Friday, October 24, 2008

Agents Skinny and Dipper are toxic

"Health Canada is in the process of issuing a recall for this toy bought at a Pearson airport gift shop, after tests for the Star found lead in its belt. " (Parent Central/Toronto Star)

According to the Toronto Star, a collegue of Agents Skinny and Dipper, Constable None-of-it from Iqaluit, Nunavut was found to be toxic. He had lead in his belt. That means Agents Skinny and Dipper, who wear the same type of belt, also have lead.

Now I know why drivers on the road look at me strangely. They just see some "sick guy" licking Agents Skinny and Dipper's belts while driving. Hey! At least I don't text-message while driving.

I did buy Skinny and Dipper at an international slave trade market for stuffed animals at a tourist outlet in Niagara Falls two summers ago. I don't know if I want to return them. They'll be deported back to Moldova after being lured to come to Canada to become casino hosts. Their real names are Scinei and Dipercescu.

Anyway, here is a repeat of Agents Skinny and Dipper waiting for Stephen Harper to come to Toronto during the election campaign.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brampton West almost equals six-and-a-half Labradors

What would the federal election results have been had the winning party in each riding received a weighted share of the ridings based on the population of each riding compared to the national average? For example, the winning party would have received 0.257 seats for winning Labrador--the least populated riding in Canada. In Brampton West, Ontario, the winning party would have received 1.660 seats. Brampton West is the most populated riding.

The actual results for each party were as follows:

Conservative: 143 seats
Liberal: 76
Bloc Québécois: 50
NDP: 37
Independents: 2

Total: 308

The weighted results for each party would be as follows:

Conservative: 146.015 seats
Liberal: 75.861
Bloc Québécois: 49.025
NDP: 35.331
Independents: 1.767
Total: 308

Please note that there are no seats for the Green Party as these results are based on the redistribution of seats based on the population of each riding, not on the percentage share of the votes.

I do notice a few things:

Based on population, one could fit almost six-and-a-half Labradors into Brampton West. Labrador is not protected by a section in any of Canada's Constitution Acts. It is also not a stand-alone province or territory.
There is very little difference between the actual and weighted seat distribution amongst the parties.

If the Conservative government were nicer to Ontario by giving the province more seats, the Conservatives could get more seats--maybe even one in Toronto.

Within Ontario, there are huge disparities in riding populations such as between Kenora and Brampton West. Even with a 106 riding distribution, the Conservatives are at a slight disadvantage under the current distribution of seats.

I could write about reducing the riding disparities between and within each province. However, I prefer that Canadians could vote through some form of proportional representation. The existing antiquated First-Past-the-Post voting system doesn't work for me.

If you would like an Excel copy, please email me. The images are broken up so that you can view them.

Update: For information on my Senate reform proposals, see the following links:

Monday, October 20, 2008

U.S. presidential and V.P. candidates are Simpsonized

Here are the U.S. presidential and V.P. candidates Simpsonized:

Barack Obama: Students see this kool teacher coming into the classroom. Will the teacher turn into a son-of-a-bitch once the students start misbehaving?

John McCain: He can get krusty at times.

Joe Biden: Going fishing unless Barack gets into trouble. Remember to bring the cell phone. Unfortunately, it won't work on No Response Lake. Let's hope the fishing is good.

Sarah Palin: She's getting ready in case she needs to run the whole dang thing. I think she needs to get Hyderized.

Abbotsford Pride Parade?

Slap Upside the Head has a blogpost about high school students wanting to have a Pride parade in Abbotsford, British Columbia because their local school board decided to turf a social justice course over gay content. They are getting opposition from some of the locals.

Personally, I would recommend a snake parade--No, not with real snakes. Participants can start at a public park, then link hands and arms as they snake their way throughout Abbotsford.

Here's some inspirational thoughts:

H/T: Slap Upside the Head

Toronto Sun: Voting rules fail us (Bryn Weese)

It seems strange that columnists for the conservative Toronto Sun can support proportional representation while editors at the liberal Toronto Star feel the need to support the existing antiquated voting system.

Here's a column by the Toronto Sun's Bryn Weese with highlights below:

Electing governments in Canada with the antiquated first-past-the-post system is akin to pulling names out of a hat.

The distribution of seats in the House of Commons is completely arbitrary, and has nothing to do with what Canadians actually voted for. It never does.

Is it any wonder that only half of eligible voters in Canada can be bothered to cast ballots? Most of their votes (unless they're cast for the winner) are worthless and huge scores of Canadians are robbed of representation.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Toronto Star--PR: Still a bad idea

I wonder if Ian Urquhart wrote this:


...In all likelihood, if Canada had a system of proportional representation, the outcome would be very different, given the demographical and geographical diversity of the country. The pro-life Christian Heritage Party, for example, might win enough votes to get seats. And new parties might emerge to win seats – say, an Alberta First party or even ethnic parties.

So Harper might be kept in power by entering a coalition with pro-life and Alberta First parties. Now that, indeed, is a scary prospect.

Update: Toronto Sun: I want a system where my vote counts (Rachel Sa)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Could a reformed House of Commons and Senate work together? Revised

I am reposting this blog with a clickable link of my graph on the left side.
Last March, I posted a proposal to reform the House of Commons and Senate in Canada. My proposal would have a House of Commons with 330 seats apportioned by population of each province and territory and a Senate with 100 seats apportioned by the square-roots of the provincial and territorial populations. Half of the senators would be elected every three years.

