Archive for the ‘History’ Category
Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s idea of “expenses” is a little different than mine.
Meanwhile, the Senate’s internal economy committee wants to have another look at Duffy’s expense claims amid growing questions about his conduct, including new revelations that he filed claims for Senate business while campaigning for the Conservatives in the last federal election.
“Documents revealed that Duffy billed taxpayers for being on official Senate business while he was campaigning for the Conservatives during the 2011 federal election. If it is confirmed that Duffy attended eight campaign events and submitted Senate expenses, he could be in trouble for double-billing.”
Wasn’t Prime Minister Stephen Harper going to reform the Senate?
One might think “Harvard-educated Bay Street lawyer and banker” Nigel Wright would know better than to write a cheque to cover Senator Mike Duffy’s exense irregularities.
“It goes without saying that a cheque for such a large amount is far from a customary standard of hospitality, nor a normal expression of courtesy,” [MP Charlie] Angus wrote in a letter.
“The NDP MP also suggested that Duffy, Wright, or both may have breached section 16 of the Parliament of Canada Act which prohibits a senator from receiving compensation for any services rendered.”
I’m always surprised when government tells us “throwing money at” education and health care are a bad idea. Properly funding social programs makes a lot more sense to me than covering up bad behaviour. I guess we just have different priorities.
[Pamela] Wallin, a former journalist who now represents Saskatchewan in the Senate, has claimed about $321,000 in travel expenses since September 2010 that are the subject of an audit by an outside firm.
Senators Duffy and Wallin both claim to have withdrawn from the Conservative caucus, but both plan to stay on as “independent” senators.
Uh huh… Does anyone actually believe they will suddenly stop supporting Conservative interests? Seriously?
Another Conservative Government appointee, Daniel Caron, the head of Library and Archives Canada has also resigned over $170,000 of dubious expenses.
Since LAC is the official government repository of Canadian heritage,this one bothers me in particular.
Coping with a $10-million federal budget cut, Caron oversaw major staff downsizing to the department, reduced funding to scores of tiny archives across Canada, halted most acquisitions of historical artifacts, closed the National Archival Development Program, and stopped a system of inter-library loans through which Canadians could access material from its vast collections.
When you consider that what Mr. Caron considers personal expenses would support as many as ten or fifteen families on social assistance for a year, it calls into question the word “conservative.”
The National Post gets this one right: Andrew Coyne: Fear of audits led Conservatives to cover for Mike Duffy
Canada badly needs meaningful electoral reform. If we had a democratic system that actually represented Canadians ~ Proportional Representation ~ our government representatives and appointees could be held accountable.
What a difference that would make.
While Ontario was poised to discover whether or not our provincial minority government would be converted to a majority in today’s By-Election, we looked at TV news to see what was happening. It’s been years since I’ve had television; normally I get me news online, but I was away from home so we tried it out.
CTV has a 24 hour news channel. Unfortunately it wasn’t running anything about the election.
Granted, By-elections usually don’t change the status quo, but this was different. One seat could make a huge difference to all Ontarians, by transforming a Liberal minority government into a majority.
With our winner-take-all electoral system, minority government is the closest we get to democracy.
The results of this By-Election will impact on the whole province. So there is a lot of interest in this one. So why wasn’t CTV’s news channel covering it? Maybe they think Canadians aren’t interested in politics?
Okay, there was one little factoid squib floating across the ticker along the bottom periodically, but the news they were covering? Well, they kept cutting back to Jo Biden droning on and on live from the American Democratic Convention. This wasn’t news, this was filler. Although the outcome of the American Democratic convention will likely have impact on the rest of the world, this wasn’t it.
And it certainly wasn’t more important than the actual breaking news of an important Ontario election in Ontario.
CBC has a news channel too. Although they had a piece on the Quebec provincial election, they weren’t actually covering the breaking news of the Ontario election results ~ they were cutting back to the American convention as well.
Maybe they think we aren’t interested in Canadian politics?
Poppycock. Maybe the “news media” isn’t doing the job we think it is.
Breaking out my computer I popped into Twitter and lo and behold, breaking news.
Turns out that the Liberal Candidate Steven Del Duca won in Vaughan as expected.
But the Kitchener-Waterloo riding was a different story: NDP Candidate, Catherine Fife won big. Here are the unofficial results
The television part of the mainstream media has certainly failed us; it is, at best, entertainment, not news. Real news lives online.
