Monday, March 31, 2014

MythBuster: Ranked Ballot Voting is the same as First-Past-the-Post

Proportional Representation true-believers are fond of saying there’s no difference between First-Past-the-Post and Ranked Ballot Voting. Both, they say, are "winner-take-all" systems.

Of course, if we had RBV in 2011, the NDP and Liberals would’ve formed the government on 50% of the vote and 53% of the seats. How an NDP minority is supposed to be the same as a Harper dictatorship on 40% of the vote is beyond me.

RBV stops winner-take-all

Fact is RBV stops the winner-take-all phenomenon. Take for example, the 2011 election. Three-way center-left vote splitting allowed the Cons to win dozens of center-left ridings.

This winner-take-all effect at a riding level spread out federally allowing the Cons to win 54% of the seats on 40% of the vote — and 100% of the power.

RBV stops Con MPs from winning center-left ridings. That prevents the Conservative party from winning a majority of seats on a minority of votes. That’s obviously a lot better that corrupt FPP.

Literal democracy

Of course, RBV doesn’t discriminate against Conservatives. It prevents any minority party from weaseling absolute power. It ensures an actual majority of voters is represented in government — literal democracy as opposed to our ironic form.

MythBuster: neo-Nazis will rise to power if we use Proportional Representation

This is a variation on the fringe-party-explosion fallacy. It’s based on the idea that if we have a low 3% threshold — the vote required before a party can get federal seats — fringe parties, that don’t even come close to breaking 1%, will suddenly fill up the legislature.

So if you believe that nonsense, why not proclaim this means a fringe party is certain to win 50% of the vote and rise to absolute power?

1933 German election

To debunk this silliness, let’s use the 1933 German election as an example.

Hitler came to power on 43% of the vote using “scary PR.” Of course, he was still the leader of a minority party and had to form a coalition to form the government.

If Germany had used First-Past-the-Post, however, Hitler would’ve won a landslide majority and gotten absolute corrupt power directly.

Then the papers would’ve had ridiculous headlines like they do in Canada after an election: “Hitler was given a resounding mandate by voters!” — like Mulroney with free trade in 1988 on 43% of the vote.


PR puts an end to minority party dictatorships. It doesn’t create them. It ensures an actual majority of voters is represented in government.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Income-tax burden explodes under Harper

Harper tries to boast he has provided “tax relief” for Canadian families. But the fact is all his boutique tax expenditures, tax-free tax havens and failed corporate tax cuts have actually increased Canadians' income-tax burden.

When it comes to cutting taxes, economists tend to believe that income tax cuts are the most effective. But Harper has been fooling with frivolous tax cuts to target votes, not economic performance.

Income-tax burden explosion

As the Globe and Mail points out, the income-tax burden has exploded under Harper's “steady hand” on the economy:

In the wake of cuts to the GST and corporate income tax rates, personal income taxes are carrying a growing and outsized share of the load of paying for government. By 2018, personal income taxes will account for 50 per cent of total federal revenue – far and away the largest source of money for Ottawa.

Undoing the damage

In order to undo the damage Harper has done, we will need a leader willing to put Harper's wasted tax cuts — which piss away a staggering $44-billion a year — to better use.

It takes money to end 30 years of Tough Tory TimesCanada ranks #23 of 31 OECD developed countries in public social spending. It takes money to create jobs with infrastructure spending — after 30 years of cheaponomics, Canada has amassed a $125-billion infrastructure deficit (crumbling bridges, roads, etc.)

So far, only Tom Mulcair has had the guts to stand up to Harper on this very important issue. Trudeau has vowed not to reverse a single one of Harper's misguided tax cuts that do nothing more than give the rich a free ride and fool with the tax code.

Real change

Canadians must demand real change from Hurricane Harper. That requires real action. Either you are against Harper's corrupt “starve the beast” agenda, or you are for it. There is no middle ground.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Harper’s fiscal straight-jacket: $44-billion/yr in reckless tax cuts

Neo-con economist Stephen Gordon has nothing but praise for Harper’s “starve the beast” hidden agenda. He boiled it down to a 4 step process:

  1. Recklessly cut taxes.

  2. Manufacture a budget crisis.

  3. Justify deep cuts to spending.

  4. Go to 1.

According to Harper’s 2009 budget, his first step added up to $44-billion/yr in reckless tax cuts:

Tax Relief Since 2006 Including Measures in Budget 2009

Fiscal Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
(In billions of dollars)
GST cuts 11.6 11.5 12.2 13.1 13.8 14.6
Personal tax cuts 12.0 15.3 13.1 13.6 14.2 14.9
Business tax cuts 5.3 7.1 8.6 10.4 13.8 14.9
Total tax cuts 28.9 33.9 33.9 37.1 41.8 44.4

To put this in perspective, Harper blew threw the $14-billion Liberal surplus he inherited, then blasted a $30-billion/yr hole in the budget.

Fiscal straight-jacket

Harper’s disgusting agenda is to put any future government in a fiscal straight-jacket.

