Some things to write about again. Wow, I got busy with something else and forgot to send this off for a few days. Enjoy. BTW; a few people are starting to sub into this list on their own. Welcome!
1) Les Dames de Salon
2) by-by election
3) where is the upswing?
4) where is FVC-T?
I attended this "Democracy Salon" to find out just what this "Canadian Electoral Alliance" was all about. The big things I found out were that it should really be called the Toronto Electoral Alliance because it works only in Toronto and does not seem to have too much connection to these other groups they talk about, all across the country. Also, the people in it are predominantly elderly and female.
There was one person there young, oriental and female, who seemed to make it her job to keep everything running. I get an impression she works for somebody else and facilitates this group as some sort of front or annex. I tried to keep my mouth shut as much as possible but I ended up having to explain to a couple of them just what an "Open List" system is.
When you have multi member districts, a closed list is when the party submits its list of candidates as is, take it or leave it. An open list is when the voters get to rank order the candidates, as well as vote for the party. This might be done by any of the approval or rank order methods.
I think we also talked about why STV is so useful in municipal politics. I suggested that it was because it works without political parties. However, trying to run a polity the size of the City of Toronto without political parties does not work well anyway and at some point parties have to rise up from underground, which is where they are now.
The best form of PR is just the straight system, parties running in large constituencies. Every other system tags on some sort of single member or individual candidate system as a sop to people who fetishize individual representation. It is always just needless complexity but it does not change the eventual outcome, so if it makes people happy...
I said that the biggest problem with STV is that it is so complicated to process the vote. I got told that Meslin thinks that with computers, the vote is easy, and so this is no problem. I did not have the time space to fully answer this, but it is getting the data into the computer that gets very complicated, and that nothing to do with elections should be done on a computer anyway; it cannot be made secure.
I also said that we have already heard more than we need to about Meslin; he should go back up his ass and be heard of no more. I had intended to keep my mouth shut and profile low...
However, it seems Meslin is going away from the Alternative Vote idea for city government. Apparently when he first shopped this idea with city officials he was told that STV was unsellable but people might accept the AV idea. Now some power people are telling him that it might be possible to get political types at city hall to consider STV.
My question would be; who appointed Meslin as the arbitrager of what kind of voting reform the elite will allow us to have? As well, what kind of whacko-bird decides that everybody else has to go along with it or be attacked, harassed, and disrupted by him and his little following? He and his style of "activism" is not acceptable even if he completely renounces AV tomorrow.
What else can I tell you? The discussion was fairly unstructured, no written agenda, so I had some difficulty following just what they had done and were planning. They want to do some sort of event but do it away from the 519 Church, which you have to book far in advance. I think they are going to do whatever it is in Metro Hall.
I wonder if these people might be interested in my idea of a public event specifically about options for local government; a "local democracy fair". I did not bring it up, although the FVC Toronto (in) action group has shown no interest. Maybe at the next "democracy salon" if I find out about it in time.
They also discussed the "Democracy on Danforth" event. They talked about the by-election and seemed to have the idea that the voting reform movement needs to work hard on the Liberals. Yet one of these old gals thought Justin Trudeau was so cute she would vote for him anyway.
These people do seem to have some idea of the strategic importance of this by-election for the voting reform movement. They did not come to any decision about action. They might go and talk to Chrystia Freeland about voting reform; she seems to be very much a Justin gal and might help to turn him around.
I do not think it works quite that way.
Based on my experience at the Liberal campaign office, I am not optimistic about that. But I have been up to the new NDP office as well. It is next door to that old Mason's hall the Masons want to buy back. Yeek!
The two warring parties headquarters are in opposite ends of the contested terrain. The Liberals are down here in Olde Towne and the Deepers are up there in the Annex. If they both started marching down Church street at the same time they would clash somewhere between Carlton and Dundas.
I went over there. I asked the guy at the desk what he thought about voting reform. He thought most of the people he knows socially are for it, but the people who are working in the office are mostly NDP true believers who are totally focussed on winning the election. I got put on a slip to get a call from Linda MacQ about the subject, doubt if she actually calls, but I took home enough flyers to do my own apartment building. ( I even wore my orange t-shirt while I distributed them. Sorry, John.)
So that is how the by-election goes so far. It does not look like Fair Vote Toronto is taking much interest in it. It all looks to me like an opportunity going to waste.
