Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday News Round Up

1) Harper has announced he will be appointing barley farmer Bert Brown to fill a Senate vacancy. Bert Brown is, of course, famous for plowing the following phrase into his field in the 1990s: "Triple-E Senate or else...appoint me and screw the effective and equal part of it".

2) After Rona Ambrose's initial Green Plan was met with scorn and ridicule leading to her departure from the file, the Conservatives are planning to release a new and improved Green Plan which...wait for it...weakens the targets set out in their first plan. Either the Tories are trying to dampen expectations, or this is their election trigger.

3) Speaking of the environment, John Baird went before the Senate today to claim that meeting our Kyoto targets would lead to a massive recession, unemployment, sky-rocketing gas prices, the cancellation of Hockey Night in Canada, and the closing of all Tim Hortons coast to coast.

4) I don't think we'll see the Greens stand down in St. Catharines but the mere fact that some of their members are talking about not running a candidate is exactly why I thought the Dion-May deal was a strategic coup de force for the Liberals.

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  • "Triple-E Senate or else...appoint me and screw the effective and equal part of it".

    My thoughts exactly... just expressed in a funnier way than I am capable.

    By Blogger KC, at 5:17 p.m.  

  • All this business about the possibility of Greens not running candidates in ridings so the Liberals can win points out the flaw in our electoral system.

    Because of the first-past-the-post system, vote splitting on the right or left can end up electing a candidate that most people actually prefer less than one of the other left or right candidates. In the article you linked to, that was the issue - the Liberal lost by 250 votes, but the Green candidate got around 3000 votes. Oops.

    In First Past the Post, the only way to "fix" that is the (I think) ugly idea for the Greens not to run a candidate at all. I think in principle it's just silly.

    But if we had a system like Single Transferable Vote, voters could rank their preferences, and then Green voters in that riding could mark Green as 1, then Liberal as 2. So that way they could still vote for their party of choice, but their votes would probably end up going to the Liberals in the end.

    The advantage of STV is that it more accurately reflects voters preferences for who represents them. Our current system does not allow that.

    By Blogger Brandon, at 5:41 p.m.  

  • I can quibble with Harper's ad hoc approach to electing the Senate, but ultimately on the issue of Brown, my only real thought it: shouldn't Albertans get to vote on this now, with the knowledge that the guy they vote for will actually be appointed? (because, did anyone really think the winners of the elections held under the Liberals were going to be appointed?)

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 6:37 p.m.  

  • Harper is such crap. check out the election results. bert didnt win the last senate election. remember betty unger? hello she came in first with 308000 votes! Oh wait, she is a woman, and he can choose who he wants. so even if there are candidates running next time from all parties, and his conservative candidate doesnt come in first, he can call the conservative loser an elected senator i guess eh? nice.

    By Blogger ktr, at 6:43 p.m.  

  • Actually, Unger came in second - and even says so in the biography on her website:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:51 p.m.  

  • Brandon, I would support STV one member per riding in the House with a province wide ballot in the Senate without "party lists".

    This is what Australia does and it actually gives results more like FPTP in terms of majorities in the House, while also giving PR results in the Senate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:10 p.m.  

  • ktr: do you have a source for your suggestion that Ms. Unger came in first, with 308,000 votes? Wikipedia gives her 311,964 votes to put her in second behind Bert Brown.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 7:11 p.m.  

  • Skip wiki and go straight to Elections Alberta.

    She was second.

    By Blogger mecheng, at 7:19 p.m.  

  • Yeah, I know I declined my Senate ballot last time and I think around 20-25% of people did. I don't have a huge problem with the appointment since Harper can appoint whoever the hell he likes and it was a campaign promise.

    But people should realize that Brown wasn't really elected under a real vote.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:53 a.m.  

  • "wasn't really elected under a real vote"

    I dunno. I seem to recall checking off a box on a ballot. A premier got elected, and so did my MLA. So ... the Senator-in-waiting wasn't?

    Why is that? Because... the Liberal gov't of the day didn't agree?

    My vote didn't count?

    WTF are you saying? "real vote"? Don't you mean "recognized by the Liberal federal gov't of the day" vote?

    Which counts for WHAT percent of Albertans?

    By Blogger Candace, at 1:48 a.m.  

  • PS: Provincially (last time) I voted Liberal in the hope of getting an honest-to-God opposition in place, as I'm not overly fond of dictatorships, elected or otherwise.

    So I guess that vote didn't count either?

    By Blogger Candace, at 1:50 a.m.  

  • Poor Liberals "but we didn't vote for the Senators because we didn't think anyone would actually ever..use democracy as a basis for appointing senators".

    By Blogger Chris, at 3:54 a.m.  

  • I think we should have an election over Kyoto, soon.

    I know, it sounds terrible to be going back to the polls after a year and a half, but *if* something is to be done about climate change, *for better or worse* then I'd like to see a mandate from voters rather than a continuation of the finger pointing we've been seeing for the last ten months or so.

