Posts

The problem with FPTP

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One of the most outrageous lies told by the anti-reform folks is that 'proportional representation' will trigger the arrival of extremist politicians. That is a lie. Voters choose the parties they wish, they get the government derived from the ballot box. Its fair to suggest that our current system has done more to hasten the arrival of more extreme politics than the option of changing the system.

As evidence, it was under FPTP in Canada that thanks to the regional concentration of the right-wing separatist BQ in Quebec, a party with no more than 12% of the popular vote nationally became Her Majesty's Official Opposition in 1993' this is despite the former PC party winning a significantly larger share of the popular vote, but spread out across the nation so that they lost all but 2 seats.

Equally, the regionally concentrated, ultra conservative Reform Party in that same election went from one seat to 3rd party with over 50 seats despite a lower proportion of the popula…

A little primer on proportional representation

One of the more insidious talking points of the anti reform side is that changing to a proportional representation system will give rise to extremist groups.
This is bullshit.
The electoral system doesn't determine who gets seats, it determines how they're elected. Ultimately, voters choose who gets to represent them.
But to the false point being made by the chicken-little movement, consider Alberta for a moment. To consolidate conservative votes into one party in order to beat the NDP in '19, Jason Kenney has formed his UCP movement. 
Mathematically, it works. If you take all the right leaning votes that had split into 2 or 3 parties and replace with 1 option (assuming all vote for #1), then you win. The trouble is that among the conservative spectrum in Alberta, they have...issues.
I'll pause here for a moment and underline this: not all rational conservatives are extremist in their views. While I don't necessarily agree with their political or social views, I…

Carbon Tax: the trap that isn't

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Global writer Keith Baldrey penned an opinion piece on the coming storm regarding the carbon tax.

More than anything, it muses about the politics around the carbon levy and its future. My bet is that it isn't going anywhere. Both Justin Trudeau and John Horgan have little to be concerned about regarding the political noise being made around it.

The legal challenge.

Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have filed a legal challenge to attempt to stop the federal government from imposing a carbon tax (in the absence of a provincial one) of up to $50/tonne once fully in place. The trouble is that the federal government, constitutionally, has no limit to what tax it can impose. Literally, in Article 91(3) it reads, "The raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation.". So if I was a betting man, this challenge doesn't go far.

The Confidence and Supply Agreement

The NDP and Green Party in BC signed a "CSA" in 2017 that put the NDP into office for the first tim…

This is not ok.

Article: "Times Colonist: NDP's draft gag order could limit public dissent on party positions." (link)There is a time for internal confidentiality and there's a time for public debate. A healthy political party knows the difference and isn't afraid of the latter. So, with that, I oppose any gag order placed on party officials. I didn't join this party in 1995 to watch this party become an organization of yes-men.It is fundamental to the health of a democratic organization that it listen to voices of dissent and disagreement to help a course correction if drifting off path too far.So now what? Should a local party official (read: activist and volunteer) speak against a govt policy that runs opposite of party philosophy, is that person going to be stripped of their role? Let's be honest. If you're a member of a party, in this case the NDP, chances are that you're onside for probably 90-95% of what the govt is doing. That's what puts us all in th…

Another miscalculation by Andrew Wilkinson

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Today, BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson challenged Premier John Horgan to a debate on electoral reform. In an instant, I thought to myself, what a stunningly foolish thing to do. Already, Andrew has been on the wrong side of history on several issues.

He's opposed the popular speculation tax.He's opposed the elimination of the MSP.He's opposed ICBC reform.He's opposed the minimum wage increase.He's opposed to electoral reform.
But lets talk about electoral reform for a moment.

The NDP pledged a referendum to ask voters on an option for a proportional representation based system. Facing defeat, so did the BC Liberals in their ill-fated throne speech. Presumably, Andrew Wilkinson voted for it too.

But, here is the crux of my thinking on this:

Andrew Wilkinson has effectively made himself the leader of the anti-reform movement in BC. This is problematic in several ways (for him).


Those opposed to the BC Liberals, and recent polling puts that number between 60-65% of …

Doug Ford's power play on Toronto has implications far and wide

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So here we are with a discussion around Section 33 of the Charter of Rights, known as the Notwithstanding Clause. Not a gripping debate in many circles, except that it should be. Its usage could have a profound impact on Canadians.

In a nutshell, it permits a government to set aside a court ruling on the constitutionality for up to 5 years (pending legislation to repair/fix what was judged, or an election). So if a court rules an act is unconstitutional, a government may invoke section 33 and disregard the court ruling - so that the offending law remain in effect.

What?!

Further, Section 33 applies (when invoked) on Section 2, and section 7-15 of the Charter. Meaning, section 2's fundamental rights could be swept aside by a bully Premier. If you're keeping track, Section 2 is where your right of everything you hold dear is nicely housed.

A union's right to strike, bargain in good faith, even "exist" are threatened by S. 33. But wait! That's not all. That thin…

Populist "rent freeze" catch phrase may bring unintended consequences

Again, I don't want to minimize the struggle by middle and modest income earners who already struggle to pay rents in BC, but this call for a 'rent freeze' by some civic political candidates I believe is misguided and fraught with risks.

A Rent Freeze by definition is a price control mechanism. BC already has a rent control device, which apparently is inadequate for it to allow a 4.5% annual maximum increase for 2019. Its true that the regulatory framework that the Residential Tenancy Branch uses to establish such rate controls could use some reform.

But to arbitrarily freeze rates would open a can of worms that I believe are unintended consequences of their intended goal. In real world experiences where this has been done, its triggered an ironical result of higher rent increases and a drop in rental supply; almost the same result as general price controls in the early 70's in the OPEC Oil embargo, fuel shortages were triggered. I haven't signed up to the neo-libe…