Just as our antiquated 18th Century electoral system fails us every time.
Although I am quite pleased with Catherine Fife’s win in Kitchener-Waterloo, the disturbing reality is that, although she won the vote handily, 59% of Kitchener-Waterloo voters did not vote for her.
In spite of all that, I’m sure she’ll do an excellent job, so I’d like to congratulate Catherine Fife, Kitchener-Waterloo’s new NDP MPP.
“One of the main Twitter hashtags relating the Quebec actions is #manifencours, an abbreviation of “manifestation en cours, meaning simply “demonstration in the streets.”
— Salon: Dissent, à la Québécoise
When I went to college every eligible Canadian could reasonably access the education they wanted.
In Ontario, students could apply for OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) and, depending on financial circumstance could get loans and/or grants to ensure they could get an education. Without the grants I received, I very much doubt I would have gone to college.
Ontario was looking to cut back the year I graduated. Because I was well aware how important government assistance was for me, I attended my first Queen’s Park protest this bad policy.
It didn’t help.
By the time my younger siblings began their post secondary education, grants were gone. Ironically, those in government deciding to decrease education funding today were themselves beneficiaries of an accessible educational system.
education for some
How many of our young people who should be attending college or university are driving cab or slinging Mcfood? How many are unwilling to mortgage the rest of their lives in repaying their debt-fueled education?
Perhaps the ones with the capacity to solve world hunger, develop a faster-than-light drive or cure Cancer or AIDS will never get the chance to fulfil their potential.
That isn’t just their loss, it’s ours.
Day 136: Quebec Student Strike
When we see Government of Quebec ignoring the legitimate concerns of the students, and worse, when we see riot police abusing these young people who aren’t looking for a free ride, but a hand up, I have to wonder . . . why?
It is in Canada’s best interest to educate all of our young. They say there isn’t enough money, yet there always seems to be money for fighter jets and prisons.
Post secondary students in other Canadian Provinces assume an even greater student debt load than those in Quebec. Is this wise? Or is it even good public policy?
I think not.
Infographic by Occupy* Posters released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) via Silhouette Man
“The Black Mark Budget Action”
“Against the Criminalization of Dissent”
Anita Nickerson says:
If you are undecided about coming out to one of the BlackMark Budget Actions Saturday at noon, please read this post and share it. Thanks to Jennifer Ross for compiling this ever-growing list.
Bill C-38 has something in it for everyone.
Concerned about the Environment? This bill:
- repeals The Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act;
- dismantles The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act;
- excludes concerned citizens from assessments of major projects like the Enbridge pipeline;
- downloads responsibility for most environmental assessments to provinces;
- gives final say over pipeline projects to Conservative cabinet ministers—regardless of environmental impacts.
- lays off the entire Canadian scientific community looking at ocean contaminants. Did you know we have a lot of coastline? Meaning there’s a lot of ocean not being examined, which will impact the worldwide science in this area.
- eliminates habitat protection from The Fisheries Act;
- limits the waterways protected by The Species at Risk Act and The Fisheries Act;
- dismantles the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, leaving natural areas vulnerable
Perhaps you are concerned about Health. This bill:
- shortchanges cash-strapped provinces of expected health transfers by $31 billion;
- weakens food and drug regulations at the discretion of the Minister of Health;
- ends vital Auditor General oversight of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency;
- paves the way for private contractors to perform food safety inspections.
Is it Employment that interests you? This bill:
- forces Canadians to work two years longer, to age 67, to qualify for Old Age Security;
- cuts workers off Employment Insurance if they don’t take any job the Minister of Human Resources deems “suitable”;
- repeals The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act;
- removes federal contractors from the protection of The Employment Equity Act.
- brings in foreign workers and allows them to be paid 15% less than our minimum wage.
Is it Democracy that interests you? This bill:
- reduces the Auditor General’s powers to hold government accountable to Canadians;
- removes independent oversight from 12 key government agencies—including the – Northern Pipeline Agency, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canada Revenue Agency;
- eliminates organizations that produce independent policy research—including Rights & Democracy, the National Council of Welfare, and the First Nations Statistical Institute;
- dissolves the Public Appointments Commission designed to ensure key positions are assigned based on merit instead of insider connections;
- allows the FBI to come into Canada and arrest Canadians on Canadian soil.
You only need to be concerned over one of these to come out and express your displeasure at the way ALL of these are being rammed down our throats without the slightest bit of examination, discussion, or negotiation. And almost none of it was in the election platform of a year ago.
