2011-04-30 02:25:26Canadian Election Chaos
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.200.183

Hey all,

Canada's election is on Monday and things have turned chaotic to say the least :P

The leading Conservative party has seen their support drop from 38% to 34% while the center-left Liberal party has seen their support implode from 31% to 21%, meanwhile the socialist left wing party (the NDP) has surged from 15% to 31%.

It appears to be an election between the far right and the far left with the center left in the dust!

2011-04-30 02:36:35
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.29.80

For non-Canadians: Any implications for climate-related issues in Canada?

2011-04-30 03:01:40
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Neal and Robert,

The NDP want to try and move on AGW, but I'm afraid that it probably won't go anywhere.  The NDP are bleeding votes form the Liverals, and the (neo) cons to believe it or not-- they really have thrown a cat amongst the pigeons, my only fear is that this may act in the (neo) Cons if the surge in NDP popularity does not translate into seats-- Canada has a first past the post system, which is brutal, b/c it doesn't always fairly reflect the total portioning of the vote (in my riding my vote is absolutely meaningless but I vote anyways).

I suspect that we will end up with another minority (albeit it weaker) neo con government, so it will be BAU (i.e., no meaningful action) on the AGW front. Either way, Canada will NOT move seriously tackling AGW until the US does, sad but true. So really, as far as AGW goes we either need a strong surge in NDP and Liberal seats that will allow them to forma coalition without the separatists, or we all wait for Obama.....

It could be that is Harper fails to get a majority that the necons will oust him, this is his third try, but that is perhaps just wishful thinking on my part ;)

Anyhow, that is how I see it.  

2011-04-30 03:01:45yes
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Yes neal, the Canadian conservatives have been horrid on climate.  Their emissions have risen faster than the USA, with the government paying lip service but doing nothing at all to reduce them, and working hard to develop the tar sands.  I'm guessing any party would be an improvement over the Conservatives, but Canadian liberals are very split amongst a number of parties.

When is the election, Robert?

2011-04-30 03:08:17
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

The election is Monday Dana.  The youth are really getting mobilized in this election (previously their turnout has been horrid), and that is great news.

Harper is also very much ant-science too, and his actions are making it almost impossible for me to get work with the Feds b/c although they want to hire me they simply have no money.  Depressing.  Not a good time to be a young(ish) research scientists in any field perceived to be environmental or having ties to climate science.

Anyhow, how is your hand doing?  Have a great weekend.

2011-04-30 03:13:22
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

My hand is okay (spiral fracture though), in a brace for at least the next week, when I get another x-ray.

I just hope the election doesn't end up with another conservative-led coalition.  Seems like that would be the worst result.

2011-04-30 09:39:49Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.200.183

To be absolutely honest it looks like it could be a dangerous election. Canada has a vote split between 3 left wing parties versus a right wing party. In Ontario we could see this vote split causing more elected members from the conservatives. It is ridiculous that a party can get 35% of the vote and be potentially looking close to a majority of seats. We definitely need a new system.

Dana what happened to you btw?

Further on the topic of their anti-scienceness, they have muzzled scientists with environment canada and the department of fisheries and oceans, furthermore the head scientific advisor to Harper doesn't even believe in evolution... god things are brutal. I hope to see the two biggest left wing parties garnering the majority of the seats on Monday but it will be close...

2011-04-30 11:20:03
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203
Had a bike accident, got a bit of a fracture in my left hand. Who are the conservatives in a coalition with anyway? Don't they need to form a majority coalition, or do they just need a plurality?
2011-04-30 15:56:18
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.33.225

In a parliamentary system, a party can be in control even with a plurality of members, provided they can cobble together a majority coalition; as in Germany the last few years. Control can be easily destabilized, however, since there is the incentive for members of the coalition to threaten to walk out.

But it sounds like the problem here lies in the 3-way split at the level of member elections.

In the UK, they are having an election to consider changing the rules for electing members of parliament: to institute an "alternative vote" procedure, so that each voter can designate a 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc. The idea is that if nobody gets a majority among the 1st-choice votes, the candicate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and his/her voters are re-distributed to their 2nd-choice candidates. Repeat, until there is a majority candidate. The basic idea is to collect the voters' preferences, so that one can "effectively" do an election re-run without having the expense of operating the election again.

Apparently, there is a kind of glitch with the UK proposal on offer: voters are not required to give alternative votes, just alllowed to. So if you don't give a 2nd or 3rd choice, and your 1st choice is eliminated, your vote disappears. My previous town, Oakland in California, has implemented this approach for the election of mayor; they call this the "instant re-run" approach. In the last election, there was a 4-way race with no 1st-choice majority, and in the next round the 2nd-ranking 1st-choice candidate benefitted most from the elimination of the 4th choice, and so she got a majority and won. There was some fuss about that, but my reading is that "the system worked as designed": It's just that the leading 1st-choice candidate didn't make an effort to ask for alternative votes among his non-supporters.

