Monday, April 16, 2007

In The News

-I have to give a thumbs down to Ontario's MMP referendum. I'm not completely against electoral reform, but when you have party leaders writing the party list, you have a situation where MPPs are being appointed which strikes me as being completely against the principle of having an elected house.


-Buzz is the Liberals will be releasing TV ads this week.


-The Hill Times has a good run down of the backroom mechanics going on in Parliament regarding key legislative bills and (of course) election timing.


-For anyone interested in drafting an essay dealing with the impact of technology on modern debate, check out this contest.


-Don Baird had a column in the Herald last week talking about the Alberta Liberal Party's "attack on Stelmach" plan of action.


-Stories like this, would seem to lend some credence to the theory that the May-Dion deal is targeted not so much at Peter MacKay, but rather at Jack Layton.


-Elizabeth May mentioned this little old blog on QP yesterday. Since she's let the cat out of the bag, I guess I can announce what has long been rumoured. Liz and I have signed a pact whereby she refers to me as a "funny blogger" and I do not call her decision to run in Central Nova "mind numbingly stupid". I'm sure this move will be controversial, but we feel it will be mutually beneficial.


-In one of my all time favourite inadvertent transitions, a CTV news story the other days on Canadians being overweight was followed by an add for Tim Horton's new triple chocolate donuts.

Labels:

47 Comments:

  • Dan,

    you know if that thing about May was true, there would be a 5-letter French word for you...

    By Blogger Antonio, at 2:18 PM  

  • Doesn’t make sense to me that NDP is the target. The NDP is suffering because of their lack of relevance to the mainstream.

    Elizabeth May would be useful to the LPC if she rallies the red tory part of the CPC. Most of the supporters of the old PC reside outside Alberta, and would not be adverse to green laws.

    In fact, the LPC NDP GP and PC all ideologically support a strong federal government.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:26 PM  

  • News Flash!

    31 dead in Virginia shooting. Gun control is still an issue. What’s harper doing? He’s not enforcing the gun registry while spending $1b to arm border guards. What’s the point of stiffer sentences when people are already die or maimed.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:52 PM  

  • There's a surprise, a Liberal against electoral reform. I wonder if Liz May knows.

    By Blogger Greg, at 3:03 PM  

  • -I have to give a thumbs down to Ontario's MMP referendum. I'm not completely against electoral reform, but when you have party leaders writing the party list, you have a situation where MPPs are being appointed which strikes me as being completely against the principle of having an elected house.

    That's disingenuous at best. MPPs would be nominated to party lists in the same way that they are nominated to run in ridings. Well, maybe the Liberals don't do that - they're more inclined to let their leader to "anything" he wants, whether it's appointing candidates or making side deals with the leader of a minor party with no elected representation provincially or federally.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 3:14 PM  

  • May believes the Green and the NDP have more in common than the NDP has with the Conservatives:

    “I don't understand it. He talks to Stephen Harper all the time; surely our shared values are much closer between the NDP and the Greens.”

    Thoughts?

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 3:24 PM  

  • CG,

    I'm not sure appointing MPPs from lists bothers me that much. Most people couldn't pick their MPP from a police lineup.

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 3:30 PM  

  • Layton talks to Harper because he is the PM. May is the leader of a party with no parliamentary representation and no influence to get anything done policy-wise. She's not a lobbyist anymore.

    For all of May's talk about Layton has supposedly refused to meet with her, consider that

    A spokesman for Mr. Layton said yesterday that there were no requests for a telephone call, as far as he knew. Karl Belanger added that there have been efforts to get the two leaders together for the past two weeks or so for a face-to-face meeting, but that their schedules hadn't meshed. (link)

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 3:55 PM  

  • greg; I'm not against all electoral reform. I like fixed election dates and the preferential ballot...even STV I like from a conceptual sense, although I do fear it might be a bit complicated for a lot of people.

    bigcity; Oh, I agree with you, but I still think there should be some direct accountability from the electorate.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:03 PM  

  • jimtan - Nice job of politicizing a tragedy. Can people have at least a day of mourning before trying to take political advantage out of murder?

    By Blogger Wes, at 4:18 PM  

  • jimtan is not a real human being.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 4:57 PM  

  • calgarygrit, I agree with you, but I think you are missing the real problem with electoral reform towards a PR system, and it is best captured by some of the criticisms the NDP has had for dealing with the Tories.

