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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

blogging blackout until the end of the week. that's a full lid. thank you very much.

In order to catch up with life, school, and work, I'm going to be taking a bit of a break from blogging this week. Here are some links to satisfy your fetishes:

- Litfest 2008 was excellent. I hope to post more on this later.

- When 33% of Newfoundlanders vote Conservative and 25% of Saskatchewan voters cast a ballot for the NDP, but neither of these groups are represented in the House of Commons, it's pretty clear that something isn't working. Political hacks can have rhetoric-filled debates for or against electoral reform until they're red in the face, but the reality is that Canadians' votes aren't being reflected in the results and citizens are opting out of the system in droves. The status-quo isn't working.

- Stephane Dion is moving on, but the Liberal Party of Canada will need a lot more than a new leader to become a national party again.

- Alberta's Oil Sands will pollute Great Lakes, report warns. As if Ontario, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, and Ohio need our help polluting the Great Lakes... (h/t Solve Climate)

- The bizarre story of how Edmonton Oilers organization doesn't tolerate bloggers in their press box. More here and here.

- You can be forgiven if you didn't notice that the Fall session of the Alberta Legislature is underway, most of the important decisions get made in closed door cabinet meetings anyway...

And for anyone who's ever been part of a leader's tour...


Dunkler said...

It's enough to leave one quite bitter. Like clockwork, after elections recently - the political types come out of the woodwork and talk about electoral reform to increase turnout and create more representative parliaments. Then nothing happens, and no one talks about it until the next election.

As we saw with Ed, politicians tend to view a low turnout as a "good thing" - a sign of "no need to go vote, everything is fine". Change, I think, needs to come from the grassroots - with people talking about and demanding electoral reform outside of a campaign period. More importantly, they need to show up to vote - even if they are just going to destroy their ballot. Electoral Reform isn't sexy enough to grab headlines, and is too complicated to shove into a 5 second soundbite during the short campaign period.

displaced newfie said...

Great McCain video. Hilarious.

I voted absentee for the Con cand in Avalon and it didn't seem to pay off. I'm even going to school in a Liberal riding in Ontario now! WTF? I want electoral reform.

Alex said...

Is there evidence that our electoral system is a signficant driver in depressing voter turnout? This is cited as a reason by everyone from Daveberta to Ed Broadbent. I would appreciate it if somebody could point me towards scholarship that proves or at least strongly suggest.

From anecdotal evidence, I'd say that for most people who don't vote a FPTP system ranks far behind a lack of interest, or a disillusionment with all the parties and leaders, if it even registers at all, as a reason for not participating.

daveberta said...

Alex: I believe that there are many things driving the drop in voter turnout. I would argue that to many Canadians, the electoral politics of the nation have become irrelevant to them. There could be a never ending debate over why this is and why is causing it, but the disconnect needs to be addressed.

In terms of electoral reform, this would be an issue for me even if there were 100% voter turnout. Say if 100% of Newfoundland voters turned out to voter and the 33% still voted Conservative, there still remains a problem if their votes do not translate into any representation.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone entitled to customized represenation? Democracy is about the will of the majority. 33% of Newfoundlanders is not a majority, either in the province as a whole or in any one riding. Hence those folks get left out in the cold.

It's not the end of the world. It will convince them to work harder on future campaigns or to perhaps question their provincial leader, Premier Danny Williams, who was a driving force in having the Federal equivalent to his own party shut out in that province.

The idea that removing local representation if favour of generic political party slates is a terrible one. If anything, our system needs more of an emphasis on local politics. We need more independent MPs and more party-based MPSs who insist on free votes. The sooner we can get to a free voting system, the more likely it is that people will feel directly represented.

daveberta said...

"Democracy is about the will of the majority. 33% of Newfoundlanders is not a majority, either in the province as a whole or in any one riding. Hence those folks get left out in the cold."

No party earned a majority of votes in Newfoundland. The Liberals recieved 46%, the PCs 33%, and the NDP 16%.