If they attempt to reverse the tax cuts, the Cons can raise the alarm: “tax and spend socialists want to raise your taxes!” If they do nothing, any spending promises will amount to nothing more than token measures.

Go to step 1

Harper’s 2015 election promises of income splitting and doubling the Tax Free Savings Account tax haven — tax cuts that predominantly benefit wealthy Canadians — is his step 4: that is, go to step 1.


We need real leadership that has the balls to stand up to Harper’s morally-bankrupt agenda to cripple government and destroy the social safety net.

Real change means undoing the damage Harper has done, not cementing it in place with a vow not to raise taxes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The two kinds of voting reform Canadians support

There are two kinds of electoral reform: proportional representation and ranked ballot voting.

PR distributes votes to parties, federally, so they get the same percent seats they got in votes. RBV fixes our existing system, locally, by making MPs earn their seats with a majority.

If we had either system, odds are Harper never would’ve came to power.

(There are three versions of PR used in the developed world: Party list PR, Mixed-Member Proportional and Single Transferable Vote.)

The great divide

Canadians are divided on electoral reform. About half favor RBV and think PR is too drastic of a change. The other half want PR and believe RBV doesn’t go far enough.

The only way we can have a fair process on electoral reform is by putting all options on a referendum ballot: PR, RBV and our present broken system, First-Past-the-Post. Then hold a runoff vote to ensure one option is chosen by a majority of voters.

(All 3 PR versions can also be included on the ballot so one is chosen by a majority using the same process.)

Deadly invisible-option vote splitting

Any two-way referendum is certain to fail, producing the dreaded outcome of an FPP false majority.

With a PR referendum, RBV supporters opt for the status quo believing they will get a chance to support their system some time in the future. With a RBV referendum, PR supporters opt for the status quo for the same reason.

This is why 5 two-way referendums have failed in Canada and the UK.


We need democracy to get democracy. If politicking electoral reformers get the opposing option removed from the ballot, they will end up cementing corrupt FPP as the democratic choice of Canadians.

Let’s make sure the choice of Canadians is respected and represented by putting all options on the ballot.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mulcair has a point on income taxes

Tom Mulcair’s position to not raise income taxes doesn’t seem to be very progressive. According to a poll, 83% of Canadians favor higher taxes on the wealthiest Canadians — the only group that has seen income gains over the past 30 years.

According to the CBC, the wealthiest 1% actually pays the lowest tax rate of any other group — including the lowest. Even free-market father Adam Smith favored progressive taxation.

But Mulcair has a point: Stephen Harper never cut income taxes; so on this particular ground (surrounded by scorched earth,) there is no damage to undo.

Bigger income tax burden under Harper

In fact, according to the Globe and Mail, the income tax burden has vastly increased under Harper:

In the wake of cuts to the GST and corporate income tax rates, personal income taxes are carrying a growing and outsized share of the load of paying for government. By 2018, personal income taxes will account for 50 per cent of total federal revenue – far and away the largest source of money for Ottawa.

Read my lips: no new taxes

Unfortunately, Justin Trudeau is enamored with all of Harper’s $44-billion/yr in boutique tax expenditures, tax-free tax havens and failed corporate tax cuts. He vows to keep each and everyone of Harper’s reckless tax cuts in place.

Even as a de facto red Tory, Trudeau doesn’t appear to put much progressive in progressive conservative.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Con ‘Fair Elections Act’ is voter suppression, not electoral reform

It's depressing to see the only mention that “electoral reform” gets from the corporate-owned media in Canada is to the Cons' Orwellian-titled “Fair Elections Act.”

So now when Canadians look up information on how to fix our broken democracy, they'll find pages and pages of this nonsense stinking up cyberspace.

Real electoral reform

Real electoral reform, which 31 of 34 developed countries have adopted — 92 countries worldwide — means fixing a country's voting system to stop distorted election results and ensure an actual majority of voters is represented in government.

(In Canada and the UK, we dole out absolute power to arbitrary minority parties and exclude the vast majority from government.)

Another Republican import

The “Fair Elections Act” simply imports US Republican voter-suppression techniques to give the Cons a bigger unearned advantage than they already have.

Fact is, under corrupt First-Past-the-Post, a united conservative party is Canada's natural governing party. They certainly don't need to rig the game any further. (Not that shame is going to stop them…)

The only thing I find surprising about this whole thing is that the Cons didn't try to bury it in the back pages of one of their phone-book-sized omnibus budget bills.


The “Fair Elections Act” just makes a bigger mess of our broken-down, slipshod, joke of a democracy. Let's please stop calling this POS “electoral reform.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is Harper trying to devalue the loonie?

When Harper appointed Stephen Poloz to head the Bank of Canada, many in the financial world were taken by surprise.

There was speculation his background at Export Development Canada would make him sympathetic to the manufacturing sector hurt by the strong loonie — which made exports more expensive killing hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs.

