Save the Dates

The New Year is a clean slate, nothing held over from the previous 365 days. It begs the question, what is coming our way that we should be bookmarking as key milestones this year?

February 2019: 4 Federal By-elections will be called for February 2019,   there should be 5 by-elections called this month, the Quebec riding of St. Leonard – St Michel has not been represented in the house for month. The only reason for it not being called is that it will be officially vacated January 22nd, nine months before the next general elections, by Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio. The Prime Minister is not obliged to call a by-election for a riding that is vacant 9 months or less before the next general election.  The by-election all of Canada will be watching is Burnaby South BC, it’s where NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will be tagging his hopes to win a seat in the House of Commons. Early prognications are not good for Singh.  If he loses what happens to the NDP under his leadership? Other ridings up for grabs are York Simcoe, formerly held by Conservative Peter Van Loan, Outremont which was the home of former NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and a second in BC, Nanaimo Ladysmith vacated by NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson to run in the same riding in a provincial by-election. At the time of writing this, no date had been announced by the Prime Minister for byelections.

October 21, 2019: This will go one way or another, you either support the government or you don’t and plan to vote that way.  The subtext of this election is more interesting and diverse.  Is Trudeau doing well?  Is he not?  It has not been a smooth four years.  Two key promises have been broken; despite what Trudeau said, this election WILL be decided under ‘first past the post’ and rather than small meaningful deficits and a one balanced budget there will be huge deficits and no balanced budget for 40 years. Will Justin Trudeau remain a one-term Prime Minister because of these broken promises or will he hold on in spite of them?  As MP’s get set to return to Ottawa the polls are close between the Liberals and Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives, this will be an important session for both as leaders will need to score “points” if they want to be Prime Minister. As the election gets close, has the anti-Harper vote been eclipsed but the “I voted Liberal, but didn’t vote for this” vote? 

March/April 2019: Ontario 2019 Budget will be the first budget from Doug Ford and will build on the November Fall economic statement delivered by Finance Minister Vic Fedeli.  The new Ontario government made may promises about reducing the debt and being responsble in spending.  This budget could be influenced by the promised line by line audit of government spending.  The Ford government has already announced cuts in programs that were brought in under Kathleen Wynne.  Notable were announcements include the end of the Gauarranteed income project, pausing the Francophone University spending and freezing the minimum wage at $14/hour. What Minister Fedeli will introduce will likely shock the NDP and Liberals, but it shouldn’t – the Ontario PC’s campaigned on reversing the out of control spending of the Wynne government.

Before or on May 31, 2019: The Alberta Provincial Election outcome seems to be pre-determined.  A NDP government elected four years ago was a blip on the Albertan polictical scene. It happened because the Alberta PC was too comfortable, an outcome that many governments have had to face.  Under a new leader and a new banner, Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party seem primed to wrestle the reigns of power back from the NDP.   The lone question may be, what capital has Premier Notley earned in her defense of building pipelines and moving Alberta crude to market?  What kind of election result will that give the Alberta NDP? June 1stor the day after the election will be a pivotal day for not only Alberta, but also Canada, Justin Trudeau’s Canada.  With a likely victory by the UCP, Alberta will become the 5thprovince to opt out of the Pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, and eliminate the provincial carbon tax.

Mark the dates on your calendar and watch the events unfold.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker&  @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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Goodbye, Hello and a Sad Farewell

The Headlines say it all…

Closed for Renovations: The Home of Canada’s Democracy 

(Toronto Star Dec. 18, 2018)

Lots of unresolved issues as Centre Block closes

(Penticton Herald Dec. 24, 2018)

The iconic Centre Block is closing indefinitely 

(The Globe and Mail Dec. 14, 2018)

Parliament adjourns for 2018, ending a final sitting in Centre Block for a Decade

(CTV News Dec. 13, 2018)

Closing Centre Block: Parliament Prepares to Leave

(CPAC, Dec. 17, 2018)

An empty House of Commons, December 2018

I have only been working on Parliament Hill for three years, but Centre Block, she is a grand old lady.  There are many areas to discover and to halls to wander down. The Library is an essential visit; there is the hall of Prime Minister portraits (including the story of the ‘wall’ between Jean Chretien and Paul Martin).  Working there, the committee rooms hold amazing artwork that captures our history, the Peace Tower and the memorial Chamber housing the books of those that have died in wars past. 

