home

Some things to  say to  the FVC people about PR and gerrymandering,  the Green party and Toronto centre, and Rob Ford and local government.  

about PR and Gerrymandering

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

about Toronto Center

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. 

about the Greens

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. 

about Ford

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.