    In the perpetual minority parliaments that MMP makes much more likely it is difficult for voters to assign responsibility for actions. On top of that, it is behind-the-doors deal-making that creates the REAL platforms that are enacted, and not the election (since platforms are difficult to enact in minority parliaments).

    Consider the German situation - with double-digit unemployment the country is in a malaise. Nonetheless, its minority parliament can do little, since - were say, Merkel to propose reforms (which would have short-term pain attached), she would suffer in the polls, giving the Social Democrats a strong incentive to break off from the grand coalition.

    Moreover, electoral systems are really a choice of which cleavages within the political system we would like to see amplified and which we would like to see muted. FPTP gives additional weight to regionalism - possibly a bad thing federally (it gives the separatists a lot more clout), but not a bad thing in Ontario.

    At the same time, the FPTP mutes things like class cleavages (though to some degree these are picked up by regionalism). So in the Conservative party you can get unionized workers and business leaders in the same party - making for parties that have relatively broad constituencies in terms of class.

    For provincial governments that deal with economic issues, this is a key matter. When the government caters only to one class (and most provincial decisions are about class), you are not really reflecting the provincial interest.

    So I could buy PR federally (if it weren't for the resistance it would get BECAUSE of the regional nature of Canadian politics), but not provincially, where it will amplify divisions.

    Yes, MMP means you still have individual constituencies. Fine. But you also have a large number of seats determined by popular vote (otherwise it isn't really a change).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 5:04 PM  

  • I would prefer regional open lists -- possibly the proportional seats granted to the losing candidates of various parties within the region who gained the most votes. But the question here shouldn't be whether the Citizens Assembly's recommendations are perfect, but whether they amount to an improvement over the current system.

    In my opinion, they do, so I'm supporting this proposal, and then I'm working to change the provincial closed-list set-up to regional open.

    By Blogger James Bow, at 5:08 PM  

  • Perhaps jimtan can replace Kevin Potvin as the Green candidate in Vancouver Kingsway.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 5:08 PM  

  • I liked the triple-chocolate doughnuts til I got to the centre. By the end, though, I felt better about it.

    Similar misgivings on the MMP referendum - it's too much like being appointed for me. However, I atke James Bow's point that it's an improvement. I should warm up to the idea, for that reason.


    It's always Politics before People with cocksucking assholes like Jimtan. Right, left, no difference - their first thoughts are political gain and spin and traction, and never to the humanity. Not a word of shock or dismay, but just a leap in to attack the Prime Minister of a country whose border is nowhere near Virginia. Surely the people killed today, and their families and friends, deserve some of our thoughts before we turn so coldly to discussing legal issues.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 5:22 PM  

  • hoser

    "Perhaps jimtan can replace Kevin Potvin as the Green candidate in Vancouver Kingsway."

    You would do a much much better job than I.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 5:53 PM  

  • jason bo green,

    I am disappointed in you. The massacre can be repeated in Canada by a copy cat killer. We need to be alert and advise our children. The police agencies need to get up to speed and cancel leave for the swat teams.

    Michael Ignatieff gave a small and proper speech in parliament this afternoon. He commiserated with the victims. He warned of the need to control guns. He took the government to task for their apathy.

    Every life is precious. Every government must bear responsibility for any life unnecessarily lost.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:11 PM  

  • //31 dead in Virginia shooting. Gun control is still an issue. What’s harper doing? He’s not enforcing the gun registry while spending $1b to arm border guards. What’s the point of stiffer sentences when people are already die or maimed.//

    Yep, wasting billions of dollars harrassing rural Canadians out in the hinterland about their long guns is going to stop young girls from getting gunned down on Yonge St. in broad daylight.

    The billions wasted on the long gun registry would be better spent on urban programs and community policing in cities and in border enforcement.

    The problem in Canada isn't legal guns. The problem in Canada is illegal guns.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 7:30 PM  

  • "jason bo green,

    I am disappointed in you."

    if that isn't the most disgusting thing I've read. backtrack all you want jimtan, I'm sad that not a single Liberal rebuke your gross comments.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 7:31 PM  

  • Chucker,

    Your outrage is purely manufactured. There are already conservatives arguing that if V. Tech students had the right to bring guns onto the campus, this would not have happened. Why are conservatives allowed to be pigs and not anyone else?