So much has been written about the “good-bye” to Centre Block that I figure the words on the new home of the House of Commons will be eventually written in January when MPs return to Ottawa.  Walking into the House and watching Question Period is always a thrill, I don’t always have to like the answer but its fun to hear the questions.   The many halls that take some getting used to may not be missed, but the meeting rooms, the corner offices, the Main Rotunda and the House and Senate Lobbies will certainly be missed.  They all have history and a person can get lost in thought when pondering the footsteps of thousands of MPs, Prime Ministers, foreign leaders, Governor Generals and many many many Canadians that might be only a echo in our history – but those steps loom large when you yourself have a chance to walk in Centre Block. 

The grand ole building will be missed, but boy oh boy do we have something amazing to call home for the next 10+ years!  Say hello the new West Block Chamber and the Senate chamber in the old Ottawa Conference Centre, that before that was the Union Station for trains coming in and out of Ottawa.

The work that has been done is phenomenal, the engineering in adding a major infrastructure within a building is something to behold.  The West Block doesn’t have the beauty of 100 years, but it is a beautifully renovated building that will house two large committee rooms that will also serve as the Government and Opposition Caucus meeting rooms.  The attention to detail in the West Block is intricate, the use of what were once outside walls to be indoor, the high glass ceiling in the House chambers creates a sense of limitless opportunities for MP’s all add to the awe of what is now our House of Commons.  

It is going to take a while to know exactly where the offices of the Prime Minister, Opposition and Third Party are and what is the fastest way to get there.  I imagine the many stairs and elevators will lead me astray – I will need a few weeks before I can adequately show guests around the building efficiently. 

Luckily I had the chance to walk through the West Block in November.  It was difficult to decide if I should take photos or just look at the transformation because you didn’t want to miss anything. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10161038762890858&set=pcb.10161038769540858&type=3&theater

Bruce Addo with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2011

Finally, a goodbye to a giant of a man, Bruce Addo passed away suddenly on Christmas day.  He had just started working in the Minister of Environment, Rod Phillip’s office, in Queens Park after the election.  I knew Bruce briefly, we worked on the Larry O’Brien campaign in 2010 together in Ottawa, but the memory of him stuck with you.  He was a hard person to forget, because he broke the mould on how a political person should act.  He never had a bad word for his political opponents, but never shied away from a debate with them. 

He had a smile that never quit and time for everyone for a conversation.   I don’t need to say more about him, the tributes on Facebook have flowed non-stop since the news of his death.  I mentioned to someone that if we all did politics the way Bruce did, Canadians would have a better opinion of politicians.  Bruce had a great future in the governing of Ontario and eventually Canada with a Conservative government.  He would have gone far, now he is gone far away but his smile will always be near.  

We will miss you Bruce.

2018 in the rear view mirror

2018 ends in a few days and it’s time to look in the rear-view mirror on some events that shaped the past 12 months and a few that we should be looking out for in 2019.  35 posts (so far – including this one were posted on this blog, and a good portion, 9 were focused on the Ottawa Municipal elections.  I wrote five posts that were oriented to Ontario politics and the elections there. Six books were reviewed and the remainder of the posts were single topic posts from BC referendum on election reform, South Africa’s day zero of water availability, the #MeToo movement and there were a couple of music posts earlier this month.

In one of my first posts of the year I declared I was living a political year.  The promise I made to myself was to engage in debate and be better educated in my surroundings.  I reviewed three books last year one talked about our political system (On The House by Rob Walsh, posted in January) another was about our ancient societies and how we should always be listening to our past (The Wayfinders by Wade Davis, posted in April) and a third (No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein, posted January) was about a new political way that claimed the NDP Leadership of Thomas Mulcair, that sadly Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis the key authors of the Leap Manifesto chose not to claim.  Now the NDP have Jagmeet Singh as leader and the party’s hopes of a comeback seem dimmer because of it as he doesn’t seem to have grabbed the imagination of the left.

The results of the Ottawa and Ontario elections were not that much of a surprise, Jim Watson walked back to this office as mayor of Ottawa the day after the election with another huge win.  Doug Ford won not once but twice within 4 months and he moved from the Office of the Leader of Opposition on the 3rdfloor of Queens Park to the Premiers Office one floor below.  Both Doug Ford and Jim Watson face new challenges based solely on how they govern.  Watson’s governance model was challenged with his “nominations” for the selection of committee chairs and committee members.  The choices were seen as autocratic and bypassed the nominations committee at city hall.  None of the Watson named committee chairs were denied the nominations given to them by the Mayor.  