In Waterloo Region:
Join us Saturday June 2 at noon at Conservative MP Peter Braid’s office
22 King Street South, Waterloo
Stephen Woodworth’s at noon
Suite 12, 300 Victoria Street North, Kitchener
to protest the omnibus budget bill.
Bring signs with messages specifically against the bill.
Bring Canadian flags.
and dress appropriately for the weather!
Facebook Event page
For information about the other 68 Black Mark Protests scheduled across Canada visit leadnow.ca
Against the Criminalization of Dissent
Opposing Bill C 78 and the Federal Bill C 309
Kitchener City Hall ~ June 2nd ~ at 7:00pm Saturday Evening
Demonstration in Solidarity with the struggle in Quebec.
From the Facebook Event page
Bring your Masks, Bring your Pots and Pans, Claim our Freedom to Dissent, Protesting is not a Crime!
We will wear masks and hear speeches about the struggle in Quebec, the international assault on the poor, and the Federal Bill C 309.
Then we will disobey. We will march in our masks.
Bring your pots and pans. As demos in Quebec have been incorporating the clanging of pots and pans – we will do the same!
Some masks will be available as supplies last. Feel free to wear any type of mask that you’d like.
Get creative; we can have fun, mocking these laws!
As of May 26, students in Quebec are on their 104th day of strike and protest against proposed tuition increases.
A violent clamp down has taken place and police brutality is rampant. Serious injuries have resulted.
On May 18, 2012 Bill C 78 was passed into law. The law restricts the ability to demonstrate and organize opposition to the system.
The legislation provides for fines of $3,000 for wearing a mask.
Penalties climb to between $7,000 and $35,000 for a student leader and to between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or
student federations who organize protests outside of the fascist framework of the bill.
The struggle is only growing and intensifying in response!!!!
There is also legislation in the works that threatens to further criminalize dissent, across the Nation
Blake Richards, MP Wild Rose AB, put forward ‘An Act to amend the Criminal Code (concealment of identity)’, in a private members bill. Bill C-309 proposes penalties of up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000 for protesters who wear a mask or disguise. This will allow for the arrest of anyone wearing a mask at a protest, even if they are not said to have done anything else illegal.
Bill C 309, titled ‘Preventing Persons from Concealing Their Identity during Riots and Unlawful Assemblies Act’, was presented in a Committee Report on Feb 15, 2012. Having passed that, the Bill will now be read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee.
More on Bill C-309 the anti-Mask law: Of Masks and Freedom
In the world of books, an Omnibus is a collection of books that have already been published that find a second life bound together as one large book.
Over the past few decades Canadian governments have been collecting disparate groups of draft legislation together and calling the total Omnibus Bills. Currently,
Like an omnibus book volume, an omnibus bill is substantially larger than is usual for any single bit of legislation. The physical enormity of an omnibus bill means that the average omnibus bill doesn’t receive the same scrutiny that an ordinary piece of legislation would.
It seems to me that one major obligation of the government in a democratic nation like ours is to understand the laws that the legislature passes.
That’s the primary function of our elected representatives.
If laws are bundled together and passed en masse without sufficient time allotment for our representatives to properly scrutinize, consider and debate, perhaps the government ought not to be passing such laws.
What is more important than being sure the laws they make are in fact good laws?
["American Censorship" refers to the two Internet Blacklist Bills currently enroute to becoming law. The PROTECT IP bill is currently before the American Senate, and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is in their House of Representatives. ]
Easy answer: Of course it will.
The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users.
Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users
It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.
Chaos for the Internet
Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn’t be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system.
Q: What is the DNS system?
A: The DNS or Domain Name System is the hierarchy that controls the Internet URL naming conventions. If you want to set up your own website, the current common use is to register a domain name, to make it easy for users to find your website online. In the beginning, domain name registration was free, nowadays there is an annual charge. You can get a domain through a company like godaddy or choose a privacy respecting registrar like the one I use, Register 4 Less which can be found at https://secure.register4less.com/
This means that you can easily find Google at https://www.google.com/ or Josh Woodward’s music at http://www.joshwoodward.com/ or my brother Larry’s humour blog at http://www.larryrusswurm.com/
One of the most important functions of the Domain Name registration is to ensure that there is only one of each name.
Q: How does Internet Black Listing work?
