
I thought you might find it interesting. I certainly did and was glad to see such level heads discussing Canadian politics online.

Echo Mouse said...

Shoot, link got cut off. Here it is again, on two lines

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/
lofiversion/index.php/t43812.html

teflonjedi said...

Someone didn't see the headline on the cover of last week's McLean's. Which I thought was way over the line for a respectable magazine, FWIW...

Very much true, don't see it down here in the SF Bay area...at least, at the places I do my grocery shopping.

So, I get most of my Canadian news from the CBC web site, and from here!


Glad to see the Hip getting the airplay here...very thoughtfully written stuff.

L-girl said...

It took the Americans a few years to catch on to the Barenaked Ladies too. :)

I hate Barenaked Ladies. Really think they are incredibly mundane. Steven Page is a very cool guy, I love his politics and his involvement. But I do not like his music.

Sorry. :)

L-girl said...

Oh, in looking up that song, I found the following. you might ind this interesting, LG--
from www.hipmuseum.com:

As with most Hip songs however, "Bobcaygeon" defies easy explanation and seems to be alluding to multiple references...


I am not mocking them.

I am not saying they are easily defined, confined, explained, referenced, interpreted or anything else.

I am saying I don't like them.

Do. Not. Like. Their. Music.

Have heard them. Do not like them.

(Have not seen videos, don't care about videos.)

L-girl said...

I understand you don't want to be misquoted, but that's not what I was trying to do. Just wanted to explain that.

Aw Echo Mouse, I would never think that. You are one of wmtc's greatest supporters. It's just us writers - we're very picky about words. :)

Whatever your disability, it certainly is not apparent in your writing. Your posts are great.

L-girl said...

This reference is furthered by the 1930's Guthrie-esque anti-hate message scrawled across Bobby's acoustic guitar at the end of the Bobcaygeon video: "This Machine Kills Fascists."

Great timing on this. I was about to blog about Woody Guthrie, via Bob Dylan.

That message isn't Guthrie-esque, it's Woody himself. Using it is a tribute to him. Very nice.

Thanks for sharing. :)

L-girl said...

So, I get most of my Canadian news from the CBC web site, and from here!

Whoa. The pressure is on. ;-)

doggerelblogger said...

Tory minority? fantastic news for Canada.

It's a fact.

L-girl said...

It's a fact.

No. It's an opinion. You are welcome to your opinions here, but please be respectful, and do not tell us opinions are facts.

Your link doesn't go anywhere, by the way.

Wrye said...

Well my opinions are facts. It's a clear fact that the province next to me should be called Wryeberta, for instance. Also, the benefit to Canada would be immeasurable if we were to institute a Wrye tax that paid me 0.1% of everyone's earnings. And speaking of opinions,

I am not saying they are easily defined, confined, explained, referenced, interpreted or anything else.

Heh. I didn't say you were--the piece on Bobcaygeon was just an interesting story topped with a Guthrie reference. I think you'll find there's no need to gnaw your own leg off to escape if you find yourself trapped in an elevator with the video of the song, either. Unless it's on an infinite loop, I suppose. Then maybe try unplugging the TV first. If Stephen Harper and Rick Mercer are in the elevator with you, rip the TV off the wall and hit them with it. Make it look like Murder suicide, everyone will believe you.

I am saying I don't like them.


Ah, it's like my fact that Henrik Ibsen sucks. Which is often mistaken as some sort of invitation to debate. All good, carry on.

Lone Primate said...

Anyone here ever seen Elephant Parts by Mike Nesmith? There was a skit in it in which a man asks for contributions to help young people who are "tragically hip". I hadn't seen the show in over ten years (bought a copy a couple weeks ago), so I immediately took notice. Listening to the commentary track, I heard Nez himself mention that this was the instance from which the Canadian band took its name. :)

P.S. For my money... the "Neighborhood Nuclear Superiority" skit is one of the funniest things ever broadcast on TV... and at least ten years before its time. :)

L-girl said...

Wrye, you are cracking me up.

I appreciate your Woody Guthrie reference.

I hope never to be trapped in an elevator with Rick Mercer and Stephen Harper. I've a thing or two to say to Harper, and I don't think Mercer would let me get a word in edgewise.

I did once ride in an elevator with Harrison Ford (just me and him). And that, my friends, is a fact.

