Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strategic Voting:British Columbia

In British Columbia ridings many of the races are fairly competitive. Often the Conservatives have won because of a split among progressive voters. Choosing to support the most popular progressive candidate ie Liberal, NDP or Green would defeat the Tories in the ridings of Burnaby- Douglas, Burnaby- New Westminster, Cariboo- Prince George, Esquimalt- Juan de Fuca, Fleetwood- Port Kells, Kamloops- Thompson- Cariboo, Nanaimo- Alberny, New Westminster- Coaquitlam, Okanagan- Shuswap, Pitt Meadows- Maple ridge- Mission, Port Moody- Westwood- Port Coaquitlam, Saanich- Gulf Islands, South Surrey- White Rock- Cloverdale, Surrey North, Vancouver Island North, Vancouver Quadra,and West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast- Sea to Sky Country. Check your riding to see the best bet for defeating the Tories.

Especially important is to defeat Minister Gary Lunn in Saanich- Gulf islands, who strongly supports oil at the expense of the environment and who regards nuclear safety as an after thought.

Until we get proportional representation and one vote really does count, strategic voting and vote swapping initiatives have to be part of the environmentalist's political tool box.

Strategic voting: Alberta

Over at Vote For the Environment, they have some suggestions for avoiding vote splitting in the ridings of Edmonton Center and Edmonton-Strathcona. However, several other ridings in Alberta could swing away from the Conservatives if folks voted en masse for one opposition candidate.

Calgary Center, Calgary Centre-North, Edmonton East all could defeat the Tory incumbent if the opposition voters parked their vote with the strongest opposition candidate- in these cases Hee Sung Kim with the Liberals, John Chan with the NDP and Stephanie Laskoski of the Liberals, respectively.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vote for the environment

The idea of vote swapping- strategically voting so that the worst party wont get in- is the idea behind Votefortheenvironment.ca. This site suggests where it is possible to defeat the Conservative party, by voting for it's strongest opposition. This position is taken because only the Conservative party opposes strong environmental policies.

Facebook has a similar group that advocates vote swapping the Anti-Harper Vote Swap Canada.

These projects are necessary because Canada still uses a first-past-the-post voting system. Candidates can win a seat even though most citizens voted against them. A political party can get a majority government, even though most people voted for other candidates.
Groups who want to see fairer representation, such as Fair Vote Canada, advocate some form of proportional representation. Under such a system a party that gets 36% of the popular vote, gets 36% of the seats in the house of commons. Under the current system, the Conservative party won 36% of the vote but received 40% of the seats in Parliament.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Canada and Europe; Will Canada join the EU?

I'm all for opening of trade and labour agreements with the Europeans. But why is only the Globa & Mail and Andrew Coyne reporting this. This plan calls for a restructuring of our economy that far exceeds that of NAFTA. Unlike NAFTA, it also balances Canada between the USA and Europe, rather than selling our interests to our neighbours to the south.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

More In-and-Out; Tories bully their own into silence

The Tory brass referred to their own people in crude fashion, bullying their own people who questioned the In-and-Out campaign finance scandal.

When is anyone going to point out that this scheme attempts to defraud tax payers, as well as defying Election Laws?

The Green Shift explained

Ok, I'll cut your income tax, but you'll have to pay more at the pump.

What is so bloody complex about that? If you sell the Hummer and get a Toyota, you save money. If you reduce your gas consumption, you pollute less and save even more money.

Less income tax= more money in your pocket.
Higher gas tax = reduction in gas consumption= less pollution.

In the long run, this will encourage energy saving and investment in alternative energy sources.

Only journalists could have trouble explaining this.
(oddly enough, this policy is completely inline with fiscal conservative economic theory- but wont boost the bottom line for BIG OIL- Stephen Harper's closest friends)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Drinking the Koolaid; Tory economic promises unfulfilled

The mantra of fiscal conservatism calls for a free market with minimal taxes and minimal government spending. The Conservative party has always made this a cornerstone of their election promises. In practice, historically, they have always over spent government money, usually by borrowing, so as not to raise taxes during their mandates. This is spelled out in an article in the Ottawa Citizen, Evaluating Harper's economic performance, written by Randall Denley:

Harper refers to prudent spending, but that's hardly the case. Harper's budgets have forecast big increases in government spending, then exceeded those targets. Their first budget called for a substantial 5.4-per-cent spending increase. The actual figure was 7.5 per cent. The next budget forecast 5.6 per cent more spending and came in at 6.9 per cent. That's faster spending growth than under Liberal Paul Martin. So far this fiscal year, federal spending is growing at an 8.4-per-cent rate. Where's the discipline?