A: It doesn’t actually turn off the website, it simply removes the site’s domain name. In cases of egregious law breaking, such as child pornography or even copyright infringement, this does nothing to prevent the breaking of these laws. The blocked website still exists, and will continue to be accessed by law breakers via numerical static IP addresses.
But what it will do is make it easier to block competition and innovation while making it more difficult for users to find the websites they want.
Q: How will Website Blocking affect Canada?
A: The Internet is all over the world.
If Websites are only blocked within the United States, American customers will find it difficult, impossible or perhaps illegal to access these blocked websites. If A Canadian website is accused of infringement, whether real or imagined, this blocking will mean the loss of American customers.
If blocking is done by DNS domain name removal, this will affect websites the world over.
Q: How will the Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users affect Canada?
A: Richard O’Dwyer, a British University Student is currently facing extradition to the United States to face charges of copyright infringement under existing laws.
Need I say more?
Q: What do they mean when they warn about “Chaos for the Internet?”
A: Different laws exist in different countries.
The Internet is comprised of networked connections all over the world.
Current American law provides for “safe harbors” which protect sites like Facebook, Flickr, and G+ as well as independent blogs and comments from legal liability in the event a third party posts illegal material.
Without this, the Internet will cease to be an interactive medium, because no one, whether independent bloggers or Internet giants like Wikipedia will have the luxury of allowing third party posting. A malicious edit in Wikipedia could spell the end of the fifth largest website in the world. YouTube can’t afford to screen every video for potential IP violation. Most Independent bloggers don’t have legal departments.
Canadian law is different than American law. Although Canadians are some of the most active people online, we seem to be users rather than pioneers. Recently Michael Geist appeared before Canada’s Standing Committee on Industry and explained the legal barriers that existing Canadian law has thrown up before innovative Canadian startups that might have become a YouTube, a Google, a Facebook or a Skype.
Canadian free speech
Recently the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in the land, established that Canadian Law should “Avoid restricting the free flow of expression.”
Yet it seems that elements of the proposed Protect IP and SOPA laws seek to make hyperlinking potentially a criminal act. Search engines would be compelled to remove links from search results.
existing Canadian copyright law
IP lawyer Howard Knopf shows that Canadian Copyright law is currently far stronger - and more restrictive to creativity – than American Copyright Law is currently. In Canada we have slightly shorter copyright terms than they have in the United States. I don’t believe Bill C-11 will increase this term if it passes.
Under existing law, Wikipedia is considering removing this photograph of Ontario’s Elmira District Secondary School ~ the school I attended ~ even though it is legal to use this image in Canada, if it is not legal under existing American Law.
This Canadian work is in the public domain in Canada because its copyright has expired for one of the following reasons:
1. it was subject to Crown copyright and was first published more than 50 years ago, or
it was not subject to Crown copyright, and
2. it is a photograph that was created before January 1, 1949, or
3. the creator died more than 49 years ago.
The media description page should identify which reason applies.
This file is only in the public domain in the United States if it entered the public domain in Canada prior to 1996. This image can only be kept if it is also in the public domain in the US. If it is in the public domain in both Canada and the United States it may be transferred to the Wikimedia Commons.
Note: If this image is in the public domain in the US, modify the end of the copyright tag from “}}” to “|commons}}”. This will replace the preceding US copyright notification with a nomination for this image to be moved to the Wikimedia Commons.
Canada is a sovereign nation
It is bad enough that the American government has brought pressure to bear against our government in an effort to compel passage of a Canadian DMCA with Bill C-11 the so-called “Copyright Modernization Act.”
This will affect Canadians, and everyone else.
Map of the Internet – photo by the Opte Project released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 1.0) License
“EDSS Old School” Canadian Public domain image, posted to Wikipedia by Dconlon268
The Canadian DMCA logo freed into the public domain CCO 1.0 by laurelrusswurm
Maybe it’s because of movies I’ve seen, or possibly because of my interest in history, or both, but Remembrance Day has always been important to me.
When I was a kid I borrowed the vinyl LP “Billy Bishop Goes To War” from the local public library. More than once.
This masterpiece of Canadian theatre has everything that a good war story ought to have. Humour. Drama. A valient hero. Politics. And tragedy. Later I bought my own copy, which I played for my child on Remembrance Day.
One of the most haunting songs I’ve ever heard is Chris DeBurgh’s “This Song For You.”
All are powerful works of art, each carrying the clear message that wars should be avoided.