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 7:59 PM  

  • I don't really buy it but there likely is stronger logic in arguing that if all citizens had the ability to carry guns someone would have shot the rampaging psychopath in self defense, than some twit like jimtam arguing that we can prevent these kind of masacres by taking rifles away from farmers. Because you know all these school killings are the result of farmers storming schools after having spent too much time with wheat and farm animals....

    As I said I don't really agree with the argument that the answer is more guns, but at least their argument has some sort of logical connection to the event. Taking guns away from people who have no connection to any urban violence is a stupid idea that punishes people who aren't even tangentially related to the problem and its entirely beside the point.

    By Blogger Chris, at 8:13 PM  

  • bigcitylib,

    manufactured?

    listen, you have an excellent point to make - why ruin it with a needless and silly assumption about what I'm thinking?

    tell me, do you agree or disagree that the first reaction to today's events should be "this will hurt Harper" or "Harper should X,Y,Z"?

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 8:14 PM  

  • "I don't really buy it but there likely is stronger logic in arguing that if all citizens had the ability to carry guns someone would have shot the rampaging psychopath in self defense..."

    I work with street youth. Virtually every street youth I work with carries a knife "for protection". Other youths, the ones who actually have homes, believe that when they travel to certain areas of the city they have to carry knives, because they know other youths are also carrying them "for protection".

    Now, I do not have stats on crimes involving knives in Edmonton, but I can say that I come accross a lot of these youths, whose knives are for protection, who use these knives whenever they are involved in a fight. Where once fists would do - now knives are the weapon of choice.

    Kids are carrying knives to schools, and to the mall. This will not stop if the prevailing attitude is that it is OK to carry weapons for protection.

    The USA gun crime rate is astronomical - how can anyone suggest we adopt those type of gun laws?

    By Blogger Gayle, at 8:54 PM  

  • Chucker, I know there are many Liberals who would be disappointed in Jimtan's (idiotic) politicizing of today's events.

    BCL is obfuscating - right, left, it's all the same. Chucker's reaction to Jimtan is not relevant to what any right-wing pundit said in another medium and forum.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:20 PM  

  • bo green,

    I would bet our host isn't a big fan of those comments. And many other liberals - like the excellent, if confused, evil Don (centreofcanada.blogspot.com).

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 10:01 PM  

  • wheat said

    "The problem in Canada isn't legal guns. The problem in Canada is illegal guns."

    That’s false! The shooter at dawson College was legally armed with a Beretta carbine, Glock pistol and shotgun. The point is that they were registered with the gun registry. The police could verify that the shooter was heavily armed, if someone had complained that threats had been uttered.

    Without the gun registry, the police would not know what to look for.

    BTW, the large shortfall from the gun registry occurred because the government stopped collecting fees ($100 million a year). The registry was meant to be self-financing. That said, I have to agree that the gun registry was a management and political fiasco.

    It’s amazing that the government didn’t foresee the backlash from the patriarchy.

    Chucker said

    “if that isn't the most disgusting thing I've read. backtrack all you want jimtan, I'm sad that not a single Liberal rebuke your gross comments.”

    Based on chucker’s past comments, I don’t have confidence in her objectivity or sensitivity. Remember the body bags comment!

    My first reaction was that it isgoing to be repeated in Canada. Eight days after Columbine, some kid opened fire in Taber Alberta.

    Chris said

    “As I said I don't really agree with the argument that the answer is more guns, but at least their argument has some sort of logical connection to the event.”

    Twisted logic. What are the facts from research? That there is a correlation between the number of arms and gun deaths. In America, guns represent the second most dangerous consumer product. Every year, 12k deaths result from gun homicides and 16k from GUN SUICIDES.

    Putting guns into the hands of citizens will result in more suicides, and shootings on Saturday night.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 10:24 PM  

  • "Remember the body bags comment!"

    yes, the comment was a reaction to folks hoping for casualties so they could stick it to Harper.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 10:35 PM  

  • Hello people!

    It seems that few people understand why the police want the gun registry.

    The police don’t just check the gun registry when they answer a call. It helps the police keep an eye on the nuts. In smaller communities, the police can take note when good old Elmer starts stockpiling an arsenal. How come Elmer doesn’t go shooting with the boys during hunting season?

    And, they get real interested when Elmer buys a bunch of heavy stuff in a hurry. Behavior is the best predictor of intention.