While no one should have been surprised by the actions of Premier Ford, everyone acted like there were.  I guess 15 years of Liberal rule in Ontario gave voters a blind spot when it came to his actions, all he claimed, were campaign promises. Those who didn’t vote for the Ontario PCs went on the warpath and protested.  A former Ontario cabinet minister told me once that if there were no groups protesting on the front lawn of Queen’s Park they were doing something wrong.  I believe it would be a true statement for any party in power to make.

Social media and politics provided much to ponder as our political landscape changed.  Elected politicians were challenged by those for the most part that did not vote for them went online and on social media to vent.  In the past year social media became a live debate between voters and our elected officials.  Until recently politicians who blocked those who did not agree with them did so with out any pushback.  In the 2018 Ottawa elections Mayor Watson was challenged for blocking those who oppose his views on social media.  A court challenge was launched and he relented, the Mayor unblocked all Twitter users he had previously blocked.  

The public discussion in the media (and on Social Media) on politicians using publicly paid devices for social media but limiting who could see them online didn’t provide much sympathy from voters. What resulted was the suggestion that politicians should grow a thicker skin rather shut people out.  Those who opposed the mayor’s actions cited the May decision in US Federal court that President Trump could not block twitter users. Once Mayor Watson relented, other local Ottawa elected officials followed suit. 

As Parliament rose for the Christmas/Winter break we saw in most polls a gap between the Liberals and Conservative party narrowing where it could be toss up between Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau. This does not shine well on Trudeau who for most of his term he has had a good lead above the CPC.  However government missteps, bad legislation and the move of the Liberals to a virtue signalling style of governing has Canadians thinking, “I voted Liberal, but I did not vote for this”.  

In 2015 the election was all about Stephan Harper, if Justin Trudeau has his way the 2019 election will be all about Stephen Harper as well.  You only have to go back to the Liberal convention in July held in Ottawa. There, Trudeau spent his entire keynote address attacking Stephen Harper – yep, he was going after the former Prime Minister as if he was still the leader of the conservatives.  Too bad the room was filled with Liberals so they took the whole 26oz of Liberal Kool-Aid without a pause for a breath.  In the last weeks leading to Parliament rising, Trudeau and his Ministers were answering questions in the house as if Harper was across the aisle looking at them.  Canadians must be confused by now.

As 2018 turns to 2019, I look forward to writing about more politics, writing more about books I’ve read and music I’ve been listening to.  Thank you for reading and providing comments about #RedHeartBlueSign, I hope you’ll continue to read along as post here.  

I’ve thought about expanding how I might talk about the things that interest me.  I have set up a new website, www.robertdekker.cawhich has some content, but I hope to use that for posting #RedHeartBlueSign posts and perhaps video content – I hope you’ll like what I will be bringing to 2019 and to you.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

11 (New) Christmas Classics Part 2

Chris Rea – Driving Home for Christmas

For a song that was once relegated as a B-side to a 45 in 1986, Driving Home for Christmas was released as an A Side in1988, it has since become a new Christmas classic. Chris Rea originally wrote the song for Van Morrison – as a car version of a carol as he describes it.   Driving seems to be the UK version of Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You, as Driving Home for Christmas,https://youtu.be/DDt3u2Ev1cI, charts annually in the UK and in 2017 achieved it highest chart position of #14.  The song is ranked in the top 10 of Christmas songs.

Jon Anderson – 3 Ships

Yes frontman released his solo fourth Lp, a Christmas album in 1985.  Though not a critical or commercial success, 3 Shipsis a favourite of mine and it’s played every year. Watch the original video, and try not to cringe at technique in the making of the video, it was 1985 afterall, https://youtu.be/ZSU2TweA6CQ

Sting – Soul Cake

From the album “Winter Song”, Soul Cake is in reality an All Hallows Eve song about souls. The term soul cake goes back to 1893.  There is even a recipe for a soul cake.  I think the lyrics of the song lend itself to a Christmas the tune itself fits nicely into my Christmas mixes. https://youtu.be/qAeTifNBYlo

If you haven’t got a penny
A ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny 
Then God bless you

The Eagles – Please come Home for Christmas

The Eagles recorded this 1960 hit in 1978. Written and recorded and by Charles Brown, the song charted annually eventually hitting #1 in 1972.  The Eagles version topped out at 18 in ’78.  Please come Home for Christmas, https://youtu.be/5LUfDEATQHMhas been a hit 8 other times in the last 25 years, but the Eagles have the definitive version in the modern rock era.