On past Remembrance Days I’ve written about copyright in The Eleventh Minute, the Eleventh Hour, the Eleventh Day and the tragic monument at the University of Toronto: In Flanders Fields….
Sadly, the wrongs that I wrote about have not yet been righted. Earlier this week my friend Satipera shared this powerful article from the UK which looks closely at the wearing of the poppy Robert Fisk: Do those who flaunt the poppy on their lapels know that they mock the war dead?
I very much doubt that a single Canadian politician anywhere in the world will be without a poppy today. Yet who, more than they, hold the responsibility for the continued sacrifice of a new crop of young Canadians soldiers engaged in a war because … ?
“Since 2001, 158 Canadians have died in Afghanistan and another 6,700 are collecting disability payments from Veterans Affairs, about 130 of them under the age of 25. “
— Tamsin McMahon ~ National Post: “Canada’s newest veterans having trouble accepting the label“
Canada has been involved in an almost invisible war for nearly a decade. It is barely spoken of, but young Canadians fight and die and I can’t tell you why. I suspect they can’t, either. Unlike the glamorous Great War, or the Second World War, the only citizens who are really involved and affected are the Canadians whose children are overseas, fighting and dying. Has a decade of this fixed anything? Has anything good come of this war? A war that Canada is supposed to be withdrawing from by the end of this year. Will we really withdraw?
I can’t begin to count the times in my life that I’ve heard it said that our soldiers fought for our freedom. But there is much less freedom now than there was when I was young.
The erosion of civil rights that the blood of our soldiers was to have bought for us was never more clear than in the events around last year’s G20 Summit in Toronto.
Today, Canadians across the country are organizing and participating in the “Occupy” movement.
And Byron Sonne is on trial in Toronto. He’s fighting for his freedom, and ours.
Where did our freedom go?
“Airfield to Salute” photograph by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez
Wikipedia: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan–Troops deployed to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Regional Command South gathered on the flightline of Kandahar Air Field to salute fallen Canadian servicemember Sapper Sean David Greenfield on February 1, 2009. Greenfield, who was deployed as part of the 24 Field Engineers Squadron out of Petawawa, Ontario, was killed in action in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province on Jan. 31, 2009 ISAF photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Aramis X. Ramirez (RELEASED). ~ This file is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made during the course of the person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
freebyron poppy cc by laurelrusswurm
Today was the first day of Byron Sonne’s trial.
Byron was arrested on June 22nd, 2010, before the Toronto G20.
But I don’t live in Toronto, and it wasn’t until much later that I learned about Byron Sonne.
Denise Balkissoon, the writer who wrote the Toronto Life cover story blogged about the publication ban: “EXPLAINER: What we can and can’t say about the Byron Sonne Trial“
Today’s Globe and Mail reported on the first day G20 trial begins for man charged with possessing explosives. The way the headline reads reveals the Globe’s corporate bias (if there was any doubt).
What struck me the most about the Globe article was the reporter’s statement:
Supporters have organized a “Free Byron” movement.”
— Colin Perkel, G20 trial begins for man charged with possessing explosives
In many ways, Byron’s arrest before the Toronto G20 summit even began served to separate his story from all the other stories of G20 protest. The Toronto G20 protests might be considered a “movement,” but I don’t think that the support for Byron Sonne can be thought of in that light.
Byron Sonne’s friends and community have tried to support him the best they can. That’s what friends do if they believe in you, and it’s why humans belong to communities. Byron Sonne’s friends know him as a person, and they believe in him. It says a lot about Byron and his friends that they have stuck by him all through this. Because standing up for someone facing the kind of charges levelled against Byron Sonne takes guts. After all, people are often judged on who their friends are.
His friends and supporters set up a webpage to allow interested people to follow what happens to Byron. They have distributed stickers and buttons and asked interested people to post “Free Byron” badges on their blogs. I haven’t seen anything I could characterize as a “movement,” just people supporting a friend and member of their community.
Sure, there are people like me who care what happens to Byron. When I saw a “Free Bryron” button and asked what it was for, I ended up becoming a Free Byron supporter. I am not Byron’s friend, having never actually met him, although we’ve exchanged a couple of letters, and I watched a few days of one of his hearings.
I’m not a lawyer, nor am I in possession of all the facts. Still, I don’t believe Bryon Sonne is a terrorist, or anything like it. I think Byron is a good person who tried to stand up for what he believed was right.
I think Byron believed the protections in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would protect him. So far they haven’t much, and that scares me. That’s the main reason why I support Byron Sonne.