Harper has lowered the GST by two points and created various small, gimmicky tax breaks, but he hasn't made any significant progress on cutting personal income taxes. Harper did get the lowest tax rate down by half a percentage point, but that only reversed an increase he had made the year before.

Given the increase in spending, and mismanagement that has the government sliding into deficit, it seems that we're not better off with Harper.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Adam's magnan's marathon: post4

So today I'll be out there again. First run since I injured my ankle, last weekend. A little shorter- I'm planning 16Km. I'll let you (I think one person in the blogoshere is moderately interested in my progress) know how it went.


Hu-ah!- 20 km in 2:20. Yes, I'm a little proud of myself. Not bad considering I was pushing a running stroller and stopping to do a set of strength exercises every klick or so. The ankle gave me no problems and I think the forced rest was good for my performance. But now the real hard work begins. Strength ( that means hills) and even longer runs(that means up to 38km).

Big shout out to my buddy Roger S., who is running a half-marathon, today.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Towards a science of morals?

Drawing on Shweder's ideas, I would say that the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way. -Jonathan Haidt "What makes people vote Republican".

This explains why Obama and Clinton have such momentum- they understand the desire of many people to be in the in group, and for an authority figure that is also compassionate(I feel your pain). Obama especially appeals to a sense of higher purpose.

If these values are inate, then we must accept them and channel them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Greenshift vs Notaleader; election websites

If you go to the Liberal's green shift site you can calculate whether or not you will gain or lose money( I wound up ahead by over a hundred bucks a month). If you go to the Conservatives' Not A leader site, you get a lesson in cyber bullying. The NDP has a lot of pictures of Jack Layton and 'blogging tools" so bloggers can customise their blogs to look like the main NDP site.

Le Bloq Quebecois est present. Ils ne bouge pas, je suppose.

The Green party has maintained a pleasant green theme at their main party website, but at this time still are refering to the by-elections that were canceled by the General Election.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Gutless; Are we better off with a coward?

Mr.Harper informed The Broadcast Consortium- the group of major broadcasters that sponsor the leadership debates during Canadian elections- that he wouldn't attend the debate if the leader of the Green party, Elizabeth May was allowed to attend. In fact, three of the four party leaders, Messrs. Layton and Duceppe also said they wouldn't attend if the Green party was represented. Stephane Dion was prepared to include the Green party leader.
Jack Layton has the minimal courage to stand behind his words Wrong!

Mr. Layton said it was the television networks that were responsible for preventing her participation.

“The networks have made a decision now. They've decided to use the rules that were used the last time,” he told reporters.

- Harper and Duceppe are backpedaling and blaming the Consortium. Of course, the Consortium could have told the Prime Minster that if he was afraid to face Elizabeth May, he needn't turn up. Harper couldn't stay away- he would look an even bigger coward and bully than he does now.

I do agree with someone that texted a local radio show; The Election Act should be amended so that the minimum requirements for participation were clearly set out.

Jack Layton gave in when his own party members argued for May's inclusion. As a result Harper backed down and agreed to attend the leadership debates, along with Dion, Harper, Duceppe and May.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Tory Majority; Not yet

My liberal/progressive friends have been bemoaning the Tory Juggernaut, and its anticipated majority. I have maintained that the Tories will lose popular vote, because the high poll numbers often reported are outliers- the typical three- week numbers have the liberals and Conservatives much closer in popularity.

I have also asserted that overwhelming Tory support in a few ridings fails to address the underwhelming support in many ridings. Apparently, the Ipsos-Reid polling firm agrees with this assessment.

Valuing family: Children as campaign assets

Macleans reports that in an interview with the CTV Stephen Harper refers to his children as "great campaign assets". For an economist to refer to his children that way says a lot about how he values family- as an asset, like a stock portfolio, or a second car.