People skeptical of Harper believed he might be trying to install a puppet at the central bank, which is supposed to operate at arms length from the government.

Perfect storm

Recently a perfect storm of poorly-chosen language by central bankers is believed to have put the loonie on a downward spiral.

First Poloz gave a gloomy assessment of the economy where he refused to rule out a cut to interest rates (when many expected a time table for raising them.) Then the newly-minted chairwoman of the US Fed, Janet Yellen, came out hawkish on interest rates suggesting they could be raised a lot sooner than expected.

Poloz’s language caused the loonie to weaken; Yellen’s caused long-term interest rates in the US to increase and sent the greenback flying against other currencies.

Manufacturing an export boom

Now there’s speculation that Harper wants the dollar devalued to trigger an export-related economic boom in time for the 2015 election — something similar to what happened in the late 1990s when the loonie fell to record lows.

This would be ironic considering Harper attacked Mulcair last year over his Dutch Disease remarks (the idea an overvalued bitumen dollar was killing the economy in provinces like Ontario and Quebec.)

If Harper is a recent convert to the Dutch Disease theory — and he is manipulating the Bank of Canada to devalue the loonie — don’t expect him to come out of the closet any time soon. This will be just another in a long line of poorly hidden agendas.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wynne would be smart to reverse useless corporate tax cuts

What’s the smartest move to make if you’re premier of a province facing a $20-billion deficit? Cut corporate taxes by $2.4-billion a year, of course! At least, that’s the way neo-Liberal Dalton McGunity saw things back in 2010.

Thankfully, after a 6-month opportunistic prorogue of Parliament a year ago, he’s finally gone. But his right-wing anti-tax legacy still lives on.

Corporate tax cuts create jobs!!

The ridiculous claim that corporate tax cuts “create jobs” has been thoroughly debunked. But what most Canadians don’t realize is that Canada has the lowest effective corporate tax rate among ALL major economies. Our rate is half that of China’s for Christ-sake!

According to KPMG’s international guide for business relocation:

Corporate income taxes are lowest in Canada (7.3 per cent effective corporate income tax rate), France (14.7 per cent), and China (14.8 per cent).
At the other end of the scale, effective corporate income taxes exceed 30 per cent in Japan (31.5 per cent), Brazil (36.1 per cent), and Italy (37.6 per cent).
These effective income tax rates are significantly lower than the nominal tax rates in most countries due to the inclusion of various tax incentives, including R&D tax incentives, in these calculations.

In yesterday’s National Post, neo-con Scott Stinson lamented that Wynne is likely to reverse these failed tax cuts to pay for her transit plan. If true, that would be smartest thing the Ontario “Liberals” have done in a long time.

Self-serving ideology

Corporate tax cuts are just more failed free-market ideology that is entirely self-serving to businessmen and the rich.

Thirty years of these free-market reforms have caused debt and inequality to soar, forced people to work more for less pay and benefits, and triggered a global free-market meltdown we have yet to recover from 5 years later.

It’s well past time Liberals started acting like centrist liberals again by fighting corrupt neo-con ideology instead of helping con men like Mike Harris and Stephen Harper destroy the country with it.

BTW, here's a funny related site: People for corporate tax cuts!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Toronto Star: fiercely against voting reform and real democracy

Although the Toronto Star is said to be a “leftist” newspaper, the fact is the Left will not find a fiercer enemy of electoral reform than the Toronto Star.

Like all corporate-owned news media in Canada, The Star favors corrupt First-Past-the-Post because it’s easier for corporations to lobby and influence minority-party dictatorships than multi-party majority governments (the norm in the developed world.)

Electoral reformers must be prepared for the corporate-owned media onslaught before the referendum drops. Fact is we’ll be swimming in shark-infested waters. The time to prepare is before ending up in the jaws of the sharks.

Debunking the rhetoric

Here are some of the outright falsehoods The Star uses to smear electoral reform:

  • We’ll become Israel/Italy: 29 of 34 developed countries use proportional representation. Israel and Italy are the exceptions to the rule, not the rule itself. Israel has a low 2% threshold (minimum before a party get seats) and the state is divided between secular and religious parties. Italy is in the midst of an economic crisis similar to Greece. Canada does not face similar circumstances.

  • Fringe party explosion: Ian Urqhart claimed a 3% threshold would give the Family Coalition party representation. Of course, the party hasn’t come close to breaking 1% yet. This is nothing more than fear mongering nonsense. The only small party that has broken the 3% threshold is the Green party. It’s not surprising corporations don’t want them to have any representation in government — despite having earned it.

  • FPP stable/PR unstable: I have shown this to be an outright falsehood. Compared to Western European countries that used PR in the post-war era, Canada ranks near the bottom in government stability using primitive FPP. PR would end polarizing politics and bring stability to Canada.

  • PR will destroy the economy: Yes, of course. If corporations can’t lobby and influence government, the economy will go down the drain. Corporations “create jobs” after all. The reality, of course, is that the economy is in a huge mess after 30-years of pro-business free-market reforms. Like Churchill said, democracy is the best of all worse alternatives — and that includes plutocracy.