    At the moment, there are requirements for criminal record checks when a gun is purchased. But, the documents were not collated in a single registry under an index. And, there was no documentation when weapons were resold.

    So, the gun registry was supposed to fix that.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 10:42 PM  

  • My preference is that that a ballot on PR NOT be held at the same time as the Ontario election. All McGuinty is trying to do is to split the discussion about his crappy record, pack of lies, and sellouts to public service unions.

    As to PR method, I'm not up to steam on this. What PR scheme has been adopted in a parliamentary system like Canada's, with severe regional and linguistic parameters like we have?

    As for "jimtan", don't you have a shred of decency today? Must you politicize a complex subject again, at a time when respect for families and the dead should be maintained?

    By Blogger Erik Sorenson, at 11:01 PM  

  • As to PR method, I'm not up to steam on this. What PR scheme has been adopted in a parliamentary system like Canada's, with severe regional and linguistic parameters like we have?

    First, we're only talking about Ontario for the moment. Second, variants of MMP are used in New Zealand, Germany (both in the Länder and in the Bundestag), Scotland, and Wales. All operate on the parliamentary system, though not in a manner identical to ours. The linguistic dimension aside, though, Germany has a highly regionalized system (East/West, Bavaria/Elsewhere, etc.).

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 11:48 PM  

  • Erik said

    “Must you politicize a complex subject again, at a time when respect for families and the dead should be maintained?”

    On the news, the victims of gun crimes are already speaking up again. The issue is about the living. It’s all very simple.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:36 AM  

  • Yes, Jim, we all of us see how very, very simple it is for you.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 2:01 AM  

  • To say that the average person can go buy a berrata carbine and a gloc pistol is a load of crap Jimtam. Handguns have been hugely restricted for years in Canada and its a complete red herring. We've had a handgun registry for years - thus how is an event which relates to crimes with handguns in any way indicative of the usefulness of a long gun registry?

    That's like saying there is a case of worms infesting apples so the clear answer is to ban oranges.

    What you're saying is that because of A leading to C we need to ban B. That's just a logical fallacy. What I pointed out is that at least with those who argue for more guns there is a logical argument even if I don't agree with it. You can conclude that if there were more guns, someone would have possessed one and responded to being fired upon before the same number of people were killed and as a result fewer lives would have been lost.

    That argument works if you accept its premises as being true. You're argument saying we need to ban rifles to deal with hand gun crime doesn't.

    Secondly there is no utility in the police "checking to see if there is a registered weapon" the standard operating proceedure if you ask any officer is to assume there is a weapon. Hence what could checking really do other than inspire a false sense of security when there actually is an illegal weapon?

    By Blogger Chris, at 2:11 AM  

  • Chris said

    “To say that the average person can go buy a berrata carbine and a gloc pistol is a load of crap”

    I don’t understand why you keep denying the facts. The Dawson College shooter had no criminal record. He was given permits to buy the Glock pistol and the Beretta carbine, a restricted weapon.

    “someone would have possessed one and responded to being fired upon before the same number of people were killed and as a result fewer lives would have been lost.”

    You obviously have not used a handgun. We are talking about a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Only trained professionals should be allowed to carry handguns. A pistol in your hand is an extension of your arm. You will be pointing the pistol at someone if you are angry with him.

    Handguns are dangerous enough when kept at home. Handguns have no place in the streets. Listen to me.

    “That argument works if you accept its premises as being true. You're argument saying we need to ban rifles to deal with hand gun crime doesn't.”

    This is confusing. I never said that rifles (in general) should be banned. Obviously, sportsmen need long guns for game. I am saying that a gun registry is needed to keep track of legal weapons. For example, to ensure that the transfer of pre-owned weapons is documented.

    Do you own any firearms? Do you always shoot blanks?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:30 AM  

  • Dude, you need to get a girlfriend. Just a bit too fixated on guns and long guns and...

    By Blogger fair sailing, at 4:53 AM  

  • Regarding PR, could it be that we would end up with cabinets made up entirely of political appointees while elected reps would all be backbenchers? How would this fit in with responsible government? Any provisions that would stop us from having an entirely appointed government?

    By Blogger loraine lamontagne, at 6:58 AM  

  • Further, if an appointed Senate is deemed to be outdated and undemocratic because the Senators are unelected, what would make these political appointees more democratic than Senators?

    By Blogger loraine lamontagne, at 7:47 AM  

  • Dan, I agree with you about the Ontario referendum. Having party lists of members to fill proportional party seats does not make these members accountable to voters and they simply become voting machines towing the party line even further.

    Why do people keep forgetting that there are no parties in a Westminster-style legislature or parliament but caucuses with members who are free to join whichever caucus they want?

    We simply need more free votes. It's not about parties, it's about the member you vote for.

    By Blogger Hatrock, at 10:09 AM  

  • Fair sailing said

    “Dude, you need to get a girlfriend. Just a bit too fixated on guns and long guns and... “

    I’ll be happy to discuss economics, politics, marketing, management, police investigation, the military, science etc. Indeed, I have been sharing my knowledge and experience. And, I respect a good, strong argument.

    Why don’t you guys look in the mirror? You’re been sharing your self-righteousness, pomposity and ignorance. You’re disrupting this blog and putting off the thoughtful people. By a coincidence, the worst offenders are the grit-haters.

    I’m going to take a break. You had better clean up your act when I come back. Move on if you can’t take the heat.

    Be careful, be polite, be considerate, be truthful.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:07 PM  

  • News today is that the gunman at Virginia Tech was a South Korean international student (meaning he could never have legally acquired a gun in the U.S.), using a semi-automatic pistol with the serial numbers filed off.

    In other words, no amount of extra gun control laws would have prevented this.

    By Blogger daniel, at 12:49 PM  

  • "In other words, no amount of extra gun control laws would have prevented this."

    Unless, of course, gun control means the reduction in the production of guns, meaning fewer are available illegally.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 12:58 PM  

  • Why do people keep forgetting that there are no parties in a Westminster-style legislature or parliament but caucuses with members who are free to join whichever caucus they want?

    Who's forgetting? No "Westminster-style" legislature has functioned in that way since the 19th Century. If you want to know what a non-party system is truly like, please consider the consensus systems of the NWT and Nunavut.

    Party list members are NOT appointed anymore than candidates are appointed in individual ridings. They are nominated by their respective party through likely very similar procedures as are used currently in individual ridings. We'd see larger primaries/nomination contests instead of nominations for a single candidate.

    Additionally, a party receives list members only when it receives insufficient constituency seats for its share of the vote. So if its support goes up, the list seats will diminish or disappear.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 1:42 PM  

  • The student was not an international student, he was a resident who had been in the US since 1992. International students are those who come just to study. From my understanding the shooter immigrated to the US (possibly with his family?) before going to college.

    By Blogger Toby, at 2:44 PM  

  • I just went by what some Virginia police-type person I saw in a press conference said. Of course, he could be wrong, and if he is, it sort of takes the wind out of my previous statement.

    By Blogger daniel, at 3:32 PM  

  • Yea, I do deny the facts. According to you someone could walk into a store buy a couple of Gloc pistols and do whatever they wanted with them which really doesn't correspond with any legal regime the country has had in place since the 1930s.

    Handguns have had a registry since the 30s, barely anyone is allowed to possess handguns for any reason. The only reasons for an ordinary civilian are target shooting, and as a collector (this usually involves the weapon being made unfirable to begin with). Furthermore, if you are allowed to own one you aren't allowed to transport it or keep it concealed on your person legally. In fact the requirements would be that you must inform the police when you're going to transport a firearm. So by any characterization it was clearly in violation of existing laws.

    Beyond that, you've twice now tried to link instances of handgun crime to the gun registry which is baffling. The so called "gun registry" is a long gun registry, registry and onerous restrictions on hand guns have existed since the thirties. Hence you're being disingenious to try and use hand guns as a reason to support the long gun registry as they're already included in previously established regulations and laws.

    I personally don't own any fire arms, but I grew up in a rural community and know that most farms keep a gun around for the terribly malicious purpose of shooting coyotes who attack their animals. Nothing you've said at any point demonstrates in any way shape or form that long guns are the problem. They're mostly a tool used by farmers, which is evidentally a fact urbanites can't wrap their head around.

    By Blogger Chris, at 4:26 PM  

  • I seem to remember Michael Moore having something interesting to say on this subject about guns and Canada in his movie on Columbine... Anyone else?

    By Blogger fair sailing, at 6:10 PM  

  • Chris, that post wasn't directed at me, was it? Because I agree with most of what you said...

    By Blogger daniel, at 6:17 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home