Below is the distribution of seats for each party by province and territory in both the House of Commons and Senate. For the Senate I used both the 2006 and 2008 election results to represent a rolling Senate with half of the Senators being elected every three years.

If you cannot click on the image to get the results, here are the highlights:

House of Commons seats by proportional representation:

Conservative: 130
Liberal: 88
NDP: 61
Bloc Québécois: 31
Green: 20

Total: 330
Majority: 166

Senate Seats:

Conservative: 43
Liberal: 29
NDP: 21
Bloc Québécois: 7
Green: 0

Total: 100
Majority: 51

The Conservatives would be able to form a coalition with either the Liberals or NDP. They would be able to pass bills in both the House of Commons and Senate. There would be little or no Senate paralysis that some nay-sayers of Senate reform might indicate. The only difference in the Senate is that there might be a more regional examination of some issues by the Senators in their committees.

I would like to note that the Green Party would have a difficult time getting seats in the Senate because the Senate is a smaller chamber than the House of Commons. Also, if elections for Senate seats were decided provincially/territorially rather than nationally, and if half of Senators were elected, the Green Party would need to achieve about 20 percent of the vote in a province to get a Green candidate elected to the Senate. Unfortunately, an elected Senate with Senators elected by some form of proportional representation would not be kind to parties that receive a very small number of votes. I would still consider the Green Party to be a micro-party. As a consolation prize, the Greens would have 20 out of 330 MPs in the House of Commons under my proposal.

Some of you may prefer a Triple-E Senate or some other distribution model. Others may want the Senate abolished. I just wish to point to you reading this blog-post that it is possible to have an elected Senate to coincide with an elected House of Commons that can function well with each other. The Senate will not paralyze the work of the House of Commons.

Let's reform both the House of Commons and Senate.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Canadian Comments: Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How is everyone's Tuesday? Feel free to leave your comments. Please do not post anything illegal because it will take me a while to get rid of the nasty comments. I have to go buy gas because the price might go up.

Winner: Senator Michael Fortier!

I predict that Michael Fortier will not win his seat in the House of Commons. I do predict that Stephen Harper, if he is the prime minister again, will ask the governor-general to re-appoint Fortier to the Senate again.

Any predictions on which candidate will cross the floor this time?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Canadian Comments: Monday

Tomorrow early evening, I will be making a brief comment about Canadian politics. Then, I might go do my laundry. I won't get a chance to moderate my open comment board. Therefore, if you live in St. John's or Halifax and you wish to comment about something political or about your Thanksgiving weekend so that the people of Vancouver and Calgary may read your comments, you may do so on my sight. When I finish my laundry later in the evening, I will probably delete all the comments because some of youse in Antigonish, Nova Scotia may try to sell sex pills to Canadians living in Beaver Creek, Yukon.

As I mentioned, I will probably be checking my comment board after I finish my laundry (if I do it). Feel free to comment about Canada.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How I will vote

From the beginning of the campaign until now, my party preference has not changed. It doesn't mean that in the future that my vote will never change. On the contrary, I may choose any of the parties including the Conservative Party in the next election.

Here is my analysis of the political parties during this election:

Conservative Party:

Stephen Harper is a leader who is determined to do things his way. He has been lucky that the economy has been good up until a few weeks ago. The US mortgage lending crisis has affected other countries including Canada. Harper's failing is that he seems to not trust his own cabinet minsters and Conservative members of parliament. If he cannot trust them, then he will not trust Canadians. Why should Canadians like myself trust his Conservative Party with my vote? The thing I find worse than one party rule is one man rule. I don't trust Harper to dictate his demands over the beliefs and wishes of the citizens of Canada.

Liberal Party:

Whether or not Stéphane Dion's Green Shift/Carbon Tax plan is good, that was his main plank at the beginning of the campaign. I have a rule that I do not vote for one issue parties. The environment may be an important issue. However, there are other issues that matter to Canadians. It was only after the debates that the Liberals started to talk about other issues. I want to vote for a party that can deal with a multitude of issues. Dion and his Liberals failed to do that in the beginning of the campaign.

The NDP:

I liked how Jack Layton told Canadians that he wanted to be the next prime minister. It doesn't mean that he will this time. It does mean that he and his party are becoming serious about governing in the future. No longer can the NDP afford to be just a protest party as there are other parties such as the Greens and the Bloc Québécois which can fulfill the protest role. While keeping an eye on those who are less fortunate, the NDP will need to reach middle class voters who may have never voted NDP previously. In Canada's changing economic environment, the NDP's traditional union support base can no longer be assured. Also some union leaders such as Buzz Hargrove have given their support to other parties. On policy issues, I will say that the NDP campaign platform is reasonable and workable for the future of Canada's changing economic environment.

The Green Party:

Elizabeth May is a feisty leader. She has advanced Canadians' interests in her party. The Greens have an environmental campaign platform similar to Stéphane Dion's Liberal Party's platform. She supports the carbon tax shift. I do have a couple of concerns. One is that the Green Party is still a one-issue party. Yes, it does have stances on other issues. Nevertheless, it has supported the environment above all other issues to the point of leaving those issues aside except of campaign websites. Also, the Greens have no desire to govern yet. I want to vote for a party that is willing and able to govern.

To no surprise, I will be supporting the NDP with my vote. While I definitely won't be voting for the Conservatives, the Liberals and Greens have not earned my vote. The NDP has. Maybe next time I will support another party. This time, it will be the NDP.