Paul Simon – Getting ready for Christmas Day

Getting Ready for Christmas Dayhttps://youtu.be/bwy6hJULgm0was Paul Simon’s effort to secure the UK Christmas Number One in 2010 (he did not succeed).  But Simon did leave us with a new Christmas song born out of the rhythm of his Graceland Lp and the lyrics that reflect realities of the new millennium. 

Paul McCartney – Wonderful Christmastime

John Lennon and Yoko On wrote Happy Xmas (war is over) in 1972, no one knows if Paul McCartney was just waiting for the right time to write his own Christmas song.  In 1979 McCartney wrote and single handily recorded Wonderful Christmastime, it hit #6 on the UK Charts and #83 in the US. Since ’79, the song has been recorded 25 times; my favourite versions are from the Barenaked Ladies, The Shins and Jimmy Fallon and the Roots (with McCartney) BUT nothing tops the original, https://youtu.be/V9BZDpni56Y 

Everyone has their favourites, these ten, I mean eleven (I could not help myself) are some of mine, I hope you enjoy them and add them to your annual Christmas playlist. I can’t wait for more new Christmas classics in the years to come.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

10 (New) Christmas Classics Part 1

Christmas time is back and all the great music is back with it!  Here (in two parts) I present 10 songs that should be called Christmas Classics.

Run with the Fox – Chris Squire and Alan White

Born out of the failed launch of a new band XYZ with Jimmy Page, the Yes bassist and drummer, Run with the Fox was written and recorded in 1981and released under Chris Squire/ Alan White partnership. The Boys Choir and musical arrangements including the classic Yes bass guitar sound, just ooze Christmas.  I feel lucky that I have a promo copy of the 45 from 1981 scooped up (with permission) from a radio station I was interning in that year.  Take a listen https://youtu.be/TZqRDCif7Ig

Christmas Must Be Tonight – The Band

Jimmy Nelson in Something Else called Christmas Must Be Tonight an unjustly overlooked Christmas classic, here’s the link ofthe review http://somethingelsereviews.com/2016/12/25/the-band-christmas-must-be-tonight-robbie-robertson/.  Nelson gives more history into the tune, so I’ll let his review tell the story of the sone.

Since reading Robbie Robertson’s Testimony a couple years back and diving head first into to The Band, it’s become of one my Yule faves.   The song was recently covered by another Canadian band Blue Rodeo for their Christmas offering A Merrie Christmas to You

2000 Miles – The Pretenders

For a recently written Christmas song, 2000 Miles has been covered quite a few times.  Originally written for the Pretenders late guitarist James Honeyman-Scott in 1983, 2000 Miles charted at #14 in the UK that year.  In North America it was a B-Side to the single, Middle of the Road. This year I heard for the first time the 2003 Coldplay version, which is quite stunning.  The contract between the beautifully played guitar-focused Pretenders recording the piano based Coldplay version was great for my ear to behold. From 1995, here’s a performance video of the song with a nice string arrangement by Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, https://youtu.be/OxCSo_cJ9mY

All I want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

What else can you say about a song that makes a Top 100 return every year since its release, but to say it is a new Christmas classic.  The song topped out at number 9 in 1994, but has made an appearance on the Billboard chart almost annually since then.  Many artists have recorded the song and a duet of the song appeared on Justin Beiber’s Christmas alum in 2011. “All I want for Christmas is You is the 11th best selling song in music history.  Love itor not, this song is here to stay, https://youtu.be/yXQViqx6GMY.