Hope things are well in Wryeberta. I hope to visit there one day.

Lone Primate said...

P.P.S. Oh wow... NNS is actually on the web. :D

Wrye said...

I don't think Mercer would let me get a word in edgewise.

Now now, Mercer loves all things Canadian with a passion bordering on obsession, so I think he'd at least want to hear your story. Beyond that, I make no predictions. Showbiz types, you know. Just don't let slip that you're a Brett Butt kind of gal.

Trevor said...

what did u say to Harrison Ford?

I was stuck in one with Steve Page...

Hmmm...maybe Spirit of the West would be more your thing.

Trevor said...

I couldnt get NNS to load all the way! the first 30 secs is promising...

Lone Primate said...

It's not that I'm hoping to drive this "one-party state" stuff right into the ground once and for all or anything... but... I am. :) The Globe and Mail had some interesting stats to report on that basis.

1) Of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax; the only city that gave all its ridings to one party and one party alone: Calgary (8, Conservative).

2) Of the ten Canadian ridings giving the biggest landslides to winning candidates...

...# in Alberta: 10 (all Conservative; all >60%)
...# in the other provinces: 0

Yes, indeed... the evidence for a one-party state in Canada continues to grow! But it ain't in Ottawa, and it ain't the concoction of Ontario or Quebec...

Points to ponder for NDP supporters...

Number of seats won by Conservatives where the candidate's total number of votes is fewer than the ballots cast for the Liberal and NDP candidates combined:

BC: 6
Alberta: 2
Manitoba/Sask: 7
Ontario: 22
Atlantic Canada: 6

Total: 43

Election results without vote-splitting:

Lib/NDP: 175 (majority)
Conservative: 81
Bloc: 51
Ind: 1

L-girl said...

Lone Primate, thanks for that! Excellent stuff.

L-girl said...

I haven't seen Elephant Parts or Neighborhood Nuclear Superiority. Although I'd like to, and will try to see the latter later.

Ooh, latter later. Tatter tater.

Lone Primate said...

Oh, God. Here we go. The guy's not even prime minister yet and he's already setting up the first lethal injection. :( Not like I said this was coming or anything.

sharonapple said...

LOL... Come on, if they weren't Canadian, would you listen to them?

Now, you have officially gone over the line. ;)

Sharonapple (and others), you would reject proportional representation because it might give a fringe party a seat in Parliament? Or a party you don't approve of? That doesn't sound very democratic.

I guess we have a different view of the situation. Proportional representation doesn't seem democratic to me because I wouldn't be able to vote for candidates for my riding. I think parties end up weaker when people vote for them but not their candidates. For instance, I thought that Bob Rae might have made a great premier, unfortunately his party was a bit of disaster when it was in power in Ontario because his cabinet was weak -- it was sadly scandal ridden and inept. Parties need to get strong candidates outside of their leaders and my worry is that proportional representation won't tempt them to work on this.

What if one party is popular, but their candidates are messes? There's one current party that dominates a particular part of Canada that has this problem.... Sadly, I don't think any mistakes short of murder will get any of these people voted out of power because of their party's popularity.

sharonapple said...

Oh, God. Here we go. The guy's not even prime minister yet and he's already setting up the first lethal injection. :( Not like I said this was coming or anything.

No. Not another Charlottetown/Meach Lake mess.

Noooo!

(Doesn't anyone remember that they could have had the Charlottetown Accord but they, along with the rest of the country voted it down in a referendum.)

From the article, this point:

All this will force a rethink of Liberal, Bloc and PQ strategies. It could make the Conservative Party the dominant voice of federalism in Quebec: a new federalism, flexible in areas of policy but uncompromising on the fundamentals, and radically different from anything that has gone before.

...doesn't sound new. It sounds a lot like Mulroney's approach to Quebec.

Strangely, Chretien stayed away from the whole debate, sort of ignorned the whole debate, and polls for separation declined in Quebec and the Bloc slowly lost seats to the Liberals. It seems as though if you don't go around telling Quebecers how much they've been abused and neglected by the federal government, they don't start going down this road.

L-girl said...

I think parties end up weaker when people vote for them but not their candidates. . . . Parties need to get strong candidates outside of their leaders and my worry is that proportional representation won't tempt them to work on this.

