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General Election 2008

Good points made by east coast writer

I’m a bit biased since the author is one of my oldest friends. But Michael has always been insightful and this skill is once again at the forefront in this piece that he recently penned for The Telegram.


Electoral dysfunction – for real!

This is most telling.

We need to change the way we pick the folks who represent our interests. It has never been so clear.

Is no one listening?

Electoral dysfunction, yet again

Greens deserved more than 20 seats – voting system also punished New Democrats, western Liberals and urban Conservatives

Once again, Canada’s antiquated first-past-the-post system wasted millions of votes, distorted results, severely punished large blocks of voters, exaggerated regional differences, created an unrepresentative Parliament and contributed to a record low voter turnout.

[Note: The following commentary is based on returns at 2am ET.]

The chief victims of the October 14 federal election were:

Green Party: 940,000 voters supporting the Green Party sent no one to Parliament, setting a new record for the most votes cast for any party that gained no parliamentary representation. By comparison, 813,000 Conservative voters in Alberta alone were able to elect 27 MPs.

Prairie Liberals and New Democrats: In the prairie provinces, Conservatives received roughly twice the vote of the Liberals and NDP, but took seven times as many seats.

Urban Conservatives: Similar to the last election, a quarter-million Conservative voters in Toronto elected no one and neither did Conservative voters in Montreal.

New Democrats: The NDP attracted 1.1 million more votes than the Bloc, but the voting system gave the Bloc 50 seats, the NDP 37.

“How can anyone consider this democratic representation?” asked Barbara Odenwald, President of Fair Vote Canada.

Had the votes on October 14 been cast under a fair and proportional voting system, Fair Vote Canada projected that the seats allocation would have been approximately as follows:

Conservatives – 38% of the popular vote: 117 seats (not 143)

Liberals – 26% of the popular vote: 81 seats (not 76)

NDP – 18% of the popular vote: 57 seats (not 37)

Bloc – 10% of the popular vote: 28 seats (not 50)

Greens – 7% of the popular vote: 23 seats (not 0)

Fair Vote Canada also has data for each province on the number of seats won and number of seats actually deserved by each party.

Odenwald emphasized that any projection on the use of other voting systems must be qualified, as specific system features would affect the exact seat allocations.

“With a different voting system, people would also have voted differently,” said Larry Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada. “There would have been no need for strategic voting. We would likely have seen higher voter turnout. We would have had different candidates – more women, and more diversity of all kinds. We would have had more real choices.”

Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a national multi-partisan citizens’ campaign to promote voting system reform. FVC was founded in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished Canadians from all points on the political spectrum


Election night!

The night that all of we political junkies live for!

It’s bigger than all of the holidays. Bigger than my birthday! Bigger than the Leafs Winning The Cup!


Anyhoo… I’m (im)patiently waiting for the the first results and frustrated by the election law stating that thou shalt not transmit results to those who shalt occupy said territories to the west – without having first clostest thy said latter polls.


Been looking for a blog so I can cheat but no luck so far.


Why to NOT vote for Harper – one last entry

I have pointed out a few reasons why the Canadian electorate should mark any box other than the one beside the ReformCon candidate. Harper has lied and deceived us. He has called an unnecessary election purely out of spite and political convenience. And he continues to represent interests that are counter to the majority of we Canucks.

That being said – please DO vote. We have no voice unless we march to the booth and mark our ballot beside the candidate who you think will best represent your interests. If you have thought that ol’ Trashy here has been full of hot air over the past few weeks – fair ’nuff. We can agree to disagree. After all, isn’t it just that freedom to hold contrary opinions that we are defending when we mark our “X”?

Happy voting!


Scary projection – Harper wins majority with only 34% of the vote!

October 11, 2008

Immediate release

Fair Vote Canada

Projection based on CP-Harris-Decima poll shows

first-past-the-post system could hand Conservatives

a majority with just 34% of the popular vote

Green Party could be shut out with as many as

1.75 million votes

A projection based on the October 9 Canadian Press Harris-Decima rolling survey shows the Conservative Party, with a very minor increase in support, could set a new record for the least-supported “majority” government in Canadian history, dropping significantly below the Liberals 38% “majority” in 1997.

The bizarre, but plausible, possibilities do not end there. In the 2006 election, the Green Party won more than 664,000 votes, setting the record for the most votes won by a federal party without capturing a single seat in Parliament. The Fair Vote Canada projection shows the Green Party could still be denied seats with more than 1.75 million votes.

“The possibility of such ludicrous and undemocratic outcomes should be a wake-up call for all Canadians on the urgency of replacing our dysfunctional first-past-the-post voting system with one based on voter equality and proportional representation,” said Barbara Odenwald, President of Fair Vote Canada. “This is nuts. We’re in the 21st century. Most other Western industrial nations scrapped first-past-the-post last century.”

The projection, prepared by British Columbia mathematician Julian West, is based on the regional results of the Canadian Press-Harris-Decima poll, supplemented with additional regional data from a recent Ekos poll.

The projection applied the current regional results to predict how votes might shift on a riding-by-riding basis based on the voting results in the 2006 election, and then determined how many additional Conservative votes would be needed to win a majority of seats (see footnote for further detail on projection methodology.)

The projection showed that if a relatively small number of additional votes were cast for the Conservatives across the country, nudging them to just 34% of total votes cast, that might be sufficient for a net gain of 32 seats, which would create a 156-seat majority.

Applying this model, the following seats tip to the Conservatives (all from the Liberals, unless stated):

NL Labrador
NL Random-Burin-St George’s
NS West Nova
NB Fredericton
NB Madawaska-Restigouche
NB Miramichi
NB Saint John
ON Brant
ON Huron-Bruce
ON London West
ON Mississauga South
ON Oakville
MB Saint Boniface
SK Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River
BC 18 seats (every opposition seat, except Vancouver East)

Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a national multi-partisan citizens’ campaign to promote voting system reform. FVC was founded in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished Canadians from all points on the political spectrum.