The rhetoric itself

Here are ten anti-electoral-reform articles from The Star, six of which helped torpedo the 2007 PR referendum in Ontario.

There will be a lot more to come after the 2015 election if the opposition forms the government and commissions a citizens’ assembly looking into voting reform (which both the Liberals and NDP promise.)

In short, the Toronto Star is just another bullshit newspaper with a corporate agenda — plutocracy with the conscience of a liberal.

Toronto Star: Bad electoral medicine (Feb 23, 2007)

But the strong support among [citizen] assembly members for this electoral model is another ill-advised step down the road toward scrapping our current “first-past-the-post” method, which awards ridings to the candidate who wins the most votes. It is a system that, while not perfect, has served us well. …
By contrast, proportional representation is a recipe for unstable coalitions, permanent minority government and legislative chaos. For proof, one need look no further than Israel and Italy.

Toronto Star: Thomas Walkom: Political left should be careful what it wishes for (May 19, 2007)

As New Zealand’s experience demonstrates, a move to proportional representation introduces new and unpredictable centrifugal forces into politics. Put bluntly, it encourages parties to fracture. …
Critics of electoral reform say it would create deeply unstable governments. Fans say it would make politics more responsive. In New Zealand, neither happened. The country muddles along much as it did before.

Toronto Star: Elections and democratic ideals (Sep 23, 2007)

More important than the semantics of democracy is the actual democratic experience. This experience is shaped primarily by the underlying political culture, not by the electoral system. The electoral system is a sidebar in any democratic audit of a state’s political system.

Toronto Star: Ian Urquhart: Why I’m voting against MMP (Sep 28 2007)

Under the MMP model recommended by the citizens’ assembly in Ontario, these [fringe] parties would need just 3 per cent of the popular vote – about 150,000 votes – to gain four seats in the Legislature. … That’s why I’ll be voting against MMP.

Toronto Star: Electoral reform a backward step (Sep 30, 2007)

The alternative, mixed-member proportional system has been endorsed by a panel of ordinary citizens created after the 2003 vote, during which McGuinty ill-advisedly promised to study electoral reform. …
No one suggests that first-past-the post is perfect. But Ontario’s current system is democratic and robust, delivering strong, stable government that works. Why strain to “fix” what isn’t broken?

Toronto Star: Electoral reform fraught with risk (Oct 9, 2007)

Granted, some minority or coalition governments do manage to deliver solid, progressive government. But they are rarities. More commonly, governments in proportional systems are divisive, unstable, short-lived and paralyzed by conflict. Too often, the leading party is forced to align with small, sometimes radical, special-interest parties. That can badly skew the policy-making process.

Toronto Star: Electoral reform redux (Nov 29, 2007)

Some people just won’t take no for an answer.
In a province-wide referendum last month, Ontario voters soundly rejected a proposal to replace the current electoral system with a new method of voting called “mixed-member proportional.” The results were not even close. Only 37 per cent of voters endorsed the alternative on offer, far short of the 60 per cent threshold required.

Toronto Star: PR: Still a bad idea

Proportional representation allocates seats in Parliament according to the share of the popular vote attained by each party. Thus, the Conservatives, with 38 per cent of the popular vote in last week’s election, would have just 117 seats, not 143. …
In the eyes of the electoral reformers, this would mean that the Liberals, New Democrats and Greens … could get together in a coalition to topple Prime Minister Stephen Harper….
[Yet] in all likelihood, if Canada had a system of proportional representation, the outcome would be very different…. The pro-life Christian Heritage Party, for example, might win enough votes to get seats. And new parties might emerge to win seats – say, an Alberta First party or even ethnic parties.
So Harper might be kept in power by entering a coalition with pro-life and Alberta First parties. Now that, indeed, is a scary prospect.

Toronto Star: Israel’s voting system (Feb 13, 2009)

For Canadians who were shocked by the backroom deal late last year that led to the formation of a [Liberal/NDP] “coalition” to supplant the [Harper] Conservatives in office, this kind of horse-trading is another reason to think twice about bringing proportional representation here.

Toronto Star: Bob Hepburn: Hepburn: If you hate how we vote in Ontario, try this (Sep 21, 2011)

I think our current system [FPTP], despite its flaws, has worked well, delivering strong and stable governments that work. Also, I firmly believe that supporters often over-exaggerate the impact on voter turnout and ignore the risks of other systems, including perpetual minority governments, legislative gridlock and backroom deals with fringe parties that have radical agendas.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mulcair smart enough to fight fire with fire

Thomas Mulcair unloaded both barrels on newly minted finance minister Joe Oliver with sound bites that grabbed the media spotlight. After watching a parade of political leaders go down in flames on a lame “stay positive” gambit, this was a welcome relief.

Of course, instead of resorting to slander and lies like the Cons are so fond of doing, Mulcair hammered Oliver — mercilessly and deservedly — with hard facts. Watch how Mulcair packs many hard-hitting and focused blows into a few attention-grabbling statements:

  1. Oliver is a climate science denier: “He has denied global warming as a scientific reality.”

  2. Oliver is anti-First Nations: “And as one of the chiefs in British Columbia who was the object of his invective said, his attacks on First Nations go beyond mere paternalism. They’re tinted by racism.”

  3. Oliver is an international embarrassment: “Joe Oliver is an embarrassing nomination as finance minister for a G7 country. [His] information on global warming has consistently proven to be fanciful.”

  4. Even the Cons are ashamed of Oliver: Mulcair said he found the “secret swearing-in ceremony” amusing. “It’s like a cult that he’s just become a member of. If they’re proud of Joe Oliver as minister of finance, why in heaven’s name wasn’t the media allowed to attend the ceremony? I do think it’s a sign that they’re not even sure of their own appointment, frankly.”

Real politics

It’s bad strategy to be the whipping boy of Con bullies hoping Canadians will take pity on you. That does not inspire leadership. People expect leaders to be able to handle bullies by turning the tables on them.

Leadership contests have always been a brutal affair. This is what people expect at a visceral level. To really defeat Harper, a leader is going to have to have the wherewithal to pound him into the mat until he is bruised and bloodied laying in the fetal position calling out for his mommy.

Failed leaders like Dion and Iggy did not garner much sympathy — or votes — when Harper made a meal of them. So isn’t about time to stop fooling around with sanctimonious bullshit?


No doubt, much can to be done to take politics to a higher level — like stopping US-style attack ads with truth-in-advertising legislation. But the war must first be won before a Geneva convention can be signed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Flaherty’s $56-billion deficit wasn’t caused by stimulus spending

Flaherty is getting too much credit for balancing a budget mess he created in the first place with reckless tax cuts.

An article from the Canadian Press associates Flaherty’s $56-billion deficit in 2009 with a stimulus package to help cushion the blow from the 2008 global economic meltdown. (A package the Cons were originally opposed to.)

Clearly the journalist who penned the article flunked high school accounting. The fact is, the stimulus package cost $20-billion a year for two years. By 2011, the stimulus spending was over and no longer a part of the budget or the deficit.

So why did the Flaherty still have a whopping $26-billion deficit in 2011, after inheriting a $14-billion surplus in 2006? The answer lies in the 2009 budget itself:

Tax Relief Since 2006 Including Measures in Budget 2009

Fiscal Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
(In billions of dollars)
GST cuts 11.6 11.5 12.2 13.1 13.8 14.6
Personal tax cuts 12.0 15.3 13.1 13.6 14.2 14.9
Business tax cuts 5.3 7.1 8.6 10.4 13.8 14.9
Total tax cuts 28.9 33.9 33.9 37.1 41.8 44.4

Here the budget says the total tax cuts — excuse me, “tax relief” — will add up to $44.4-billion/yr by the fiscal year 2013.

That goes a lot further to explaining the $26-billion hole still left in the budget in 2011. It also explains the myriad of reckless spending cuts that followed the reckless tax cuts — most of which went to the rich.


Given the Harper Government’s practice of Soviet-style secrecy that includes withholding public budget documents from Budget Office it created, it will be impossible to know what the real budget numbers are until we get a more trustworthy government.

It should also be noted that Flaherty said a $5.6-billion deficit was a balanced budget while finance minister in Ontario back in 2003. He has certainly not given Canadians any reason to believe he ever repented of his fraudulent “creative accounting” ways.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Canada’s crazy idea of majority rule

I think it would be funny to watch Rick Mercer take his mike to the streets and ask Canadians what the word “majority” means. Although I probably spend more time than the average person reading the political sections of various online news media, I sure in hell don’t know it means. At least, what it’s supposed to mean in Canada.

Outside of the Canadian loony bin, in the rest of the developed world, people would have no problem answering the question. They might say, it means a government has the authority to govern because it represents a majority of voters.

Here in Canada we do the opposite. We dole out absolute power to minority parties — or rather to the indirectly-elected leaders of minority parties — and call it a “majority.” This bizarre process actually shuts the real majority out of government.

If you have a twisted sense of humor like me, you might crack a wry smile at our silly, ass-backwards implement of democracy. Unfortunately, when someone like Harper winds up with all the power, it’s no longer a laughing matter.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

If Canada was a real democracy, Harper likely wouldn’t have came to power

In the rest of the developed world, the party with the most votes means nothing. Government represents an actual majority of voters which almost always takes the form of multi-party majority governments.

How the vote is divided among parties that arbitrarily divide up the political spectrum is irrelevant.

2011 election

If we had ranked ballot voting in 2011, Harper would’ve been ousted. This would’ve prevented him from winning dozens of center-left ridings. That would’ve allowed the NDP and Liberals to form a majority government on 50% of the vote and 53% of the seats.

Instead we got a Harper dictatorship on 40% of the vote (the opposite of what voters wanted.)

If we had proportional representation, even better. We would’ve got either an NDP-Liberal coalition or NDP-Liberal-Green coalition (depending on the threshold.)

Earlier elections

Harper fared even worse in earlier elections. In 2008, the Liberals and NDP could’ve formed a coalition government (the norm in the developed world) with Bloc support (the same support they gave Harper when he came to power in 2006.)

With either PR or RBV, the Liberals and NDP would’ve got more seats reflecting the real will of voters.

In 2006, even under our distorted system First-Past-the-Post, the Liberals and NDP had more seats than Harper: 132 to 124. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t have worked together to form the government.

Democracy not a horse race

Democracy means rule by the people. It’s absurd to turn it into a horse race.

By fixing our voting system, this will stop Harper-like leaders from ever getting unfettered power again.

Is this gaming the system to give progressive voters an unearned advantage? Actually the opposite is true. Our present system is skewed towards a united Conservative party because of opposition party vote splitting.


Electoral reform is impartial. It simply ensures the true will of Canadians is carried out. That makes it the most important issue of all. From real democracy, all else follows.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who loves First-Past-the-Post — for all the wrong reasons?

There are three groups of people who love our corrupt and undemocratic voting system, First-Past-the-Post: partisans, businessmen and Conservatives.

Partisans love it because it doles out unfettered power on 39% of the vote. This prospect is so tantalizing for partisan leaders, they’re gladly willing to wait years in the wings for their shot at absolute corrupt power.

Businessmen love it because it’s much easier to lobby and influence minority-party dictatorships than multi-party democratic governments (the norm in the rest of the developed world.) That’s why the corporate-owned media in Canada suppresses and attacks the issue of electoral reform.

Conservatives love it because it makes them Canada’s natural governing party against the wishes of Canadians. What’s not to love about that? Since 1935, right-leaning voters have only been united under Mulroney and Harper. Even if they lose in 2015, they know it won’t be long before they’re back in running things (into the ground.)

Immoral of the story

With all this corruption, it’s up to Canadians to stand up and take responsibility for our democracy (or lack thereof.) No one’s going to do it for us.

If we’re too lazy or cowardly, we probably deserve what we have coming. But surely our children do not.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Proportional representation much more stable than First-Past-the-Post

One of the lies the corporate-owned media spreads about PR is that it leads to “short-lived governments paralyzed by conflict.” According to the “leftist” Toronto Star:

The best argument in favour of [FPP] is that it leads to strong governments. By contrast, proportional representation is a recipe for unstable coalitions, permanent minority government and legislative chaos.

If one checks out the facts, however, the opposite is shown to be true.

Let’s compare Canada’s post-war government stability under FPP to that of Western European nations that use “chaotic” PR:

At 3.1 years ranking 11 of 12, Canada is clearly no paragon of government stability under “strong, stable” FPP. (For more details click here.)

Why is FPP less stable?

Andrew Coyne points out why FPP is actually less stable than PR:

“We think of minority governments as unstable because, in our present winner-take-all system, they are: the payoff from [a] two per cent swing [vote] is such that every party has its finger poised over the election button, ready to press it the minute they get a pop in the polls.
“But take away the leverage—let a two per cent swing in the popular vote mean a two per cent change in seats—and everyone is forced to calm down. Politics becomes more incremental, a matter of long-term persuasion, rather than short-term gambles.”

Why does the corporate media support FPP?

Why does the corporate-owned media support corrupt FPP while suppressing and attacking electoral reform? The answer is simple: businessmen can better lobby and influence minority-party dictatorships than multi-party democratic governments (which are the norm in the developed world.)


A referendum is likely coming down the pike if the opposition forms the government in 2015. People who think our voting system is broken better beware. Corrupt businessmen are out to torpedo the referendum with slander and lies so they can maintain more control over the country than the people.

If we want to take back our democracy, we’re going to have to fight for it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

RoFo 2014!!

A Rob Ford re-election victory in October would be the best thing possible for Canadian democracy. What better way to show our voting system is joke than to have an international laughing stock put back in office against the will of voters?

Fact is Ford is a largely-harmless buffoon considering the mayor of a city does not have absolute corrupt power unlike a prime minister or premier with a fake majority.

Real pain

If people want to think of real pain, just imagine the Cons coming back to power for another decade in 2017 after bringing down an opposition minority government that formed in 2015.

Fact is, with 3-way center-left vote-splitting awarding the Cons dozens of center-left ridings, that's what's likely to happen — especially if Jim Prentice becomes leader.

Without voting reform, a united Conservative party is Canada's natural governing party. And that's no laughing matter.

Free trade with South Korea more boneheaded ideology

Thirty years of free-market reforms have caused debt and inequality to soar, hollowed out the middle class, hobbled income mobility and produced a global economic meltdown we have yet to recover from. So what’s the best way to turn things around? More free-market reforms, of course!

In 2010, Paul Krugman debunked the claim that a US-South Korea free trade deal would “create jobs” and fuel a recovery from the 2009 recession. Who is he? An expert in international trade for which he won a Nobel Prize in economics.

Four years later he turned out to be right. But who needs evidence when you can have flaky ideology that is entirely self-serving to big bad businessmen?

Trade deficit

Canada has a huge trade deficit with South Korea. So what happens when free trade is added to the mix? The trade deficit gets bigger.

What’s the significance? A trade deficit means a country is consuming more in goods than it is earning with exports. Like a budget deficit, it is unsustainable in the long term. As a country hemorrhages wealth and jobs its living standards decline. Eventually it will no longer be able to afford the excess imports.

What’s worse is that we will be exporting more raw resources like pork, seafood and lumber while killing off more of our struggling value-added sector. Trading car plant jobs so "beef farmers, salmon fishermen and whisky makers" can benefit is just plain dumb.

Fair trade

Fair managed trade offers Canadians a better deal. This is where government looks out for the best interest of its citizens, not multinational corporations.

Take, for example, the US-Canada Auto Pact. Canada put the squeeze on US auto imports with tariffs. That forced the US to agree to build more cars here to lift tariffs. This created a win-win situation, a la Henry Ford. It created good-paying jobs and economic spinoff that allowed Canadians to buy more cars.

The free trade deal with South Korea does the opposite. The country no longer has to worry about repercussions from not building new car plants here and moving existing production elsewhere.


Free trade has never lived up to the hype. It has killed GDP growth and jobs, not created them. We must demand that economic policy gets results — or reverse it.

Fair trade works. Free trade does not.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ridiculous election results projected in Quebec

Thanks to our undemocratic voting system, First-Past-the-Post, the PQ could win a majority with the same percent vote the Liberals have. With a mere 38% support from Quebecers, the PQ would have a “majority” mandate to launch another referendum.

How on Earth people consider this democracy is beyond me.

Voting in the free world

Of 34 developed countries, only Canada and the UK think it’s a good idea to dole out absolute power to arbitrary minority parties. Most ditched primitive FPP a century ago.

With a united Conservative party, we have a lot of bad things coming our way if we are not smart enough to fix our broken voting system when we get a chance after the 2015 election.

If we don’t have enough sense to save ourselves, maybe we should think about kind the future (or lack thereof) we are handing down to our children.

Voting in the free world

Of 34 developed countries, only Canada and the UK dole out absolute power to arbitrary minority parties. Other countries ensure an actual majority of voters is represented in government.

Check out the different ways developed nations vote:

Developed country voting info

(Developed countries: 34)
Implemented voting reform 31 91%
Democratic voting system 32 94%
Proportional Representation 29 85%
Runoff voting 2 6%
FPP two-party 1 3%
FPP multi-party (undemocratic) 2 6%

Here are the voting systems in more detail:

Developed Countries (IMF)

Country Voting System Variation
Anglo-Saxon countries
Australia Runoff vote PV
Canada FPP Multi-party state
Ireland PR STV
New Zealand PR MMP
UK FPP Multi-party state
US FPP Two-party state
European countries
Austria PR Party list
Belgium PR Party list
Cyprus PR Party list
Czech Republic PR Party list
Denmark PR Party list
Estonia PR Party list
Finland PR Party list
France Runoff vote Two elections
Germany PR MMP
Greece PR Reinforced proportionality
Iceland PR Party List
Italy PR Party list
Luxembourg PR Party list
Malta PR STV
Netherlands PR Party list
Norway PR Party list
Portugal PR Party list
San Marino PR Party list
Slovakia PR Party list
Slovenia PR Party list
Spain PR Party list
Sweden PR Party list
Switzerland PR Party list
Asian countries
Hong Kong PR Party list
Israel PR Party list
Japan PR MMP
South Korea PR MMP
Taiwan PR MMP

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My ‘ROC’ excludes Alberta

Jeffrey Simpson writes how annoying Quebecers better think twice about “putting a knife to Canada’s throat” because the “Rest of Canada” is fed up with it.

This kind of rhetoric is something angry white conservatives can’t get enough of. But which group of people welcomes it even more? The “country-wrecking” separatists! Clearly this is the most boneheaded way possible of attempting to meddle in the upcoming Quebec election in which a potential referendum hangs in the balance.

But if conservatives want to get divisive and exclusive, I think Alberta is really the odd man out in Canada. The province has two political parties: conservative and ultra conservative. Their small-government, anti-environment, social-con creed is much more in tune with Republican America than the Canada I grew up in.

The real ROC

The real rest of Canada includes Quebec whose values helped shape it. The Canada I’m talking about is the one built up by Liberals and New Democrats in the post-war era. It’s a bilingual, multicultural “just society” which has a healthy social safety net and affords Canadians equal opportunity.

This is the Canada Albertans like Harper call a “second-rate socialist welfare state.” This is the Canada Albertans want to destroy beyond all recognition.

Frankly I’d rather see Alberta go than Quebec. Just imagine how many of Canada’s problems would disappear if Albertans took their ball and went home…

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The “Mound of Sound” aka “The Re-affected Lib” has blown a gasket

Yesterday the “Mound of Sound” ranted about how Thomas Mulcair was a traitor for not backing the Liberals in the Quebec election. I pointed out how this absurd and baseless smear is exactly the kind of nonsense the Cons resort to (like them calling Jack Layton “Taliban Jack” for opposing Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan.)

Today he went off on a tangent about how his daddy fought in WW2, therefore we should all vote Liberal. Ok… My guess is that he has gone off his medication or something. It's painfully obvious he not making the slightest lick of sense.

He called me a “Dipper” for coming to Mulcair's defense. (And I guess that makes me an enemy of Canada as well…)

But the fact is I supported Ignatieff in 2011. I voted for Trudeau as Liberal leader. When he became leader, I signed up as a member of the Liberal party.

Buy now I'm having serious second thoughts. Trudeau has ruled out reversing any of Harper's $44-billion/yr in “starve the beast” tax cuts. There isn't a bitumen pipeline he isn't hot and heavy for. He ditched his commitment to ranked ballot voting reform. So what in the hell am I supporting, exactly?

In the next federal election (2015) people should stick to their values and principles. Their vote should be policy-dependent. Because that is the kind of government they are going to wind up with. If you want to pretend otherwise, that's fine too. But you will probably be better off not having your emotions manipulated by blind partisans of any stripe.

I think it's time to wind down this drama and return to a rational debate about policy and issues.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mulcair backs the federalist side in Quebec

The not-so-Disaffected Lib is trying to smear Thomas Mulcair by claiming he's a traitor for not backing the Liberal party in the recently-announced Quebec election. That sounds like something the Conservatives would say, like when they called Jack Layton “Taliban Jack” for opposing Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

Mulcair is a staunch federalist. He opposes Quebec separation and another referendum, which he said Quebecers don't want. It's his job as leader of the Official Opposition to promote federalism and oppose a referendum, which he is clearly doing. It's certainly not his duty to support the Liberal party, which he is not a member of.

Let's leave this kind of mudslinging to the Cons.

It’s the inequality, stupid

Robert Reich has a column in today’s Globe and Mail: It’s the inequality, stupid.

He discusses how almost all the gains from economic growth over the last 30 years have gone to the top 1% — both in the US and Canada. What’s worse, is that the tax rate the rich pay has become a fraction of what it was 40 years ago.

The combination of the two has caused inequality and debt (both public and private) to soar. It is destroying the middle class, hitting the poor harder and hobbling income mobility.

He says the only way to reverse the damage is through tax increases on the wealthy.

Inequality election issue

Inequality and the shrinking middle class are shaping up to become prominent 2015 election issues. But in order to restore the “just society” and “equality of opportunity” of the post-war era, we’re going to need more action and less talk.

We must restore, to some degree, the level of taxation they wealthy paid back then.

Unfortunately, Justin Trudeau has ruled out reversing any of Harper’s $44-billion/yr in “starve the beast” tax cuts, most of which went to the rich. That puts him in a fiscal straight jacket from which he’ll only be able to deliver token measures.

Thomas Mulcair has promised to reverse Harper’s ineffective corporate tax cuts, which will restore $15-billion/yr according to the Con 2009 budget. That’s a good start, but obviously much more is required.

Canadians must demand leaders offer more action before the election, not after, unless they’re happy pretending something is getting done about it.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich has a documentary out, recently released on DVD: Inequality for all.

Here are some excerpts from today’s column:

The widening income gap is making it harder to escape poverty and thwarting equal opportunity, in both the United States and Canada.
Let me explain. When almost all the gains from economic growth go to the top 1 per cent of income earners, as they have for 30 years, the middle class is left without the purchasing power to keep the economy growing and generate jobs.
Once the middle class has exhausted its coping mechanisms – wives and mothers surging into paid work (as they did in the 1970s and 1980s), longer working hours (which characterized the 1990s) and deep indebtedness (2002-present) – the inevitable result is slower growth and fewer jobs.
This hits the poor especially hard, because they’re first fired, last hired and bear the brunt of declining wages and benefits. A stressed middle class also has a harder time being generous to them.
Helping America’s poor presumably requires money, but the U.S. fiscal cupboard is bare, and the only way to replenish it now is through tax increases on the wealthy.
The shrinking middle class also hobbles upward mobility. There is less money for schools, training and social services, and the poor face a more difficult challenge moving up – the income ladder is far longer and its middle rungs have disappeared. …
As wealth has accumulated at the top, it has reduced taxes on the wealthy, expanded loopholes that benefit the rich, deregulated Wall Street and provided larger subsidies, bailouts and tax breaks for large corporations. …
[The rich have] never been richer, but most adamantly refuse to pay anything close to the tax rates accepted 40 years ago.