But I’m not part of “a movement,” just a citizen who hopes Canada is the country that I think it is, and that justice will prevail.
Byron Sonne has lost his wife, his home, his business, his reputation, his privacy and his liberty.
And I wonder what he has done to deserve this.
Going into the election yesterday we had a Conservative minority government based on 5,209,069 votes, and today we have a Conservative majority government with 5,832,401 votes. That’s a difference of 623,332 votes. It is also a difference of 24 seats.
The 41st Canadian Federal Election has resulted in a Conservative Party of Canada majority government.
My son, who cast his first vote last night, asked me how it could have happened? Even with the tame “news” media [the watchdog press is indeed dead] he was under the impression that there was strong opposition to the Conservative government.
And of course the polls conducted throughout the term of the 40th Parliament always seemed to hover in the mid 30% range.
[No, I don't believe in polls... that's for all the people who tried to convince me of the accuracy of public opinion polls.]
As my friend Sheila said,
“Majority? Well, 24.1% of Canadians have spoken.”
Because Canadian voter turnout was less than stellar. Only 61.4% of registered voters voted yesterday, up slightly from 2008′s all time low of 59.1%.
My Bahamian friend Drew forwarded me this Voter turnout data for Bahamas. Can you imagine? They have a 92.13% voter turnout! I guess it really is better in the Bahamas.
comparing the results
So, lets look at what happened in Canada, eh? Possibly the easiest way to see what happened is to compare the results of the 41st election with the results of the 40th in 2008.
2008: Minority Government
The Conservative Party of Canada
5,209,069 votes, which was 37.65% of the popular vote and gave them 143 seats
The Liberal Party of Canada
3,633,185 votes, which was 26.26% of the popular vote and gave them 77 seats
The Bloc Québécois
1,379,991 votes, which was 9.98% of the popular vote and gave them 49 seats
The New Democratic Party of Canada
2,515,288 votes, which was 18.18% of the popular vote and gave them 37 seats
The Green Party of Canada
937,613 votes, which was 6.78% of the popular vote and gave them 0 seats
Voter turnout was the lowest in Canadian election history, as only 59.1% of the electorate cast a ballot.
Wikipedia: Canadian federal election, 2008
2011 Majority government
The Conservative Party of Canada
5,832,401 votes, which was 39.6% of the popular vote and gave them 167 seats (54%)
The New Democratic Party of Canada
4,508,474 votes, which was 30.6% of the popular vote and gave them 102 seats (33.1%)
The Liberal Party of Canada
2,783,175 votes, which was 18.9% of the popular vote and gave them 34 seats (11.0%)
The Bloc Québécois
889,788 votes, which was 6% of the popular vote and gave them 4 seats (1.3%)
Green Party of Canada
576,221 votes, which was 3.9% of the popular vote and gave them 1 seat (0.3%)
Voter turnout: 14,720,580 of 23,971,740 registered electors (61.4%)
source: Elections Canada: 2011 General Election: Preliminary Results
all votes are not created equal
I’m no math genius, but even I can see that the numbers don’t add up.
In the last election the Green Party had 937,613 votes and zero seats. After yesterday’s election, the Green Party has 576,221 votes and no seats. So now they’ve lost a few hundred thousand votes they have a seat. Although the Green Party lost votes, they probably haven’t lost any support. Because people concerned for the environment don’t suddenly going to stop caring. It isn’t as though there were any scandals in the Green Party. The only way the Green Party let their supporters down was in not getting elected.
Without an elected representative, the people who vote have no voice in parliament. We also saw the consortium’s exclusion of Elizabeth May from the televised Leadership debates.
The upshot is that the near million voters who voted Green across Canada had no representation in government. It is reasonable to assume that the lost votes went somewhere “strategic.” It can be hard voting for a party that can’t seem to win, no matter how much you believe in them.
The single biggest problem in a first past the post electoral system is that you only get parliamentary representation if the candidate you vote for is elected. And even then, if the candidate’s party doesn’t form the government, your representation is second class.
The main business of government is making laws. This is the other place where the numbers really count.
A majority government controls more than half the available seats in the House of Commons.
Which means a majority government can pass any law they want.
The Conservative Party of Canada got 5,832,401 votes, or 39.6%.
All the other parties together received 8,888,179 votes, or 60.4%
Because of the way our system weights votes, less than 40% of the votes cast means a majority government.
