- Leader of a National Party
She is the leader of a nation wide political party. A party that fields candidates in every riding. Which means there is a possibility, no matter how slim, that she could become Prime Minister. All it would take would be enough Canadians voting to send enough Green Party Candidates to Ottawa.This is reason enough for her inclusion in every leadership debate.
- A conservative estimate: 1 million supporters
The Green Party of Canada received almost a million votes in 2008. A great many people who would support a small party won’t if they think their vote won’t elect anyone, so if almost a million people were willing to vote for such a party, it is probable that a great many more did not.One of the biggest hurdles small parties face in our winner-take-all electoral system is that small parties (like Independents) find it almost impossible to get candidates elected. So it isn’t at all surprising that a great many supporters whose hopes for a Green MP were dashed would have been seduced into voting strategically in 2011.But things changed in 2011.The ineffectiveness of strategic voting was amply demonstrated by Mr. Harper’s majority government. Still, in any winner-take-all system the votes cast for any small party don’t accurately reflect its support, so there is little doubt that more Canadians would vote Green if there was a chance of electing GreenMPs.In a nation whose population is just shy of thirty seven million, Ms. May’s inclusion in the debates would still be warranted even if there are only a million or so Green supporters
- House of Commons
When any country is saddled with an unfair winner-take-all electoral system, citizen’s find it a struggle to vote for any party that can’t elect a single MP. But in 2011 Elizabeth May was the first Green Party of Canada MP elected to Parliament. And since that time, Green MPs have been elected in Provincial ridings across Canada. Suddenly we’ve seen the Green Party is viable; supporting Green Party Candidates is no longer perceived to be a hopeless gesture. In fact, a Green Party member was elected to PEI’s provincial legislature where not a single NDP candidate won a seat.This suggests Green Party inclusion on the basis of party viability wouldn’t be amiss.
- A stellar record
Elizabeth May’s parliamentary record has been staggering. Not only has she earned the respect of her fellow parliamentarians, she has shown Canadians the importance of a strong dissenting voiced in Ottawa. While her leadership on environmental issues has never been in doubt, Canadians have since learned she is equally passionate about many other issues, notably about necessary democratic reform to Proportional Representation as well as her relentless battle against the Canadian civil rights busting Bill C-51.This record should certainly entitle Ms. May to a seat at every debate.
- A Real Party
Some people say she should be excluded because the Green Party isn’t a “real” party. After all, it has only 3 seats. But what constitutes a “real party” is decided by those who already hold the power. When Kim Campbell’s Progressive Conservatives were decimated – from a crushing majority to a mere 2 seats, the rules were changed to allow the PCs to retain Official Party status… and all the perks that went along with it. Just because they changed the rules again– expressly to further disadvantage small parties– doesn’t change the fact that this argument has been shown to be purely specious. Any party with even a half a million supporters is a real party.After all, shouldn’t half a million citizens count?
- The Gender Gap
But there is more. Slightly more than half of Canada’s population is female. 50.4% of the total population to be exact. That is a larger share of the population than voted for any of Canada’s major parties in 2011. And yet the leaders of the other three major parties are all male. Any debate devoid of a female perspective would certainly fail a large segment of the population. This alone would be enough of a reason to include Ms. May.Shouldn’t Canadian women have a voice?
And if all of those things are not enough, poll after poll show that 80% of Canadians (or more) support Elizabeth’s May’s inclusion in the debates.Not because 80% of Canadians support the Green Party, but because the vast majority of Canadians believe in fairness.
- Meaningful Electoral Reform
Without Ms. May’s inclusion in every debate, who will talk about meaningful electoral reform? Who will keep Proportional Representation on the table?
Elizabeth May must be included in every leadership debate.
Anyone who supports excluding the Green Party of Canada leader from the leadership debates does so only because they are afraid their team might not win if she does.
And how fair is that?
I’m no expert, but I have been told by NDP friends that their party policy is dramatically “greener” than Green Party policy on environment issues. When the NDP’s Linda McQuaig spoke out, I thought …maybe… But as it turns out, I was wrong. Climate scientist Andrew Weaver is an environment expert. He is also the Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly for Oak Bay-Gordon Head in BC, so I am very pleased to be able to present his much more informed perspective on the two environmental policies in this guest post.
by Andrew Weaver
Linda McQuaig speaks the truth and rather than supporting her, the NDP party brass throw her under the bus. I am disappointed that the Liberals criticized McQuaig but expected as much from the Harper Tories.
Only the Federal Green Party has been honest about the need to keep oil sands production at two million barrels a day.
Federally, Mulcair is so twisted up in inconsistencies re: Kinder Morgan that it is stunning. He wants to wait until the NEB process is over. But that didn’t stop the NDP being against Northern Gateway before the NEB process was over. And the NEB process this time is so rigged it’s not funny. The reality is, it is entirely unsafe and completely irresponsible to be increasing our shipments of diluted bitumen threefold. Vancouver is trying to brand itself as the world’s greenest city by 2020. That can’t happen when it becomes one of the world’s great fossil fuel exporters.
And finally here is what Horgan, the BC NDP leader tells the Kids for Climate Action Group when asked if he would sign their pledge to keep BC’s 2020 targets. He called it a “shallow publicity stunt, saying the target won’t be met and he wouldn’t sign the document because it isn’t possible”. And not a single BC NDP MLA asked was willing to sign the Kids for Climate Action commitment to take steps to limit thermal coal. Why? It’s obvious. The BC NDP are more concerned about what taking such a position might look to their labour union puppet masters than they are about thinking of intergenerational equity.
So the evidence is clear, the NDP both provincially and federally are all over the map and completely unprincipled on actions to deal with climate change.
Rather than pretending they are something that they are not, they should be honest with people. I would actually have far more respect for them if they were.
Some will argue “Let’s give them a chance it will be better”. Frankly we only have to look at the about face of Notley’s climate campaigning once she got elected to know what we can expect. What happened to her talk about proportional representation? Sorry. It’s about trust and you have to earn that. NDP actions clearly demonstrate otherwise.
And as Ed Wiebe pointed out, what is the NDP GHG reduction plan? It doesn’t exist. The Climate Change Accountability Act was only a monitoring Act. They’ve offered absolutely nothing but have the audacity to pretend that we should “trust them”.
I remember too well when the NDP attacked Gordon Campbell’s carbon tax with their cynical “axe the tax” campaign. The federal NDP attacked Stéphane Dion’s green shift which was designed to put a price on carbon yet offered nothing of substance up in return.
To my NDP friends, take a look in the mirror and please stop kidding yourselves. The BC and Federal NDP will not put in place any substantive plan to deal with climate change. You can take that to the bank.
For more information download the pdf
The long awaited 2015 federal election has been called, so Canadians are now being treated to one of the longest Federal Elections in Canadian History. Because of strict spending caps, the standard election period has traditionally been half as long as the one we are having now. Since the passage of the Harper Government’s Orwellianly titled “Fair Elections Act,” any party with an absurdly large budget (like, say, the Conservative Party of Canada) has an even better chance to outspend the other parties. Will they be able to effectively “buy” an election win in this way? I hope not.
Right now all the parties are scrambling to put on their game faces, but I have no doubt election fever will slow down a good bit until we get closer to the election. We have time to catch our breath. More important, we have time to start conversations about the Canada we want to have. About the future we want for ourselves, and for our kids.
They call it “voter apathy” but I believe that’s a misnomer: we ought to call it “Voter Disillusionment.” Although our electoral system is not only antiquated but unfair, a great many Canadians — on the order of 40% in 2011 — have become disillusioned or have other reasons for not getting out to vote. The fewer Canadians who vote, the weaker our representation in Parliament, as we can see from much of the legislation pushed through with little or no scrutiny by our current majority government.
Originally, our First Past The Post electoral system was designed to serve rich white men. It was only well into the 20th century that all Canadian citizens of legal age finally achieved the right to vote, but still, the system adopted before confederation wasn’t never intended to serve all Canadians. No one knows better than I — after 30+ years of voting in every election without ever sending a representative to Parliament — just how unfair our winner-take-all electoral system actually is. However, this year, meaningful electoral reform to Proportional Representation is indeed on the table. The Harper Government has a majority government– and 100% of the power — based on less than 40% of the vote. In the last election, more eligible Canadian voters did not vote than those who voted for the Harper Government’s majority. If all the disillusioned Canadian voters were to vote this year, things would indeed change.
Canada’s fortunes will certainly improve with a switch to a better form of representative democracy, so I encourage everyone reading this to do your best to engage any other eligible voters you know who might ordinarily not vote to go to the polls this fall. We see enough attack ads on tv… it is time for civil discussion about politics in our real lives. My own strong hope is that the disillusioned voters will cast their votes for candidates who support Proportional Representation, but just voting for what you want is just as important. Please consider: it is the Canadians who don’t vote who have the least representation in Ottawa.
It may help to direct any such potential voters to the many valuable online resources (here’s a borrowed list) to help them get informed, but please try not to influence their decision. People who don’t believe they can vote for what they want are much less likely to vote at all, so please try to encourage them to vote for the candidate they believe will best represent them in Ottawa.
My submission to Ontario’s municipal ranked ballot consultation
Q: What are your thoughts on using ranked ballots for Ontario municipal elections?
A: I disagree with even considering ranked ballots for municipal use unless they are used to introduce an element of proportionality to the electoral process. In order to achieve this there is a need for multi-member districts or offices so Ranked Ballots might be used in an STV (Single Transferable Vote) system.
Q: Should municipalities be able to use ranked ballots for certain offices and not others? For example, only for mayor?
A: I have never bought into the idea that instant runoff voting is somehow more democratic than any other winner-take-all system. This is why I don’t agree with any winner-take-all method to elect a mayor. Ranked ballots should only be used in multi-member races to ensure a proportional outcome (again, as in STV).
The proportionally elected municipal council could select the mayor. The idea of democracy is to make government accountable to the people, so investing a disproportionate amount of power in the office of leader seems more like re-establishing a non-hereditary monarchy via by election. That might have seemed reasonable when they signed the Magna Carta, but we ought to be able to do better than that in the 21st century.
Q: Should public consultation by a municipality be required before implementing ranked ballots or before changing from ranked ballots back to the current system?
A: Any major change to our electoral process should require both public education and consultation.
Q: What form should that consultation take?
A: Empanelling an independent citizen’s assembly to study the issue and make recommendations would be a good start. It is critical that enough time is allotted to do this work. After the recommendations are made, there should be should be public consultation meetings, ideally conducted both online and off before following up with a binding referendum requiring a simple majority. Once the new system is chosen there should be a set time or number of elections for the new system to be practiced, after which a second referendum to determine whether to keep it, try something else or return to the old way should be held.
Q: Unlike the current system, ranked ballots can involve multiple rounds of counting before all the seats to be elected have been won.
How much information would you want about election results? For example, where there have been multiple rounds of counting would you want to see the results of each round of counting or just the final results?
A: The details of all the results should be shared in the interest of open government. This can be done easily and cheaply in a digital world.
Q: Are there other ideas you wish to share on ranked ballots that you would like us to consider?
A: If ranked ballots are to be used in a non-proportional winner-take-all system, multiple rounds of counting wherein candidates are dropped from the race must require multiple votes, not instant runoff voting.
Someone needs to publish or post a good summary for the layman, with perhaps bullet points of what Bill C-51 entails. So many websites I have gone to are filled with opinion that just rambles on ad nauseam. I am more confused than ever!
Anyone who reads this blog knows how hard this assignment will be for someone as inclined to over-explain as I. But I’ve tried.
BILL C-51 in Bullet Points
- Bill C-51 is overly broad, so it can be made to mean anything the authorities want it to mean.
[Instead saying someone who bombs a government building commits a terrorist act punishable by 50 years in jail, it might say someone who commits a terrorist act can be punished by 50 years in jail. Defining endangering Canada’s economic stability is terrorism, it could be used to identify as terrorists: factory workers picketing their place of employment because their employer’s lack of safety standards endangers their lives might be sent to jail for terrorism.]
- Bill C-51 dispenses with the need to get evidence before targeting suspects.
[Instead of requiring evidence showing “probable cause,” law enforcement agents will be able to proceed against citizens based solely on suspicions.*]
- Bill C-51 introduces the “constitutional breach warrant” granting permission to breach civil rights in advance.
But now, for the first time, judges are being asked to bless in advance a violation of any or all our Charter rights, in a secret hearing, not subject to appeal, and with only the government side represented. What the government proposes now is a “constitutional breach warrant”. It is a radical, idea that contorts basic constitutional understandings and the role of the courts. It has correctly been compared to a stealth use of the notwithstanding clause, in which judges and not Parliament are being asked to do the dirty work of abrogating rights.”
— BILL C-51: ROACH AND FORCESE SUBMISSIONS TO THE SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE
- Bill C-51 dispenses with citizen privacy by allowing indiscriminate unsupervised information sharing.
[Instead of requiring the various law enforcement agencies to share information cooperatively (which would be good), it will allow the sharing of information stored in 17 government departments “to any person, for any purpose”with no review for 14 of the 17 recipient departments, and no judicial review at all. The two scariest departments that would be required to give out our personal data so recklessly? Health and Canadian Revenue Agency. Yay.]
- Bill C-51 will put all Canadian citizens at risk of secret trials.
[At present, Canada’s “Security Certificate” regime has been used only against immigrants who have not yet become citizens. Bill C-51 would extend this to all citizens through secret procedures that fly in the face of human rights. You can see what this will be like in the documentary film The secret Trial 5. The trailer on the site will give you a good idea, but it is well worth downloading the very well done important documentary.]
- Bill C-51 will render our civil rights protections meaningless by allowing CSIS to breach law or the Charter.
Bill C-51: What Did We Learn About The Government’s Intentions From The Clause-By-Clause goes into this in much more detail.
- Bill C-51 expands the government’s ability to spy on Canadians without any oversight.
[The office of the Inspector General used to provide oversight (oversight=supervision) but it was quietly dissolved as part of the Bill C-38 omnibudget leadnow dubbed the “Black Mark Budget” in 2011. The Harper Government maintains the underfunded understaffed part-timers of SIRC provide oversight, but it can’t. SIRC provides limited review of only selected CSIS operations after the fact.]
- Bill C-51 makes the no-fly list (already an incursion in the Charter’s mobility rights) even worse.
- Bill C-51’s vagueness threatens free speech because it allows arbitrary censorship at the whim of government.
*The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials.
— Rule of Law, Wikipedia
A big part of the problem is that there is no time. But when the entire legal profession, information technology folks, the Government’s own Privacy Commissioner (and every other Canadian Privacy Commissioner past and present), civil rights organizations at home and abroad, along side a vast array of ordinary people from all walks of life and across the breadth of the Canadian political spectrum opposes a law, it should not pass.
The Canadian Senate will vote on Bill C-51 this week, and the Senators might yet prevent it from passing. Please contact as many Senators as you can to tell them not to undermine our civil rights.
Here’s a tool that makes contacting Senators easy:
P.S. The only way a law like Bill C-51 could have gotten this far is because our unfair outdated electoral system puts absolute power into the hands of any majority government. Bill C-51 would not have a hope if we had Proportional Representation. With the exception of the Conservative and Liberal Parties, every one else wants to adopt meaningful electoral reform. So no matter what, and no matter who for, every Canadian needs to vote in the fall election.
Professors Kent Roach and Craig Forcese are the acknowledged experts on Bill C-51. As well as testifying before both the House of Commons and Senate Committees on Bill C-51 they have studied it as exhaustively as possible and published their findings as they go in the website Canada’s Proposed Antiterrorism Act: An Assessment
Among the vast amount of material already out there, I have covered Bill C-51 as extensively as possible here in Whoa!Canada, (just read back… you might like Our Kids Deserve to Have Civil Rights, but there are a lot more, just read on) and I’ve have shared copious links and articles like “What is a Disruption Warrant” on Visual Laurel.
Privacy is an incredibly important human right, necessary for the “security of the person.” Former Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart published a list of excellent movies that dealt with the Privacy issues we increasingly face. These films demonstrate the importance of privacy matters, and why Bill C-51 must not pass.
The Lives of Others
CORRECTION: My Numbers were Incorrect.
The premise of this article was my speculation that Bill C-51 might have been voted down at 3rd Reading in the House of Commons by the combined vote of all non-Conservative MPs (since so many Conservative MPs abstained from voting).
It has been brought to my attention (through the comments– thanks Sharon Best) that my count was indeed incorrect. Assuming I have the numbers right now, it seems that the Conservatives were 5 ahead on MPs.
Bill C-51 is being fast tracked by the Harper Government. Although the Conservative Party only got around 30% of the vote in the 2011 election, thanks to the screwy unfair electoral system we have, the walked away with 100% of the power.
Although the NDP forms the Official Opposition, the reality is that the Harper Government can vote down every other party on brute force alone, and we have seen numerous examples of it doing just that.
Since there are no real checks or balances left to us ~ will the Senate transcend it’s rubber stamp-hood and stop Bill C-51? We won’t know until next week. In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to start keeping track. I don’t know about you, but I will certainly never trust any politician who voted for Bill C-51. It doesn’t matter that voting against it would not have stopped it against a Conservative onslaught.
Looking at the numbers, I have to wonder. A striking number of MPs didn’t vote at all. Math is not my strong suit, but right now the House of Commons is down 4 seats, so there are 304 seats in total. But looking at the number, you can see just how smug the Harper Government was… a whopping 13 Conservatives didn’y bother to vote. In fact, there were a mere 146 Conservative votes cast that day. Which means Bill C-51 could have been voted down.
I understand young Justin Trudeau has done nothing but put his foot in it on this one. His decision to support Bill C-51 and the hollowness if his various justifications have led to a goodly amount of dismay out here in the world where citizens are worried about the masive loss of civil liberties coming our way.
But instead of reconsidering his position, Mr. T dug in his heels and presumably ordered his MPs to follow his lead in supporting the wworst legislation Canada has ever seen. Trudeau’s refusal to back track in the face of facts is reminiscent of Mr. Hudak going down with his own ship in the last Ontario election. Maybe Mr. Trudeau is worried he might be accused of shilly-shallying if he changed his mind. Or looking weak, or foolish, or whatever.
But the fact remains, the one thing Mr. Trudeau might have done to rehabilitate himself and his party’s chances would have been to quietly consolidate opposition to the terrifying legislation. If he has worked to ensure every single non-conservative MP voted against Bill C-51 he would have taken advantage of Mr. Harper’s hubris (the man himself didn’t even bother to show up and vote for his own Secret Police Bill) and voted Bill C-51 down.
Justin Trudeau lost out on a classic opportunity to get the egg off his face by getting Bill C-51 thrown out. If he keeps this up, he will be lucky if his party manages to hang on to fourth place status come October.
My numbers come from Open Parliament’s Vote #395 on May 6th, 2015
YES VOTES NO VOTES ABSTENTIONS
Louis Plamondon Claude Patry
YES VOTES NO VOTES ABSTENTIONS
Diane Ablonczy Chris Alexander
Mark Adler Keith Ashfield
Leona Aglukkaq John Baird
Dan Albas Joyce Bateman
Harold Albrecht Patrick Brown
Mike Allen Rod Bruinooge
Stella Ambler Rick Dykstra
Rona Ambrose Stephen Harper
Rob Anders Joe Oliver
David Anderson Devinder Shory
Dave Van Kesteren
Peter Van Loan
Forces et Démocratie
YES VOTES NO VOTES ABSTENTIONS
. Jean-François Larose Jean-François Fortin
YES VOTES NO VOTES ABSTENTIONS
. Bruce Hyer
. Elizabeth May
YES VOTES NO VOTES ABSTENTIONS
Scott Andrews Massimo Pacetti André Bellavance
Liberal Party of Canada
YES VOTES NO VOTES ABSTENTIONS
Eve Adams Gerry Byrne
Mauril Béanger Arnold Chan
Carolyn Bennett Lise St-Denis
YES VOTES NO VOTES ABSTENTIONS
. Malcolm Allen Tyrone Benskin
. Charlie Angus Pierre Jacob
. Niki Ashton Christine Moore
. Alex Atamanenko Marc-André Morin
. Robert Aubin Nycole Turmel
. Paulina Ayala
. Charmaine Borg
Ruth Ellen Brosseau
Pierre Dionne Labelle
Rosane Doré Lefebvre
. Alain Giguère
. Thomas Mulcair
Anne Minh-Thu Quach
Today there will be a Stop Bill C-51 march in Kitchener [here’s a map]
Concerned citizens will leave Montgomery Park at 5:00pm and march to Victoria Park.
The march will be followed by discussion and a barbeque in Victoria Park.
On Saturday there will be a STOP BILL C-51 CONVERGENCE at Parliament Hill, fittingly at the Human Rights Monument, where concerned citizens will protest this dreadful proposed legislation (currently before the Senate) that will render Canadian civil rights protections meaningless. Protests will again be held in a Canada Wide DAY OF ACTION. There are buses being arranged to take concerned citizens from Toronto to Ottawa.
Canadian civil rights are supposed to be protected by the Canadian Bill of Rights introduced by Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the Canadian Constitution repatriated by Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. These rights we have are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This is NOT a partisan issue, this is a Canadian issue: we ALL need civil rights.
It is legally unconstitutional to breach these rights, and yet Mr. Harper plans to do it anyway (and has been so far been shamefully supported by the Liberal Party.) Kind of tells you what the Harper Government thinks of our Constitution.
The Senators are indeed partisan which has been proven time and again as Prime Ministers from Brian Mulroney to Jean Chrétien to Stephen Harper have proven by stacking the Senate again and again and again as the Senate provides its rubber stamp to increasingly bad legislation.
Stripping Canadians of civil and human rights protections will not make us safe; that is the Big Lie.
Civil rights protect us.
If the Senate follows along like sheep on an issue of this magnitude, an issue that strikes at the heart of every Canadian, it would resoundingly prove that there is no hope for this body to ever provide Canadians with sober second thought, and I will finally come to agree with Mr. Mulcair’s intention to remove it from the Canadian political landscape when his NDP forms government this fall.