Why to NOT vote for Harper – the last weekend of the campaign

As we enter the long weekend, we are seeing a slight uptick in Harper’s fortunes in Ontario and further erosion of their gains made in the last election. What will influence our decisions in these final days as we go to the polls on Tuesday?

Dion’s stumble in the CTV interview was not a stumble. He was asked three slightly different questions by the interviewer each time and this confused the Grit leader and it also confused a colleague and I who watched the clip on YouTube last night. And for the networks to air these outtakes is nothing less than shameful. Has Harper or Layton or any of the leaders not have had to request a retake once or twice during the course of an interview? If so, and I cannot imagine that Stevie hasn’t made a gaffe or two, then these clips should be aired too. Shame on you, CTV!

Over dinner and with family and friends this weekend, much will be discussed about this election. There will be family debates and perhaps even a shouting match with old Uncle Bert who has steadfastly reported for a conservative party since Dief was at the helm! Votes will be influenced at the dinner table this weekend – make no mistake about. So, if you agree at all with what I have written over the past 5 1/2 weeks, do your best to convince Uncle Bert that maybe this one time, he should consider voting for someone else.

The weather. Of course the weather will influence our thought patterns this weekend – we are Canadians for crying out loud! And the forecast for the eastern part of the country is for warm days and blue skies clear through till E-day. This may not bode well for our weekend ruminations as we’re less likely to be generally pissed off as we would be if it were raining or snowing. But if the forecast holds true for Tuesday then we may expect a higher voter turnout and that usually does not bode well for the incumbent administration.

In any case folks, talk politics this weekend! What is decided in the next few days will influence the direction of our country for the next little while! Remember Harper’s lies, cynicism and general disrespect for his partisan colleagues and the intelligence of his countrymen and countrywomen.


More plagarism? Say it ain’t so!

Man, the big S-man better start vetting his speeches a bit better. Second time in a week that he gets nailed for copying someone else’s efforts without attribution!

Man, if my 15 year-old got caught doing this, she would be expelled!

Or, under Harpy’s new rules for young offenders, thrown into a federal prison!

OK – just joking on the second point.


Are the Grits gaining momentum? Naw… really?

Some very interesting new polling numbers from Nanos Research. This firm is, in my admittedly VERY informed opinion, the most competent group out there from a methodological and question development perspective. They have been doing daily tracking since the writ was dropped.

There is a clear upswing in Grit fortunes – especially in QC, where the change is outside the margin of error.  This is curious because some quebecois friends of mine told me this would happen close to the end of the campaign. Most surprising is Dion’s increase on the leadership index – only 8 points in arrears.

Time (as in tomorrow) will tell whether this is indeed a true trend or sinply a statistical anamoly.

Steve over at Far and Wide has made some good points about this poll.


French language debate

Apparently Harper won the debate last night.

Apparently Dion won the debate last night.

I watched most of it on RDC – can’t stand the translated version. Here’s my opinion:

No clear cut “winner”, though:

  • I think Stevie did himself more harm than good (yay!).
  • Dion held his own and maybe even gained some support through his performance (but man, he has bad posture).
  • If there was a winner, it was Duceppe. You could clearly see that he has been down this road before.
  • Layton made some good points and his French was the best of the Anglos.
  • And Lizzie May, despite being handicapped languages-wise (tho’ she was better than I had anticipated) got in a few good jabs here and there.

Tonite – Round 2. Watch for Stevo to go the attack as polls are showing that his support has stalled and has fallen backward in Quebec.


The Politics of Fear – both Harper AND Dion are to blame

From Fair Vote Canada:

The Politics of Fear is Misleading and Polarizing.

Which of You Will Change the Sad Face of Canadian Politics?

Dear Mr. Harper and Mr. Dion:

On behalf of all Canadians who want to believe in democracy,
allow me to express my enormous frustration with this election

The leaders of our two largest political parties are acting more
like fear mongers than true leaders.

Stephane Dion, you say Canadians must vote for the Liberal Party,
or Stephen Harper, with a phony majority government, will ruin
Canada as we know it.

Stephen Harper, you say Canadians must vote for the Conservative
Party, or Stephane Dion as head of a phony majority Liberal
government will ruin Canada as we know it.

Is Canada truly in such terrible danger, or are both of you
simply avoiding the core question that any Canadian would ask:

'Why should a leader and party without true majority voter
support be allowed to seize command of Parliament and
impose law and policy on all Canadians?'

Why is it that you defend and perpetuate a system of
election and government which lacks the legitimacy conferred
by majority voter support?

What do you say to the nearly eight million orphan voters
in this country - more than half the active electorate,
many of whom support your own parties - who on October
14 will again cast votes which elect nobody to the House of
Commons? To Conservative voters who will elect hardly any
representatives in urban centres and to Liberal voters who
will elect no one in the prairie provinces?

Which of you on October 1 and 2 will say to the cameras
that before the next election you will bring in proportional
representation, making all Canadian voters equal citizens
with equal votes and equal representation in the House of
Commons, thus ending the need for fear and hate campaigns
designed to gain that slight advantage in the popular vote
that will result in a phony, underserved majority of seats
in Parliament?

Canadians would be delighted to hear you pledge that your
government will make this the last unfair and undemocratic
federal election. Any leader who makes that pledge would be
deserving of the votes from millions of currently orphaned
voters on October 14.

Yours for a democratic Canada,

Barbara Odenwald, President
Fair Vote Canada and

Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a national multi-partisan citizens'
campaignto promote voting system reform. FVC was founded
in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished
Canadians from all points on the political spectrum.