Step into Christmas – Elton John

1973 saw Elton John score another number one hit with Step into Christmas.  It was the top Billboard Christmas song of the year.  Teamed up with the B-Side Ho Ho Ho (Who’d be a Turkey for Christmas) Elton finished a successful musical year with a real Yule winner.  In ’73 it reached spot 24 on the charts and in 2017 when it was re-released it almost hit the top 10, stalling at #11.  The song was written and recorded as a tribute the Phil Spector recordings of the 60’s.  in 2009, Step into Christmas as the ninth most played Christmas song in the UK and has received a  UK silver disc for sales. In the video https://youtu.be/QWMqfKjJoKc you see Bernie Taupin make a rare appearance with the band ‘playing’ the chimes and shaking bells.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Digital Disruption

Liz and I have started attending #WalrusTalks, evenings put on the Walrus magazine.  Our first was October 16thof this year and the topic was Cannabis – 7 speakers talking for 7 minutes.  Why October 16th?   The next day was unique for on October 17thmarijuana was legal.  Fast forward to last week and we attended our next Walrus talk, an evening of disruption.  

I’ve heard of these disruption nights but never took part, but in our efforts to learn from listening to others; we couldn’t resist the opportunity to be part of a disruption. We didn’t know what the disruption would be or how it would be sound.  The ‘disruptors’ included a Librarian, Radio Producer, a Doctor, Cannabis expert, a Daemon follower and a mentor to tech girls.

On this evening this was a digital disruption.

Of the six speakers (one was unable to attend) I’ll focus on the disruptors that brought the left the greatest impression on me, and it doesn’t mean the impression was good.  But the overall message of the speakers was that of how disruption makes us think differently. 

The Librarian

Books and the written word have been disrupting the world since the printing press was invented.  The public library as we know it, courtesy of Andrew Carnegie, has been a disruptor giving everyone who dared to enter the doors of a Carnegie Library knowledge, imagination and dreams.  Guylaine Beaudry (@GuylaineBeaudry) is the Librarian of Concordia University and was responsible transformation of the university’s library. 

Guylaine’s message was, the library is not dead, it continues to disrupt, and that alone should change what some may think of the future of the library.  Whether you read from a bound book, take in a visualization of a story or listen to an audio book libraries will continue to create the change it has since ink first made it to paper.  

Beaudry insists that the library evolves as we evolve and how we communicate changes.  Paper and digital co-exist, or rather can and should.  Though she didn’t mention it, the new Calgary Library could be an example of the disruption that a library can cause in the 21stcentury.

The Cannabis Expert

As I mentioned earlier, our first #WalrusTalks was on the eve of legalization on marijuana. I was surprised to see another cannabis speaker, or a disruptor.  I won’t take anything away from Lisa Campbell (@qnp); she is very accomplished and is now assisting others through the new reality of a marijuana consumer.  Her experience of helping those who needed marijuana for medical purposes had led her though to where she is today.   

Through her seven minutes the highlight of her talk was her epiphany that she had to break the law to make good happen.  I don’t begrudge her success or the good work she is doing – but I do oppose her view that breaking the law makes all things good.  Her disruption of challenging the laws in place is noble – but it should always be the exception not the rule.  If it becomes the rule, disruption turns into disorder. 

The Mentor

The final speaker was Saadia Muzaffar, a tech mentor for girls, a promoter of an inclusive future and advisor to the Canadian government for access to skilled talent.  Take the time to scroll through her @ThisTechGirl Twitter feed and you’ll find someone that talks about fairness in a world of digital growth. 

This evening though Saadia focused on tech, the boom of tech and of tech jobs that might not be all that they seem.  On this evening her message left the greatest impression on me.  

In a digital world of apps and online business; owners, shareholders, investors and customers are the winners.  I compare the digital revolution to the industrial revolution of earlier last century.  The bosses were the winners, the workers not so much.  It took decades for workers to gain equality and earn a salary that were not ‘slave wages’. Flash forward to the explosion of apps that control our lives from our phones.  The new digital revolution has had the same effect on workers as 100 years ago.  Low wages without benefits, today people work for themselves and not for a company on a contract workers and in some cases working conditions that lack humane concern.  

In an era where contract workers are becoming a larger part of the workforce Saadia suggests that we need to recognize that the moves cost us and governments.  Social programs lose revenue from corporations that would pay into CPP, EI, and other programs that Canada has been praised for.  That government will rely more on revenues on contract workers is a concern future governments must be aware of.   Contract workers relying on the digital economy now have a greater reliance on themselves to be able to save for retirement.  

