I was at a meeting of my neighborhood association last week and the redrawing of electoral districts was discussed. This NA has in the past been pretty aggressive about protecting the public interest in the area. Lately it has grown a bit timid. It seems they have been defeated a few times in opposing developers since the McGuinty government came in. The people in command now have a bad case of the "rational" disease. They can not believe that people with power simply do not have to listen to them. They are not willing to do what they have to, in order to make themselves listened to.
So there was a report delivered about the redrawing of boundaries by the Electoral boundaries commission. This area has been in Toronto Center and is now going to be cut up, with part of it going to a new riding which runs along the waterfront. It seems several other standing communities are going to be split up in this way, for federal voting. And the provincial and city boundaries follow the lead of the federal government.
I recall that this problem was thought to have been corrected. But now I understand that it has been changed back again. It seems the boundary commission is determined to have it this way.
I spoke briefly to this meeting but I do not think they were listening very well. Basically, It is called Gerrymandering and it has an old tradition in Canada. They always do this. Every way they can possible split up an area which tends to lean to the left, they do. They will split it two, three, even four ways.
The only real solution for it is voting reform creating multi member districts under proportional representation. Half of these people still do not have a clue what PR is and it was not the place or time to go into it, because they were already wanting to move on to another topic. But this problem of unjust voting boundaries is yet another selling point of PR.
There is still going to be a public hearing about the boundary changes next week and I am going to that. But the Gerrymandering is a big topic and I am not going into it in depth here. I will simply urge people to not listen to any fuffle about it; it is not hard to draw the boundaries fairly.
Over twenty years ago, I lived in Calgary. I got my hands on city survey information about the neighborhoods, their populations, demographics, and boundaries. Using this, I found it was not difficult at all to draw provincial election boundaries which respected communities and which were closely equal in population.
In Alberta the electoral map is extremely gerrymandered, with huge differences between ridings. I found it was very difficult to make them that way; they really had to work at it. They were very definitely working to insure that as few ridings as possible had large left leaning blocks in them.
Of course, not many people were interested in my findings. But I am little interested anymore either because, as I said, the ultimate solution is PR.
But there is plenty of useful info about poorly drawn electoral boundaries from the Mowat Center at http://www.mowatcentre.ca/pdfs/mowatResearch/72.pdf
Further to promoting PR. I have been puzzled about who or what to actually support in the Toronto Center byelection. It is being held under the old boundaries, of course. What would best serve the cause of Proportional Representation?
I am going to have to vote early, I am an election worker, so I will not any guidance on that from FVC, if it comes at all. I do not know if the Toronto Action group are trying to get a return from each candidate from that form the got Elizabeth May to sign. Or what to make of it.
I have concluded that this will not make much difference to PR because there is really nothing on the ground working to promote the cause of PR or of a voting alliance. I checked in with this Canadian Voting Alliance group and find that they seem little interested in the by-election. I might as well vote as I please.
I am not going to vote Liberal. I thought about the NDP because I like the candidate Linda MacQuaig. Or rather, her writing because I have never actually met her. But my concern is with the NDP party apparatus and its noxious,"we own the tracks" mentality. If they were to actually get a provincial or federal seat here, would this get even worse?
Once upon a time it was not too hard to speak with a candidate during an election. I tried arranging that at the Deeper campaign office the other day. The people who were running the office were different from the fairly personable people who were there the first time I was around. These were typical authoritarian left types who I have small patience with.
So, what is left but the Greens? I went over to the Green office and talked with the person running their little cubby hole command post. I might not have made the greatest impression because I was struggling with my usual 12 PM fibrofog attack, worse that day for some reason, maybe just the change of weather.
She was still fairly civil to talk to. Somehow I got into a debate with her about the climate change issue. I say that the world is cooling down according to solar cycles, not heating up. How about that, ecofanatic? She was not a fanatic.
The global warming and "carbon" nonsense is a diversion from real environmental problems. This is what ruling elites always to to head off opposition. This is why so many envirostiks seem to think Fukushima is all over and haven't got a clue about resource depletion.
The global warming hoax originated with the nuclear industry but works so well as a cover for so many nefarious activities that a huge industry has grown up just promoting it. And no, there are no scientists claiming there is real global warming. Any working meteorologist will tell you that global temperatures are regulated by solar activity and the water vapor mechanism.
But the global warming hoax provides a cover for;
1) weather modification programs, eg. "weather war"
2) crooked "carbon" trading schemes designed to enrich speculators.
3) continuing imperialism, preventing poor countries from using their resources to industrialize and raise their living standards.
4) misdirection of attention away from real threats to the environment.
5) the nastiest aspect of environmental extremism, the Neo-Malthusians, as in "lets reduce the planet's population by a few billion..."
Eventually there is going to be a big rebound against all this crap, and if the Green party does not distance itself from it, it will be severely harmed. The worst thing about that would be, as I have said, that the real environmental issues would be discredited as well.
I chattered on with the Green lady. I said I had not supported the Greens the past two elections because I was turned off by Elizabeth May's remarks about not being so worried about getting seats. I recall a couple of Green candidates, including one who might have won with better support, were also annoyed.
However, I had actually done some work for the Greens in the two elections in which Chris Tyndale was the candidate in Toronto Center; including the byelection of 2008 where he almost outdid the NDP candidate.
Green lady knew of no candidates debates which I did not also know about. It seems the Greens tried to organize one themselves but the Liberals said they did not want to attend one that was on the environment; too narrow an issue. Yet they will attend one on educational policy? Pft!
For some reason Green lady thought I might be from the Toronto islands. I assured her that I was aware of Harper cancelling the per vote subsidy. However, it was never a good idea for any political party to rely on that instead of on developing a fundraising machine.
In the end I took some leaflets home to put through the doors of my own building. That job is done. And on the way home I stopped into the Elections Canada office to vote.
I looked at the ballot paper and saw many of the usual suspects. There is the "engineer" who thinks we can make free fuel from water. And I wish somebody would finally put Kevin Clarke out of his misery.
So I wrote "Deverell" on the ballot paper, put it in the envelope and sealed it, all ready for voting day. You should be trying to at least place second, John. It is possible.
To conclude, I should say something about the Ford fiasco. The most important point I have heard made about it was the deadly effect it will all have on hiring good people for the city staff. Once upon a time Toronto had a good civil service. That was before amalgamation, which was done simply to wreck municipal government.
One thing about Capitalism, especially the brand practiced in Ontario, influenced by the old family compact mentality, is that it absolutely hates local government. For over fifteen years now, everything has been done to insure that Toronto stays dysfunctional. The province have been able to get away with it because Torontonians are so reluctant to challenge power.
This is why the idea that the Province should not intervene to remove Ford is so upside down. It never hesitates to intervene to screw things up, but stays out when intervention would actually help. The real problem here is the governance structure forced on Toronto by the province.
There is no way of removing an incompetent mayor or councillor. The structure insures we will get a lot of them. We have had a series of dingalings in the Mayor's chair since amalgamation.
A mayor should be appointed by the council from among its members. That way we would not need to find the plumber who can fix the crack in Ford's pipe.