Back to strictly FVC matters, here is the reply I got back from Stuart Parker to my last post;Tim, I think that FVC is on a real upswing. Here's my last blog post as an FVC director: http://stuartparker.ca/stepping-down-as-fair-vote-canada-vice-president/
Well, if it is on an upswing I have not seen it yet. Having a chat with this new executive director would clarify things for me. But the same people are still on the board. Most of the membership still does not seem to understand what is going on.
I am fairly jaundiced by seeing organizations fail over and over because they cannot deal with attacks intended to silence or co-opt them. The usual rule when dealing with people carrying out such attacks is that if you can't get rid of them, they have won. You cannot just keep butting heads with them indefinitely.
But now Stuart Parker has resigned form the board and as vice president, and seems to think he has worked his miracle within the org and can move on. I have noticed his capacity for self delusion, particularly when he posted his critique of Meslin at city hall, which he thought was something wonderfully witty.
It works wonderfully with Meslin's framing strategy of trying to create the impression that nobody in the voting reform movement has any real problem with what he says. People are offering mere quibbles against him because of a personal dislike; there are no real differences.
Now, if you have read Stuart's blog, you would say that his analysis of the problem in his first point, about "A Toronto "social entrepreneur" and the personality cult centred around him," is accurate. However, point two, about disastrous decisions of the FVC board that nearly killed the organization, is misleading. It implies that the problem is now solved.
Why is it solved? The same people are still on the board. The structure is still the same. Maybe Stuart has done something he is not telling us, or maybe he is kidding himself again. "Social entrepreneur" cults often lay low for awhile when they see that they have taken things too far too quick and opposition is coalescing.
As for point three, did Meslin really cause the scorched earth conflict that has been going on lately? FVC has always been somewhat acrimonious; all the fights about petty details of voting systems. But in fact, rather than scorch any earth, most of FVC folded up like a paper bag when confronted by the Mesloids. This set the stage for the scorched earth battle, as a small group of people were left to defend the voting reform movement.
Thus it is sanctimonious chicken-shits who bring about "unsafe and conflict ridden spaces". They open the door for the trolls, they interfere with those defending them against the trolls, and they insult their own defenders by making them out as equally responsible for the conflict that the chicken shits themselves brought about.
Thus I do not care for Parker's remark that it is now up to us to resolve his third point. He gives us all a pretty big job but he is checking out of it himself. He says that the trauma of the last couple of years will take a long time to heal, but we do not have a long time. FVC is supposed to be an advocacy organization, not group therapy. The best people in it want to work on advocacy, not in head butting with people who are in the way and will not go away.
One of the most interesting things he says is that he does not fit in well with the Central Canadian culture in FVC. No, that culture he talks about is not geographically bound. It is the middle class Canadian mentality.
Nothing can get done unless everybody agrees to it. Then somebody else has to actually get the job done. The people who do the work have no say in how it gets done. So nothing gets done, except very slowly, and often the wrong thing in he wrong way. In some "cultures" the people who do the work decide how it gets done and everyone else follows or gets the hell out of the way.
But Stuart has some good news for us too! He wants to start a new organization called MOVE! This is a very good idea; get Conservatives into the voting reform movement. It is a good time for it; conservatives are starting to notice that the "repeal the whole twentieth century" idea is getting them nowhere. Maybe we can get "progressive" back together with "conservative".
As well, it is looking like we need multiple organizations working for voting reform; they cannot all be taken down at once.
Now, here is another link. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2013/10/07/toronto_needs_a_ranked_ballot_voting_system_in_city_elections_editorial.html
This Star editorial is really offensive rubbish. But what is more offensive is; the voting reform movement is absent while this move to AV for Toronto rolls right along. There is no opposition to it at all. FVC Toronto seems to have gone underground.
So, how is this a turnaround for FVC?
I think enough has been said of the importance of opposing and stopping this move to AV in Toronto. A strategy for doing this would have three parts.
One is to begin publicizing an alternative to Alternative vote. In Toronto, that is STV. But there are other ideas which need to go with it, such as a mayor chosen by council, which would be a very popular idea after Ford. And the concept of the city's fundamental laws being decided by a participatory process, not by city councillors in a Conflict of Interest.
The second part is to start lobbying the provincial government about this. Find out where the politicians heads are at about it.
The third thing, which most central Canadians have a hard time getting their heads around, is that AV is not something to "respectfully disagree" with anybody about. It is despicable and the people pushing it should be shamed for doing so. Especially, for the nasty way they have of going about it.