Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Elections - Why Bother, They're Awful ( #Pickering #pickpoli )

There are a lot of people out applauding Pickering City Council's decision to appoint rather than hold a by-election to fill the vacant Ward 3 council seat because - as the argument goes - holding a by-election serves no one because it's expensive, it'd be held during an inclement time of the year, and voter turnout is low. Why bother?

Well, when you put it that way - no wonder no one turns up to vote at *any* time. It sounds positively dreadful. Voting seems to be an awful inconvenience to be avoided at all costs.

Elections cost money. Worse? It costs taxpayer's money and no good comes from spending any money on something that somebody has to participate in. You have to pay people to set up the boxes, count the ballots, rent the spaces, publish the results. All, to elect someone who is ostensibly required to make the decision on how to spend taxpayer's money. If you could just bypass that whole election process, wouldn't that be better? Saves money. Cuts out the middleman.

You may have heard the old joke - Canada has two seasons, winter and July. Every election and by-election ever held in this country is at the wrong time of the year depending on who you ask. You can't hold them during the summer, because everybody's at the cottage. You can't hold them during the winter, because it might snow. Don't hold an election leading up to or immediately following a long weekend either because reasons. Don't hold an election close to another election happening elsewhere in the same or adjacent area.

By my count, there's about 4 hours in June ideal for an election in Canada.

If by this point, you've haven't been put off voting and you still mark an [X] - let me tell you, the odds are you're a rarity in voting. Or, at least that's what we're told. "Nobody votes!", "nobody participates!", "they don't teach civic responsibility in schools!" ...

Well, no wonder.

We spend a great deal of time convincing people how awful elections are.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night, #Remain ( #Brexit #EUref )

I'm expanding on a Facebook rant I went on.

From Facebook.

One of the tenets of a strong democracy, is a loud vocal opposition. So, I say this to the Remainers ...

The leaders of Leave campaign are weak and have showed their cards. They made unfounded threats, invoked emotional outbursts, dire warnings, and impressed upon voters the immediacy of the need to withdraw from the European Union.

Hold them to it.

Why haven't they insisted on invoking Article 50? Why are they letting the Prime Minister and the governing Conservatives off the hook till Cameron's successor is chosen? They have a clear mandate - why the delay? Why do they want a sober second opportunity to renegotiate their place in the Union? Why do you have to remain quiet because they won?

The Scots, who held an independence referendum not too long ago, were promised continued EU membership. What now?

Screw it. And, screw the people that say, "Well, let it go .. the people have spoken."

Contrary to public opinion, shutting up because you lost is *not* democracy. Do you think the leadership and campaigners for Leave would be quiet had Remain won? Not a chance.

Sign the petitions. Join the Liberal Democrats. Move to Canada. Start a blog. Make ‪#‎WeAreFucked‬ trend on Twitter.

They made the bed, they get to lie in it.

There's liberation in being in Opposition and being right.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

A Wide-Open Liberal Party ( #LPC #WPG2016 #cdnpoli )

The big news is the public announcement of the proposed changes to the Liberal Party constitution (via National Newswatch):
The proposal, adopted Saturday by the party's national board during a three-hour meeting with the prime minister in Halifax, would do away entirely with the long-held principle that only dues-paying, card-carrying members are entitled to take part in party activities.
Reviewing this preliminary release, I am certainly in favour of some of the proposed changes and cautiously optimistic about the rest.

I've always long supported open conventions, especially when developing policy. I think more consensus brought about by talking with more people is a good thing. Having run and lost delegate selection meetings, it can be deflating when you want to participate.

I think the challenge will be in the open nominations part. I think it's going to have the unintended consequence of calling for more transparency in  the party's Green Light process. Not necessarily a bad thing.

That said - I'm not entirely sure $10 is an insurmountable barrier to openness. It represents a commitment to the ideals of the party. The Conservative Party, in contrast, raised their membership fee to $25 to prevent openness and restrict access to reforming the party.

I'm presuming delegates will be presented with the formal proposal prior to the convention and I'll review the details then.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Report: How the Right to Deny the Existence of God is Under Threat Globally

Via, the Independent, How the right to deny the existence of God is under threat globally:
Atheists and humanists are increasingly being targeted as distinct minorities in “hate campaigns” across the globe, according to a new report which found that religious and political leaders are ratcheting up rhetoric against those who believe there is no God.
... 
The Freedom of Thought Report, which rates every country in the world for anti-atheist persecution, found that almost all countries discriminate against the non-religious, in some cases through religious privilege or legal exemption.
Canada's blasphemous libel law, religious tax exemptions, and public funding of religious schools made the report (among others).

From Canada's section within the report, on page 191:
Despite what should be strong constitutional protections for freedom of thought and expression, significant religious privileges are in force [in Canada], both nationally and in several of its ten provinces and three territories.

You can download the full report here.

I was pleased to see the Liberal Party of Canada (Alberta) propose a resolution to repeal Canada's blasphemous libel law. I hope to see it on the Winnipeg biennial floor.

It's certainly far worse elsewhere in the world, no question. Doesn't mean there isn't work to be done here.

Hopefully, we can remove some of these policies.