Hm, good point. I can see this.

I tend to look at people all over a country (any country) who don't get enough representation because they don't all happen to live near each other, in a concentrated area. I'm thinking representation by geographic location is best left to the local (provincial, state, etc) govt - but that on the national level, maybe it's a relic from an earlier era, when people were less mobile, less connected, and their interests were more parochial.

Just some thoughts. I'm leaving this thread, so enjoy!

sharonapple said...

Final thought: you do have a point about this. If there was only a way to mix the two. Proportional representation with a way to examine the candidates.... I've got a feeling that one day it'll be perfected.

Wrye said...

She'll be back. ;)

I guess we have a different view of the situation. Proportional representation doesn't seem democratic to me because I wouldn't be able to vote for candidates for my riding.

Ah, but that depends on the particular proportional system being proposed--some offer more of a mix. But it's plusses versus minuses.

BC went very strongly for STV in the last election (57%+ in favour) just because we're so exhausted as a province by 40 years of a two-party system and the polarization it brings.

As for revisiting Charlottetown...most of the old Reform crowd *led* the opposition to Meech/Charlottetown (and on the crests of anti-French, anti-First nation sentiment too). I think it's not overstating the case to say that it was a prime reason for the birth of the Reform movement. The idea that this bunch, of all people, will somehow craft a Meech II is bizarre. What can they possibly be thinking? Just how do they see this turning out differently?

Lone Primate said...

...doesn't sound new. It sounds a lot like Mulroney's approach to Quebec.

Precisely. How soon -- how very soon! -- they forget. This isn't just living history, some of the same people are still in the Commons, for God's sake. It makes me despair for the species. This is a recipe for 1) alientating the West (remember the birth of the Reform Party? I do); 2) "humiliating" Quebec so they burn to quit Confederation, and 3) civil war when they attempt to do so and Stephen "Honest Abe" Harper won't let them. Yeah, thank God we got rid of the Liberals who were sneakily investing money in Quebec to convince them to stay in Canada. What a big improvement we just made. How wonderfully we have served the future of our country and our posterity.

sharonapple said...

On the whole Quebec situation, this part from the Globe and Mail article is sadly funny:

One of the least-noticed planks in the Conservative election platform is perhaps its most important. A Harper government will seek to sign with the provinces a new Charter of Open Federalism. (Here's hoping they come up with a more inspiring name.)

How about naming it in the place it was created. I heard Meech Lake is nice. (They even have a clothing optional beach. Seriously. Since 1939. Makes you wonder what they were doing there in 1987 with Mulroney.) Hey, they could even write it in the birthplace of Confederation -- Charlottetown.

Still, it looks like this new Charter is more economic focused than the previous ones, but this part

Once it was signed, no federal government could enact a shared-cost program without majority provincial consent; any province could opt out of the program with full financial compensation, provided it created a similar program of its own.

leaves the possibility that provinces can opt out of the Canada Health Act just as long as they provide a similar service. So instead of universal health care a province could get money for providing almost-universal health care. The federal government looses control over how money is spent since a province can opt out of a program and still get money. There's no incentive for someone like Ralph Klein, who walked away from the last health care conference with the first ministers, to walk back.

sharonapple said...

Ah, but that depends on the particular proportional system being proposed--some offer more of a mix. But it's plusses versus minuses.

I keep on thinking we should do away with parties. Just elect good people and see if they can manage to actually do something.

Precisely. How soon -- how very soon! -- they forget. This isn't just living history, some of the same people are still in the Commons, for God's sake. It makes me despair for the species.

I wonder if the Charter will ever get settled. Bah. Instead of removing the "notwithstanding clause" maybe there should have been a move to stay away from charter issues. For some reason this country works. Leave it alone.

L-girl said...

She'll be back. ;)

:D

Resistance is futile.

Another thing I forgot to say about pro-rep (which I think I'll add to the original post) is that it encourages greater participation in the system, and discourages strategic voting. Now, if you are the minority in your riding or district, your vote will almost never "count" - it will always disappear into the majority.

But if you knew your vote would join together with others like yours all over the country, you would be more likely to vote, and vote your conscience.

I can't quote statistics, but I've read that countries with proportional representation by parties have very high voter turnouts.