More than 60% of the votes cast don’t count. This is what they mean when they talk about wasted votes.
Add to that another 9,251,160 registered voters who didn’t vote at all.
This majority government actually represents a minority of voters. The 5,832,401 votes cast for the Conservative Party of Canada count.
The other 18,139,339 votes do not. Is it any wonder why people get frustrated? In a democracy, every vote should count.
Canada needs electoral reform. I have been learning a lot about the different types of government that are possible from the non-partisan electoral reform group Fairvote Canada. Everyone who is concerned with this extraordinary inequity should get involved.
Because Canada deserves electoral reform.
Photographs released by laurelrusswurm under a Creative Commons Attribution Only License.
The overwhelming response from the vast majority of Copyright Consultation respondents indicated Canadians were opposed to TPM/DRM (Technical Protection Measures/Digital Rights Management) or “digitial locks”. Digital locks prevent users from using the media and devices the way they want to.
In spite of that, when Bill C-32 was tabled, TPM or “digital locks” was the most over-riding element, and made circumventing digital locks illegal. Even of we are legally entitled to access the content, under C-32 we would be breaking the law to bypass the digital lock.
This is the part that most upset me, as a writer, because this could remove my right as an author to distribute my creative work as I see fit. TPM/DRM places control of digital distribution in the hands of corporations. This law would have allowed manufacturers to use TPM to prevent consumers from accessing free material we are legally entitled to access on our laptops, dvds, cell phones and ipads etc.
If Bill C-32 had passed as is, Canada would most certainly have seen digital locks added to all digital devices, allowing corporate control of our culture.
WikiLeaks Cables Released
At last, WikiLeaks has released a batch of cablegate cables revealing the truth behind the conditions of so-called Canadian “copyright reform” saga.
A cable originating in the office of the U.S. Secretary of State is a blueprint for the copyright legislation the Canadian Government was expected to pass:
Prohibition of manufacturing and trafficking in technological
protection measure (TPM) circumvention devices as an offense
separate from copyright infringement;
Prohibition of circumvention of TPMs that control access to
works (quote access controls unquote);
Deterrent penalties against unauthorized circumvention –
both civil and criminal;
If there are any exceptions to TPM or rights management
information (RMI) liability, the exceptions should be clearly
enumerated and narrow in scope;
A system of protections and obligations for ISPs that
shelters them from certain liability, reduces and prevents
copyright infringement on the Internet and provides
incentives for ISPs to work cooperatively with copyright
Well, would you look at that. The most contentious issues — the issues objected to by Canadians — all come from the United States. And all the while, our government insisted that Bill C-32 was a “made-in-Canada” solution.
So, what would be Canada’s reward for making copyright law beneficial to the US at the expense of the Canadian public interest?
– (If needed) As Ambassador Kirk indicated in April, USTR is
prepared to reopen the USG interagency process to reassess
Canada,s placement on the Special 301 list if Canada enacts
selling out Canada
The “prize” Canada might receive for suborning Canadian Sovereignty in favor of American demands is that if we enact “adequate” legislation – legislation that suits American needs over our own – the “USTR is prepared to reopen the USG interagency process to reassess Canada,s placement on the Special 301 list.”
Or, in other words, all Canada has to do is make the laws the United States tells us to make, and then the USTR might stop lying about Canada, by placing Canada on the spurious USTR Watch List.
(And where was the “watchdog press”?)
Other cables recently released by WikiLeaks have clearly shown that Canada was only placed on the USTR Watch List in order to bully us into passing copyright law favorable to US special interests.
Ironically, Canada’s specious inclusion on the USTR Watch List has been a huge contributing factor in exposing the USTR Watch List for the fraud it is. Since the American record of copyright infringement is worse than ours, the United States should be listed there before Canada. The WatchList has been used against other countries around the world in just this way.
Clearly, Canada don’t need no stinkin’ DMCA.
As we approach the 41st Canadian Election, Canadians should reflect on the fact that
both Conservative and LiberalGovernments have proven
their willingness to make copyright law harmful to Canadian interests
to appease our American neighbors.
Oh! Canada, indeed.
Please vote on Monday in the Federal Election.
Don’t vote strategically if there is a candidate you believe in. If we don’t start voting for what we want, we will never get it.
The only Canadian political parties opposed to electoral reform are the Conservative and Liberal parties. Canada has other choices. Visit the Elections Canada site to see what choices are available in your riding.