Her message should echo with us when we hear of large companies like Amazon come to town promising jobs, we should be asking not only about the number of job but also about the quality of the jobs and working conditions.  Are these the skilled jobs we need?   These questions remain with me weeks after this #WalrusTalks, the need to dig deep and question what communities receives when a company comes to town.

I don’t know that I will ever fit into a mould of being a disruptor, but I do know that I will always consider where my #RedHeartBlueSign values stand. 

Interested in more of what the Walrus magazine presents across Canada?  Visit the Walrus on You Tube to view previous #WalrusTalks presentations or visit http://www.walrus.ca/video

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

People get Ready

In a twist on the phrase “when one door closes another one opens”  I say “When one election finishes another one is around the corner”.  The Ontario Municipal elections are done, the Ontario election is way back in the rear-view mirror and in New Brunswick we finally have the party with the most seats in government.   So for those of us that are political, what’s next?  Where DO we focus our attentions?  

Checking the election calendar, in BC there’s a plebiscite on electoral reform.  Remember when Justin Trudeau said “2015 will be the last election using first past the post (FPTP)’?  Mail in voting on moving past FPTP to a proportional representation system in BC ends November 30thwith result anticipated shortly after that. The referendum was an election promise made in the 2017 election made the BC NDP and subsequently repeated in defeated throne speech by BC Liberal Premier Christie Clark in an effort to remain in power.

This is not the first referendum on the subject in BC and there have been other votes on the subject in other provinces.  The first vote on electoral change in BC in 2005 saw a majority of ballots cast for a change to a BC version of a Single Transferable Vote system (did you just say “huh” like me?) however the vote did not make the 60% threshold required, 57.7% vote in favour of change.  

Ontario had a ballot question on electoral reform in the 2007 election asking Ontarians to adopt a Mixed Member Proportional system. The vote for MMP failed dramatically as 63% of Ontarians voted to maintain FPTP.  The subject has not been brought up since in the province.

Two years ago, PEI held their referendum. Their vote was a five option ballot with Islanders voting on keeping FPTP, adopting a Dual Member Representation, moving to a MMP system, a FPTP plus Leaders system or going to Preferential Voting.  Too many options and having some of them being confusing caused a split in the results with FPTP finishing with 31% of the vote, second was MMP at 29%.  This vote demonstrates that too many options just muddy the water – a simple question of change, a yes or no vote makes for a simple and clear question.

Here we are today, with a referendum that asks a somewhat simple question – do you want FPTP or a Proportional Representation (PR) election system? If you vote for FPTP, that’s it you are done – seal the envelope and drop it in the mail and hope Canada Post rotating strikes don’t delay your ballot getting delivered.  If you say yes to PR you have to make a choice of what change you want.  Here it’s tricky; there’s Mixed Member Proportional representation, Dual-Member Proportional representation and the third option is Rural-Urban Proportional Representation.   To make this more complicated, the second question of the ballot will be ranked, a preferential ballot if you like.  The system that garners 50% plus one vote of the PR vote becomes the electoral reform in BC.  This entire exercise means nothing if a majority of voters say they want to keep FPTP.

All of this demonstrates that change is difficult; getting people to agree on change is another, it’s a greater challenge when what the change looks like needs to be chosen. 

At some point there will be a change in how we vote, and the change will start in a province before a change is made nationally. Whatever reason Trudeau gave to  “can” electoral reform, it was clear that the reform Canadians wanted was something other than what Justin Trudeau wanted.  

It may take several provinces to adopt electoral reform before this can be a national discussion.   In fact the push for electoral reform may have to start municipally. In Ontario, municipalities were given the right to decide what type of electoral reform to adopt; only one municipality really took a chance in 2018.  

London Ontario moved to a preferential ballot for all seats on their city council this fall.  In the end the only complaint about the preferential ballot was the length of time it took to decide the winners.  Candidates and voters waited almost 18 hours to have all the winners decided; and in the case of the Mayor’s race it was 13 rounds of counting before former Conservative MP Ed Holder was declared the winner and elected Mayor.  A faster computing system easily fixes the issue of time – something I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that London is looking into fixing for 2022. 

For the supporters of electoral reform, change rests on not only the outcome of the BC referendum but on which province(s) follow a successful challenge to FPTP on the west coast.  Nationally, can Justin Trudeau ever be trusted again to be sincere about electoral reform? Who will be the national catalyst for change nationally? 

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net