2 min

A basic math problem

It seems that NDP interim leader Nycole
Turmel has an issue with representation by population. Speaking about the
upcoming legislation that will give more seats to BC, Alberta and Ontario, Turmel
called it “divisive.” The NDP position is that Quebec should maintain
its current proportion of seats (around 24 percent) even if its population
hasn’t grown to maintain it, and Turmel wants more consultation to maintain
rural, northern and First Nations representation. Err, except that you can’t
keep some provinces overrepresented while trying to keep others from
being underrepresented. It’s called math. Also, there is already a chamber
devoted to representing the North, First Nations, linguistic
minorities and, in fact, smaller provinces in the face of representation by
population. It’s called the Senate. Enough said.

In its report on the last federal
election, Elections Canada notes things such as the total cost, irregularities and the role of social media in transmitting results early. It also wants to
do a test of internet voting, which, in my opinion, is actually a
Very Bad Idea. Why? Because it undermines things that we’ve built in to the
secret ballot to protect voters, such as checking their identity, ensuring that they are not
observed as they cast their ballots and that no one is coercing them at the polling
booth (either by force, intimidation or with the promise of a bottle of rum,
as was the practice in parts of this country for so many years). There are no
safeguards for someone setting up an “internet polling station” at their local
pub and encouraging attendees to vote for one particular candidate by being rewarded
on the spot. As well, there is a
fundamental accountability of having an "X" marked on a piece of paper.
Electronic vote counts are susceptible to hacking and perceptions of
conspiracy-theory programming where certain votes are counted more than others (whether
this is true or not, judging from the American experience). But hey, why not
undermine the perfectly good system we have in the name of “modernity?” That seems to be what we’re all about these days.

What’s that? Our federal “fixed election
date” is going to cause collisions with provincial elections in the foreseeable
future? You don’t say! Can we kindly blow up this useless and
counterproductive (and anti-democratic in that it goes against one of the most
basic principles of responsible government) law? Thanks!

The federal ombudsman for victims of crime wants her
reports made public. Perhaps the government isn’t doing so because the
previous ombudsman liked to point out that victims-support services
weren’t really backed up by anything substantial. But hey! Tough on crime,
everyone!

Oh, look – the township administrator contradicts Tony Clement’s version of events around the G8 legacy funds. Funny
that.

Liberal MP Hedy Fry held a press conference
in Ottawa to remind everyone that the federal government is not showing
leadership
 on healthcare and has abandoned the goals of the 2004 health accords, such as homecare and catastrophic drug coverage. Leona Aglukkaq’s staff
responded with a “Yeah, well the Liberals cut transfer payments!” Because
that’s a grown-up conversation.

And Liberal Senator Colin Kenny blasts Harper for using the “royal” name change for the Navy and Air Force to
brandish the image rather than doing something substantial about the problems
they face with new ships and aircraft.

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