This guy is a family-values conservative? All hat, no cattle...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Adam's Magnan's Marathon post 3; my first setback

A twisted ankle while helping a friend yesterday has postponed today's long run of twenty kilometers. Still, the enforced rest might be timely in respect to the work I've done over the last few months.

Still the promise of a dinner after a 42km run calls to me. Onward to next week!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Drinking the Tory Cool-aid

Cadman, Listeria poisoning, medical isotopes, Maxim Bernier, In-and-Out, fixed election date...

The Conservative government has taken us to the edge of a federal deficit and engaged in a campaign financing scandal that may have poured millions of tax payers dollars into Conservative party coffers, while violating the elections act by overspending. Stephen Harper's government were coached in how to disrupt the committee process which is critical for a functioning government; now He violates his own fixed election date law.

What is in the Tory Kool-aid that lets it's own supporters think this is an honest, fiscally conservative, law-and-order party?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Harper & Quebec; The Tories as Sovereignists

Stephen Harper is courting the seperatist vote in Quebec, much the way Brian Mulroney did before him. In that case, the short term benefit to the Conservatives paved the way to the 1995 Sovereignty referendum, and gave birth to the Bloq Quebecois in the federal Parliament.

This strategy hasn't received much coverage in the English press, so I've included a link to a French language version of the story.

The ruthlessness with which Stephen Harper pursues power is almost breath taking. It is a pity that much of the electorate equates ruthlessness with leadership. The hypocrisy inherent in Harper's courting the sovereignists while criticising the Liberal and Green party's attempts at bi-partisanship hasn't yet come back to haunt the Tories. Perhaps this attempt at a Bloquiste - Tory pact would appear less palatable if the rest of Canada was more aware of it. Certainly the cynicism of Stephen Harper in assuming Canadians wont notice what he's doing speaks to a ruthlessness that seems at odds with announced goals of transparency, and fair government.

Perhaps Canadians might be less enamoured with the Conservative party if they realised the Tory strategy assumes Canadians lack the brains to notice Stephen Harper, when he talks to them at all, talks out of both sides of his mouth.

Monday, September 01, 2008

34.3 percent and falling; Stephen Harper's greater fool theory

"You can fool some of the people, some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time" -Attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

Between Adam's Ears stands by its prediction that the Conservative Party will not garner more than 34.3% of the popular vote in the next election. Angus Reid Strategies reports that the Conservatives are polling 36% to the Liberals 28%.

However, the details of that poll reveal that Stephen Harper is distrusted by many. That the environment is seen as the top issue by Canadians, transcending short-term issues reveals the fundamental weakness of the Conservative party, both as politicians and leaders. As the Tory's ads say "Stephen Harper is a straight-up guy who knows what he thinks" but try and get him to tell you in detail what he thinks and his party publishes a vague press release. So although many people feel he has a vision for this country (and I'm certain he has), those people may also feel that vision has more in common with Dante's 'Inferno' than what most Canadians really want for their families, their country and the world around us.

It is important to remember that last Conservative government doubled both the national debt and deficit while in office. Despite talking the talk of fiscal conservatism, the current Conservative government has increased the national debt and flirted with a deficit during the last two fiscal quarters.

Although the efforts by our troops to secure Afghanistan are honourable and deserve our respect, the policy that keeps them there has more to do with 'making nice' with the current George Bush administration than anything to gain from the 'dirty little wars of empire' of which the original mission to Afghanistan has degenerated into.

I expect tomorrow, or shortly after, Stephen Harper is going to call an election, a year earlier than his own fixed election-date law calls for. He hopes that people will forget the election fraud investigations that hover over his party, the privatisation of food inspection that preceded the Listeriosis outbreak (claiming nine lives so far),and the Bernier scandals. After the Chuck Cadman tape scandal, his lame policy failure attacking gay marrige(bigotry at the least) and his turning a blind eye to turncoat MP's(such as Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson who switched from the Liberals) after saying that such behavior should be banned reveals one thing;

Stephen Harper thinks at least 36% of Canadians are too stupid to notice when he's lying. And in Conservative party strategy, that is all the people they have to fool.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster