Tall, Dark, and Mysterious

4/26/2005

Breaking news: British Columbians ill-informed about breaking news

File under: Character Writ Large, Sound And Fury, Home And Native Land, I Read The News Today, Oh Boy. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 3:59 pm.

On May 17, British Columbians go to the polls for a vote and a meta-vote: the vote, on the new provincial government; the meta-vote, on whether to reform the way that British Columbians choose their governments. Right now, BC’s government, like those of the other nine provinces and three territories, is a parliamentary system, with the province divided into 79 constituencies, each of whose electors select one representative to send to the legislature. The representative who receives a plurality of votes in the riding wins. An advantage to this system is that every voter has, in theory anyway, a local representative to the provincial government. A disadvantage is that that government has the potential to be anything but representative: the most dramatic example of this in Canada was the 1993 federal election, which saw the Progressive Conservatives get over 20% of the popular vote - and fewer than 1% of seats in the House of Commons.

The proposal is to replace this system with single transferable voting (STV), a system already in use in Australia, which would broaden the consistutencies and allow voters to rank their candidates from most to least favourite. Each constituency would then send between two and seven representatives to the provincial legislature.

With the referendum on STV a mere three weeks away, it would seem that Teh Media would have a lot to say about this new system, right? Well, they do, and they’re all in agreement: STV is complicated, and Canadians don’t know much about it. And that’s about it:

  • From the Vancouver Sun:

    [Pollster Angus] Reid predicted that the system of proportional representation will fail to get the support it needs to become law because it is too complicated.

    “No one can explain what this is all about. I’ve got a PhD in stats and I can’t explain it,” he complained.

  • More from Reid, on the polling company’s own site:

    Very few adults in British Columbia are informed about a proposal to elect lawmakers in a different way, according to a poll by The Strategic Counsel released by CTV and the Globe and Mail. 42 per cent of respondents in the Canadian province say they know a little about the single transferable vote (STV) system, while 47 per cent know nothing at all.

  • The Globe and Mail agrees, spending six paragraphs rehashing British Columbians’ ignorance before making some lame attempt to remedy it with an STV By Dummies, For Dummies approach, and concluding with a poll reiterating how ignorant we all are:

    The STV system would ask voters to number the candidates on the ballots in order of preference.

    By tallying alternative choices, candidates who in the current system might have gone down to defeat could win.

    The number of ridings would be reduced and each riding would have more than one MLA.

    Under the STV system, if a party received 40 per cent of the votes, it would obtain 40 per cent of the seats in the House. (Ed’s note: no, it won’t. STV will approximate proportional representation better than a parliamentary system, but it’s completely inaccurate to equate the two.)

  • And here’s a bizarre and dreadfully formatted article from the South Delta Leader that raves about how much people are learning about STV. The article then links to some cartoons on a partisan website (see also, “Dummies”, above) that, according to a promoter of STV, “provide the ‘ah-hah!’ moment that seems to clarify this for most people who see it”. Presumably the South Delta Leader’s readers would react the same way if its journalists then followed up with any actual information about STV, which they don’t: all we get from them after this is some pap about how all the cool people are supporting STV.

And that’s pretty typical of the usual suspects. Summary: silly BCers, not understanding the news that we’re not reporting. A refreshing exception is an informative page from CBC, which even held a mock election illustrating the difference between STV and the current first-past-the-post system.

I’m unimpressed. As usual, a community of nonjournalists provides more useful and more accurate information. Now that I am finished for the term, I might do some reading on the mathematics of the STV system, which the Wikipedia article discusses at considerable length. (Do any of my readers have any recommendations?)

The alternative media is somewhat better: searching for BC commentary about this, the only online editorial I could find was from the alternative news site, The Tyee, which comes out strongly in support of STV. It’s pretty typical of commentary in the lefty press: informative, egregiously one-sided, and painted with an overcoat of if-only-you-knew-you’d-agree-with-me that is virtually guaranteed not to win any new converts.

Fortunately, if journalists aren’t explaining current events to us, there’s regular folks…for now: a disturbing article in the hipster Terminal City paper reports that ordinary citizens who know something or other about the referendum, and have partisan opinions about it, aren’t allowed to write about them publicly unless they first register with the government:

As of March 1, anyone maintaining a site specifically created for the purpose of promoting one side or the other of the single transferable vote debate without notifying the election office is in violation of the referendum regulations.

The Terminal City article links to two low-traffic (because after all, British Columbians don’t know anything about the referendum!) blogs on the topic: the pro-STV STV For BC - Vote Yes!, and the anti-STV Single Transferable Vote in BC. I’ll be going over them both detail this week, because I think I’m already well-enough informed on how ill-informed I am about the issue.

34 Comments

  1. Interesting, Wikipedia and bloggers strike again. More accurate data, more carefully explained.

    Makes me wonder what the mainstream media does well…besides stir up controversy about stuff that makes for scary headlines.

    - karrde — 4/26/2005 @ 6:17 pm

  2. Funny, I’ve seen lots of articles about this — because, oh no, what if they used it in *Quebec*! And then the PQ would not win as much! Let us explain how this would happen, that the PQ could no longer get a majority with only 40% of the popular vote, and this would be BAD (well, a perma-QLP govt would be, granted, but I remain hopeful that this would bring about a separatism-neutral left-for-Quebec party).

    How badly jerry-rigged are the ridings in BC? Because that would be a huge factor.
    (Sometimes I can’t figure out why I love my province.)

    STV is MATH, though, not just counting. And math is HARD and COMPLICATED, so let’s not bother with it.

    Out of curiousity — and because I am too lazy to look this up — under what cases is STV going to be less accurate a reflection of voters’ preferences than the parliamentary system? I assume it would be when people try to game the system/vote strategically?

    - wolfangel — 4/26/2005 @ 7:42 pm

  3. Hmm, Wikipedia suggests that figuring out what’s the best way to vote tactically is NP-hard, though that’s over an entire election, not whether one single person could figure it out for their own votes; I’m not clear about the loophole they mentioned afterwards. I also wonder how easily gerrymandered (why did I say -rigged in my last comment?) the ridings are in STV compared to FPtP.

    Also, you typoed community. [Fixed - thanks! –MS]

    - wolfangel — 4/26/2005 @ 7:52 pm

  4. Try Chaotic Elections! A Mathematician Looks at Voting, by Donald G. Saari, published by the AMS. He has written a couple of newer books on the subject too. I also recommend the older book Paradoxes and Politics, by Steven J. Brams. Perhaps your library has it.

    - Eric jablow — 4/26/2005 @ 8:11 pm

  5. MS, I skipped reading this post. It seems to be highly involved and to pertain to a political system that I’m unfamiliar with, since I live in a fiefdom called The United States of Bush. It’s hard enough for me to keep up with my own country’s awful political system and the huge failings of its national and especially international policies let alone the political system of that cold place up there.

    - wes — 4/26/2005 @ 9:08 pm

  6. P.S. Could we have some lighter and more readily digestible fare? Some posts about animals, perhaps, or an entry on the weather.

    *giggles*

    - wes — 4/26/2005 @ 9:13 pm

  7. I tend to prefer approval voting to STV, but for some reason most of the other “alternative voting system” people are mobilized behind STV (which foists more complexity than necessary on the voter, methinks).

    - Dog of Justice — 4/26/2005 @ 9:37 pm

  8. Wolfangel - I’m not sure how gerrymandered BC’s ridings are. All I know is that BC is politically very wonky - federal elections have typically been between the NDP and CCRAP to a far greater extent in BC than elsewhere. I’m guessing that this results more from vote-splitting than actual polarization, seeing as BCers are so obscenely noncommittal and mellow (often infuriatingly so - at least from the perspective of an Ontario expat such myself) in every other way.

    But the anti-STV-pro-PQ editorials bring to mind an all-candidates debate before the last federal election - someone in the audience asked the candidates how their felt about proportional representation. The Liberal and Conservatives hemmed and hawed about it; I think both said something nondescript about how if people really want it, they won’t stand in its way. The Green guy said that his party has been pro-proportional representation since its founding, so of course he supported it. The NDP candidate spoke out in favour as well, and the Green guy interrupted and said that the NDP has fought proportional representation tooth and nail at the provincial level, because there, it would hurt them.

    Eric J - thanks for the recs. Unfortunately, Saari’s book (which I’d heard of; when I asked for recs, I was actually hoping someone would remind me what it was called) isn’t available at any library I have access to, and nor is P&P. And I no longer have access to any university library, what with the recent state of joblessness. Feh.

    Wes - the weather has been glorious lately, and I put 110 km on my bike in the last 6 days. Happy? ;)

    Dog of Justice - seems like approval voting is a coarser version of STV - assign candidates 0’s and 1’s instead of rankings. I don’t know how much less reflective than STV it is in real life (I don’t remember where I read that a ranking system most accurately reflects actual voter preference), but it’s certainly simpler. Though most people have preferences beyond a simple yes/no thing. Even a ranking system doesn’t reflect the fact that voters’ preferences tend not to be incremental…in that sense perhaps a system by which we can assign floats would be superior, but that seems a lot more prone to manipulation. Again, I haven’t read that extensively on these things - something for me to do in the next few weeks.

    - Moebius Stripper — 4/26/2005 @ 10:12 pm

  9. Having spent six months living in a consensus system, I’m about ready to screw it with democracy all together.

    - Theo — 4/26/2005 @ 11:45 pm

  10. Oh, ’single’ modfies ‘vote’ rather than modifying ‘transferable’. I would call it the transferable single vote.

    I would vote for STV even without looking at it because anything is better that out current system.

    My perferred voting method is the random ballot. It is both representitive and (on average) proportional. It eliminates tactical voting. It seems to me that most people irrationally dismiss it.

    - r6 — 4/27/2005 @ 12:03 am

  11. All voting systems are inherently unfair, but this one seems less unfair to me than others. I can think of ways parties could try to game the composition of the districts, but at least some parties being unproportionally represented will get some representation.

    - meep — 4/27/2005 @ 5:56 am

  12. Theo, how many people were in on this consensus? I’ve heard it thrown around that ~60 is the upper limit for consensus based decision making?

    - Jen — 4/27/2005 @ 9:05 am

  13. While you’re looking around, you might want to check out Condorcet and approval voting. I happen to like approval voting, as it’s simple and seems to give reasonable results. (I haven’t looked at BC’s STV, though it sounds like instant run-off.)

    - Jordan — 4/27/2005 @ 9:35 am

  14. Comment about the differences between US and Canadian voting systems:

    I may be wrong about this, but I get the impression that the Prime Minister is chosen/supported by a majority of Parliament.

    In the United States, the choice of the Chief Executive and the Legislature are carried out separately. (Occasionally producing things like one party running Congress and the other party sitting in the White House.)

    Also, while there are two houses in the parliament of Canada, it appears that the House of Commons is dominant. It also appears that the Canadian Senate is not analogous to the United States Senate, in that the C.S. is appointed, while the U.S. Senate is elected by the constituents at a state level. Other elements of the system make sure that the two houses of Congress remain roughly equal in power.

    The U.S. system was generated by the need to share power between large, populous states and smaller, less populous states, while still maintaining some equality between various states, each joining the Union of States of its own free will.

    The Canadian system seems modeled from the British system, where the emphasis was on local representation.

    If I can trust the spare description given by the CBC article, it would appear that each voter would be in a larger riding, but each riding would have the possibility of more than one representative. This would appear to dilute local representation, but allow for a legislature that looks more like the nation (in terms of percentages of partisan membership).

    This system would also change the dynamic of voter/representative relations, though I won’t hazard a guess at any specifics.

    It appears that the questions at hand are: what do the voters want? Do they want a parliament that looks like a snapshot of the electorate’s partisan membership, or do they want a parliament composed of people elected to represent a particular locale?

    - karrde — 4/27/2005 @ 9:36 am

  15. Karrde - the Canadian Senate is so completely not analogous to the US Senate. For instance, while the US Senate actually makes decisions on policy and law, the Canadian Senate doesn’t - it just rubber-stamps the House’s. There was this time back in the early 90’s, the it looked like the Senate was going to vote against implementing the Goods and Services Tax. Our Prime Minister wouldn’t have any of that, so he loaded the senate with a dozen or so of his closest friends, who pushed the GST bill right through.

    Re: changing the dynamic of the representative system - one thing that I like about STV (and at the moment, I am quite sure I will vote for it) is that I think it will strengthen representation at the local level. You’re right, the ridings will be broadened and each will have 2-7 MLAs, rather than just one. So if I have a message I’d like to get through to the legislature, I have a choice of representatives, and can pick the one (or more) who I think is most likely to present my case well.

    Theo - I’m not terribly familiar with a consensus system, but it seems like the sort of thing that would be likely to arise in minority governments, no? I’m guessing you’re referring to your time in NZ, Theo - could you elaborate?

    Jordan - yeah, when I started reading about STV, I thought, isn’t this instant runoff?

    [Speaking of which, instability schminstability, I am digging our current minority government. It’s so much fun to watch! Fortunately, when we go to the polls in a few months, we’ll probably get another one at the federal level. Yay! (And, if there is any justice to these things, the NDP will gain, because Layton is the only one of the party leaders who’s been anything but positively loathesome over the past few months. (Cocky son of a bitch, yes; but loathesome, no.) He’ll be the one to watch when the campaign degenerates to a cacophony of OMG SPONSORSHIP SCANDAL versus TEH CONSERVATIVES SUXXORS!!! - both cogent points, to be sure, but rather limiting in terms of policy and debate. And what am I talking about, “degenerates”? The campaign hasn’t even started yet and that’s what’s going on.)]

    r6 - oh, yeah, I think you wrote about this in your LJ at some point, mentioning that yes, we would have a communist government once every two hundred elections or so. I reckon people would actually vote for their first choice more often this way. And then maybe in the future BC would be led by the Sex Party - though probably not before the Marijuana Party took office.

    - Moebius Stripper — 4/27/2005 @ 9:40 am

  16. Actually, I said that the communist party would get one seat once every 100 years or so. It was just a guess, someone ought to do the calculation. <http://www.livejournal.com/users/r6/24206.html>

    - r6 — 4/27/2005 @ 10:52 am

  17. I very clearly recall being told, in high school history, that the Senate occasionally did something good. The chamber of sober second thought. On the other hand, it could be because I was in class with a senator’s daughter (though this is unlikely, because he was one of the few non-pandering teachers).

    I am still not sure that it would strengthen representation at a local level — the ridings are not decided, and I still feel this could be where much is lost . . . permanently.

    Anyone with sense has loved the minority government. I am very much looking forward to the next federal election (which is a nice balance to the dread I feel at the idea of a provincial election). I’m still predicting a hugely unstable Conservative win, with either BQ or NDP balance of power (I waver, though I am currently thinking it will be BQ). Conservative — or CCRAP, as I still like to call them — and Grits will lose, BQ will pick up one or two at most, and NDP should gain some. (”Should”.)

    - wolfangel — 4/27/2005 @ 12:41 pm

  18. I am actually quite impressed with the way Layton handled the deal yesterday.

    He was sufficiently underwhelming in the last federal election that I’d almost written him off, but publicly offering a deal to the famously indecisive Paul Martin was brilliant. We had almost a whole day of media discussion about Layton’s offer while Martin fretted and deliberated over it.

    Going with this was the wise decision to phrase the request in terms of abolishing corporate tax cuts, rather than additional spending, even though the two go hand-in-hand. All in all, it appears to be an exceptionally good bit of media savviness by the NDP.

    Mind you, I may be so unused to seeing the NDP get anything done that I’m being excessive in my praise. Whatever else, it was worth it to see a Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation representative described as ’sputtering with rage’ on CTV last night over the deal.

    - saforrest — 4/27/2005 @ 2:23 pm

  19. I would actually not recommend reading Saari’s “Chaotic Elections” if you haven’t read a more comprehensive introduction to voting methods. That book needs a disclaimer on it that it starts out as a math book and ends up as an opinion piece.

    The problem with voting methods is that they’re math and politics at the same time. In math, it doesn’t matter what axioms you take as fundamental if you end up with the same theory. The theorems are the same no matter how you get to them. In voting, however, you can end up with a totally different perspective on a system just based on how the concepts that build up that system were described.

    Saari wants to describe the Borda count, because he likes it, and he has models that are tailored very specifically to the Borda count. He then gets “unappealing” results when he analyzes other methods - but he’s not finding inherent flaws in those methods, he’s finding that they aren’t Borda enough to look good in his model.

    - Rob — 4/27/2005 @ 2:46 pm

  20. Oh, and you can’t really compare approval voting to STV. Approval is a single-winner method, and STV is a multiple-winner method.

    If you try to elect multiple winners with Approval, then you’re not going to get proportional representation - the winners would all look the same. It’d be kind of like a “Top 40″ radio station when you more likely want a “Mix” radio station.

    If you elect a single winner with STV, then you lose most of the “transfer” mechanism, and you just get Instant Runoff Voting, which is the kind of overrated method that lots of voting reform groups are lining up behind.

    Yeah, I study this stuff a lot. I’m trying to fix up the Wikipedia articles - I recently made some big changes to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_system , but it’s still not a very good introduction. It kind of dives right in.

    But there’s the problem - if you try to build things up intuitively, you end up with a point of view that supports one system over another for non-mathematical reasons, and that doesn’t belong on Wikipedia. It’s quite a tricky task.

    - Rob — 4/27/2005 @ 2:55 pm

  21. “Wes - the weather has been glorious lately, and I put 110 km on my bike in the last 6 days. Happy? ;)”

    MS, are you saying this simply to appease and pacify me? *ponders* Anyway, if you biked 100km in 6 days, I wonder what the average you biked per day was?

    - wes — 4/27/2005 @ 5:26 pm

  22. So… you think Quebec will ever get up the gumption to separate from Canada?

    For the longest time - no wait, still - my conception of Canadian politics was Quebec bitching about their Frenchiness not being adequately respected and then getting paid off to shut up for a while. How long can that situation last?

    I don’t need to get confused with actual =facts=about parties and the parliamentary system, you know. I’m a New Yorker. I don’t have time for facts.

    - meep — 4/27/2005 @ 7:00 pm

  23. Oh wait, if we start talking Canadian politics, do you have to register with the government? This is so confusing.

    Hmmm. How about that weather? Looks like it will be a good year for blackberries?

    - meep — 4/27/2005 @ 7:02 pm

  24. r6 - one seat every 100 years, yeah, that makes a lot more sense than one government every n years, for n reasonable. However, there might also be a seat for Canada’s other communist party every few hundred years, as well.

    saforrest - oh, hey, I was cheering Layton on, and I’m not even sure that I agree with his position. But the fact that he a) has a position that is b) not cribbed directly from the US Republican Party is enough for him to stand out in this lame-ass government. I actually was reasonably impressed with him during the last federal campaign and the year following, but then again, contrast is everything. (ETA - ooh, how timely - once again, the Globe and Mail has its finger on the pulse of the nation - or, at least, on the pulse of that subset of the nation that votes in its polls. Even if we assume that the self-selectedness renders this damned near useless, which we should, over a third of respondents think Martin has done the best job of any party leader. Man, we’ve set the bar low.) I still didn’t vote for the NDP candidate in my riding, as he seemed incapable of answering questions - during the all-candidates debate, he would just parrot NDP policy, regardless of how relevant it was, whenever a question was directed at the group. Feh. But I love how Layton does not back down from his position regarding Martin and the Liberals. For the past year (starting with the last federal campaign) it’s been something like:

    Martin - Hey, Jack, I know that we’ve been trash-talking your party for the last n months, but you’ve GOT to support us now! Because, otherwise, the eeeevilllle Conservatives will have the balance of power, and they’re pro-war and anti-gay-marriage and pro-big-business!

    Layton - Paul, dude, that’s not a good enough reason for us to support you, especially since several of YOUR OWN MPS are pro-war, anti-gay-marriage, and pro-big-business. We’ll support you if you, like, stand on principle.

    Martin - but the Conservatives are eeeevilllle!

    Last May/June, Martin was touring BC warning everyone that if they didn’t vote Liberal, the eeevilllle Conservatives would win ridings. Layton pointed out that in much, possibly most, of BC, the NDP has stronger support than the Liberal Party. Which was obvious to everyone who has ever read an article about BC politics, but no one else was making that point.

    Rob - do you have a more comprehensive introduction to recommend?

    Wes - to find the average distance of 110 km (not 100!) over 6 days, you will need to purchase a TI-83+ calculator. They go for around $150 here in Canada. Then, go to the “statistics” menu, and select the “mean” option. From the list, scroll down to “arithmetic mean”, which will then bring you to several columns of lists. Select “2″ under columns. In the first, L1, enter “110″; in the second, L2, enter “6″. Then go to the “data” option, and select L1; for “n”, select L2. This will give you the average of 110 over 6 days, which works out to 18.33333333333333.

    Meep - there are two things standing in the separatists’ way: Montreal, which is highly anglophone and federalist (the separatism referendum of ‘93 would have easily passed without Montreal); and the rest of Canada, which needs to agree to liberate Quebec. So it’s not just a matter of gumption.

    Also, I’m sure that I don’t need the government’s permission to hold this discussion, seeing as we’re not promoting any one side of the debate. We’re being properly wishy-washy and noncommittal, like good Canadians.

    - Moebius Stripper — 4/27/2005 @ 7:13 pm

  25. Montreal is highly anglophone in some other, alternate reality. There are also a lot of federalist francophones, which you implied. And allophones tend federalist as well, except for Hasidic Jews.

    I don’t think there will actually be sovereignty, but this might be me being a little too hopeful. Canada is likely to say yes as long as the referendum seems mostly legal (Clarity act and no tossing out votes because the X didn’t have 4 right angles).

    Also, the referendum was in 95.

    I am still trying to read up on the voting methods, because this has interested me for a while, but I’m finding a number of them hard going (like, say, this system), as well as a lack of information about how people can choose to vote tactically and how resistant the method is to that and to gerrymandering, because those seem to me two enormous concerns. I mean, the Grits got in half due to tactical voting (if you don’t vote for us, you’ll get HARPER! you cannot protest-vote for the NDP!), and the PQ/BQ only ever get in because urban ridings have up to 4x the population of rural ones.

    - wolfangel — 4/27/2005 @ 8:31 pm

  26. Referendum was in ‘95, yeah. Oops. I think I said ‘93 because I remembered discussing it with the history teacher I had in ‘93 - but now I remember that this was back when I wasn’t in his class anymore.

    And I should have specified “highly anglophone compared to the rest of Quebec” - it’s not like 90% of Montrealers are unilingual anglophones. Not that that is a necessary and/or a sufficient condition for federalist politics, come to think of it…But now I’m curious - I’d never heard that Hasidic Jews were that separatist. Why is that?

    (Speakinawhich - Here’s the Globe and Mail, with the self-selected sample. In case anyone was interested in what a cross-section of people who vote in the Globe and Mail’s online polls think of separatism. I think that in the future, we should settle the issue this way instead of via referenda.)

    - Moebius Stripper — 4/27/2005 @ 8:50 pm

  27. Have I ever bitched (online) about my friend’s father, an anglophone who LEFT QUEBEC and became a separatist? I think Montreal hits just under 40% anglophone, though I have no idea where this number comes from.

    I think that Hasidic Jews fundamentally don’t care — they live in their own little enclave — but they are in Outremont. I also think it’s a way for them to get stuff from the government, which tends to be a little anti-semitic/xenophobic (though they hate Richler for other reasons). It irritates me a lot, since it strikes me as fundamentally wrong (in general, and in Judaism), to be willing to vote your conscience away. If you really are a separatist, fine, but to vote for it so that you can put up a little string around the block and be allowed to wear glasses and use a stroller out of the house on Saturday (note: true story)?

    - wolfangel — 4/27/2005 @ 9:30 pm

  28. Well, wolfangel, they do that here, too, in NYC, but no political party here would dare mess with them. So they’re free to vote for Dems, Repubs, Greens, or nobody if they wish.

    Anyway, good to know I’m a good Canadian.

    I do like the multiplicity of parties inherent in the parliamentary system. And if people, when pissed off at the Liberal party, vote for NDP and not the Conservatives (do y’all call them Tories?) — I’m not sure how that would translate into the eeeeeevil Conservatives coming to power. They’d have to make a coalition, right? With…. the NDP or Liberals. And, I kinda get the concept of the Conservatives, as they sound like a Canadian-ified version of Republicans - but how does the NDP differ from the Liberals? It sounds like they’ve got similar principles in platform, but one has the money and the power and decide that can take the place of principle.

    - meep — 4/28/2005 @ 6:37 am

  29. I’d say the Conservatives, who are indeed sometimes called the Tories, are somewhere between the Republicans and the Democrats, so they’re probably rather like Republicans in ablue state or Democrats in a red one.

    Some people vote NDP instead of Liberal, but some go Conservative — it depends on if you verge left or right w/in the Grit camp and also which provincial parties have screwed you over lately. And, yes, there would need to be a coalition, and it would need to be with the BQ, as far as I can imagine.

    The NDP are further left of the liberals — maybe like the Greens, without Nader? But your description of the Liberals is right on target.

    - wolfangel — 4/28/2005 @ 8:54 am

  30. Please, please, let’s not call the Harper Conservatives “Tories”. That was Joe Clark’s party, and boy, I miss that man. Woulda voted for him in a heartbeat…unfortunately, it was basically me and twelve other Canadians in that boat, which is why the Progressive Conservatives no longer exist. Joe, we hardly knew ya.

    Regarding some people voting NDP instead of Liberal, and some voting Conservative - I reckon the former’s a lot more common. I can’t find the numbers right now, but I definitely remember seeing several polls indicating that the Reform/Alliance/Conservative party was very few Canadians’ second choice. (Hence the merged party getting considerably fewer votes in 2004 than the Alliance and PC put together got in 2000.)

    - Moebius Stripper — 4/28/2005 @ 8:42 pm

  31. This will give you the average of 110 over 6 days, which works out to 18.33333333333333.

    Wait a second. MS, did you use a calculator to get that value?

    - wes — 4/28/2005 @ 10:01 pm

  32. I had the good fortune to vote in the last federal elections here in Australia (for the first time! yay!). They have both systems here, and you can choose the complicated STV or the straightforward, conventional method of voting for one party. I didn’t wade through the Canadian proposal, but it seems to me that if you offer both methods then you can’t really complain about being forced to endure difficult math.

    - Naomi — 4/28/2005 @ 10:49 pm

  33. I realise lots of people get antsy when I call CCRAP (I notice you didn’t complain about that name for them) the Tories, but, honestly: I sort-of knew the Mulroneys (in that I was in school with people who really knew them), and I disliked the old Tories a lot. I didn’t mind Joe Clark, granted, but I don’t think of him when I think of the Tories.

    I think that Grit->NDP might be more popular now that Jack Layton looks like he might be, you know, effective, but I still think that Grit->CCRAP will end up more popular as a change. This is because I’m a pessimist: neither are going to happen in (a) my riding or (b) my province anyhow. I never know what to do in my riding, because though I want to vote NDP, I actually like Irwin Cotler.

    And I also think that had we gotten Belinda Stronach instead of Harper, I’d've been happy. (a) she seems more effective and (b) she’s way less nutty. (Is (b) a subpart of (a)?)

    - wolfangel — 4/29/2005 @ 7:08 am

  34. Well, it’s pretty clear that if Belinda Stronach had been elected leader of the Conservatives, there wouldn’t be so much focus on Teh Gay in the party, that’s for sure; but then again, part of why she wasn’t elected leader is because if she were, there wouldn’t be so much focus on Teh Gay in the party, so. I don’t know how much more effective she’d be than Harper, though, seeing as she a) had no prior experience in politics, and b) she modelled her campaign and packaging off of that tradition of quasi-vapid take-me-seriously-but-not-TOO-seriously female politicians who are on first name bases with their supporters. (For instance, here’s her website, Belinda.ca, which was part of the “vote Belinda!” campaign. I don’t remember seeing anyone urging prople to vote for Stockwell or Jean, for instance - why, that would have been downright improper.) I remember seeing a lot along the lines of “she’s a fresh face for the Conservative Party!” and very little about what was, oh, in her head.

    - Moebius Stripper — 4/29/2005 @ 1:35 pm

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