    Yes, finger pointing would continue during an election campaign, that's a given. But an election would do the following:

    - Confirm which party Canadians see as having the best plan.
    - Get journalists asking questions like, "how are Canadians going to pay their bills between the time factories close and the new green industries start hiring those now unemployed people)
    - It would test Dion's credibility as Canada's green messiah. Should Liberals lose, he's done like dinner.
    -It would test whether Elizabeth May is a flash in the pan.
    - Finally, it would confirm whether or not Canadians truly understand the ramifications of going green.

    You see, I came to this conclusion after reviewing the Alberta Tories budget last night. BAJILLIONS in spending on highway infrastructure and some for cities (not much but some) and I got to thinking, "why spend all this money on roads, bridges and interchanges if Albertans like most Canadians are so concerned about the environment? If anything, why spend so much money making it easier for people to get to work in their gas guzzlers when making it harder to get to work promotes something as green as taking the damned bus?

    Bring on an election - that's my view. I have a different take on all of the climate change furor as of late and I think it's pointless to point at either federal party and say they are climate change deniers or sinners when the polls show the environment as voters number one concern, yet those same voters aren't exactly changing their behaviors to reflect this new found concern.


    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 5:06 a.m.  

  • CG - are elections only 'real' when you vote in them?

    By Blogger fair sailing, at 6:42 a.m.  

  • Regarding May/Dion, I certainly prefer the Liberal way to (what seems to be) the Conservative's

    For those who don't get French, the Conservative Pary intends to run a candidate in the Quebec City area riding but the candidate's primary mission will be to not damage the reelection of independent MP André Arthur.

    The source is a high-ranking member of the conservative member...

    Small wonder the man needs makeup. I'd be red in the face too.

    By Blogger loraine lamontagne, at 6:50 a.m.  

  • Interesting fact: In the 2004 general election, 43% of voters cast their votes for the Liberals, NDP, or Greens. Meanwhile, 20% of voters spoiled or declined their Senate election ballots.

    This means that over half of Liberal/NDP/Green voters cast a valid Senate ballot, despite not having anyone from their preferred party on it.

    Overall, 80% of Alberta voters supported the Senate election.

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 9:54 a.m.  

  • Baird pisses me off. Don't tell me what we CAN'T do, tell us what we can do.

    Besides, everyone already knows we can't meet Kyoto: even Dion said so.

    Instead, Baird should be focusing on what targets ARE achievable, and then set out a plan to achieve them. What's so difficult about that?

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:40 a.m.  

  • Some of the comments made here on "real" votes makes me wonder if perhaps it may not be such a bad idea to require voters to pass an elementary civics test before being handed a ballot.

    By Blogger except for one thing..., at 11:29 a.m.  

  • >>Besides, everyone already knows we can't meet Kyoto: even Dion said so.<<

    Then why did the Liberals back a MP Rodriguez' bill that would roll back our emissions to pre-1990 levels? I believe Stephane Dion voted in support of that bill.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 11:31 a.m.  

  • re: Senate Vote

    A lot of people didn't vote for a Senator in the 2004 vote because it was abundantly clear that the vote was a stunt and that whoever "won" wouldn't be appointed.

    What if Quebec organized "Supreme Court Justice elections", held a vote on it during the last provincial campaign with Harper saying he wouldn't appoint them, and 20% of Quebecers spoiling their ballot.

    Then let's say the Liberals get in in three years and decide they want elected judges. I'm not sure basing it on that previous vote would be the appropriate way to act.

    But, regardless, I don't have a huge problem with them appointing Bert Brown because the PM can appoint whoever the hell he wants.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:40 p.m.  

  • A lot of people didn't vote for a Senator in the 2004 vote because it was abundantly clear that the vote was a stunt and that whoever "won" wouldn't be appointed.

    And yet, here we are.

    I guess if they assumed that The Liberals Would Rule Canada Forever...

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 4:49 p.m.  

  • Dion says that Brown "may not be the best person". What should Harper do, appoint a person that was elected by the people of Alberta or go out and find another "Tommy Banks"? (Was he the best person? NOT!) At least Harper is listening to the wishes of the people from Alberta....which is more than you can say about the previous Liberal Govt. who refused to appoint elected senators, because they wanted to appoint party hacks and failed candidates.

    It is no wonder dat de Halberta pipples dat mak all dat izzy money vote Conservative!

    By Blogger islandconservative, at 1:38 a.m.  

  • my mistake

    this was my source,
    but quite possibly elections alberta is more reliable, although
    they were responsible for not making the tories file financial reports for all those years, right?

    By Blogger ktr, at 11:11 a.m.  

  • I wonder if perhaps someone should suggest to Senator Dawson that before he goes on television again, he should get the up-to-date talking points from Liberal Party Headquarters.

    On CBC this morning, he was still reading from the book that the Liberals could not possibly support the Conservative budget because it was full of ideas introduced by the Liberal Party.

    And he's still claiming that Canada can reduce domestic emissions by about 35% over the next eight months and hold them there for the next five years - without significant negative impact to the economy. I certainly don't have any friends who think that's credible.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 10:10 a.m.  

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