I have a feeling that these sorts of procedural changes will be implemented worldwide over the next 10 years; France had a similar problem with their major election a few years ago. Probably the hold-out will be the US presidential election, since it would take a change to the US constitution (=> passage in all 50 states) to effect that.

2011-04-30 18:21:04
logicman

logicman_alf@yahoo.co...
86.147.180.253

"the head scientific advisor to Harper doesn't even believe in evolution."

Robert: can you provide a name?

 

I am researching people who are anti-evolution.  They don't believe that fossil fuels are millions of years old, so they find it impossible to accept that fossil fuel sourced CO2 can be a problem.

2011-04-30 20:06:34Electoral systems
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.193.203

Australia’s electoral system has a similar problem. At last year’s federal election the Greens won 12% of the vote but only 1 of the 150 seats in the house of government, because the system is so biased towards major parties. (Guess who I voted for.)

Each electorate elects one member only, so for a minor party to win seats its votes have to be highly concentrated in particular electorates. The Greens’ support is highest in the inner cities but relatively distributed across the country. It doesn’t seem fair to me that the value of one’s vote depends on where one lives. I suspect more than 12% would vote Greens if they thought their vote would count.

Fortunately, the Senate has more proportional representation, so we now have 9 Greens Senators who decidedly hold the balance of power. Also, the Greens were lucky in that Labor needed the support of crossbenchers to form a minority government, so their one lower house member unexpectedly became a key player. To secure the Greens’ support Labor agreed to set up a committee on carbon pricing – we’ll see how that turns out.

2011-05-01 02:19:07Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.200.183

Apparently he does believe in evolution in some ways but not in others...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2009/03/17/tech-090317-gary-goodyear-evolution.html


Dana,
All they need is to be the party with the majority of seats. Last election they received 46% of seats with 37% of the vote. So they are *supposed* to play nice with the other parties to get to that 50% threshold. They dont play nice though. Zero compromise because they want the opposition to look bad so they can get a majority and move forward on their ultra right wing agenda.

2011-05-01 05:55:00Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.200.183

HARPER repeatedly DUCKED a question during a tense media availability at a Richmond Hill auto shop on Saturday where JOURNALISTS were BOOED and HECKLED by a throng of Tory partisans…

When CBC Television reporter Terry Milewski asked Harper why he was “ducking the question,” the invite-only group of Tory supporters tried to shout him down.

“Shut down the CBC!” yelled one man, provoking cheers from the crowd.

2011-05-01 08:20:16
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Robert,

That is a scary story, and hopefully one that will cost Harper many, many votes.  

"Shut down the CBC"

Unbelievable.  Thank God that we have the CBC, they have done an excellent job holding all parties accountable during this election, with their 'pass", "50/50" and 'fail' rulings following investigations of statements and claims made by the parties.

2011-05-01 08:31:47
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.33.225

Cheer up. Heck, they haven't kidnapped any of the journalists yet. Harper's Canada has a long way to go to get to the level of, say, Libya.

Or Afghanistan.

2011-05-01 08:41:40
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Neal, with all due respect, you are not the one looking for a job as a scientist in Canada right now....I do not like adopting the attitude that things could be much worse (having lived in Africa for many years I have seen that first hand and know that is of course true), but one can always say that, and I'd rather think how much better we can make things and setting the bar higher :)  The Canada of today is not the same Canada that I was so keen to have adopt me back in the nineties, and that is almost entirely Harper's doing.

Robert, I was unable to find anything in the media about the incident that you are referring to.

2011-05-01 09:25:22
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.33.225

Albatross, it's called "gallows humor."

2011-05-01 09:39:07
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi Neal,

OK, as my wife asks me often nowadays..."stressed pussycat?".  Me high strung of late...no, no , not at all ;)  

Sorry, I'll try and relax (a little)...

Have a good weekend Neal.

2011-05-02 15:21:47
perseus

owlsmoor@googlemail...
78.143.222.106

Let's hope the left wing gain the upper hand since investment in Canada's oil sands is picking up after falling during the depths of the global economic recession. Canada's next government will have a growing fight on its hands to promote the industry.

2011-05-02 15:23:54
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Let's hope Bin Laden getting picked off opens up the job market for us, Albie.  One interview in 3 months sucks.

2011-05-02 17:41:15
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.92.118.115

Chin up Yooper, hope things turn around for you. In the meanwhile, I for one, appreciate all the work you put in around here.

2011-05-02 23:51:49
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Thanks, Rob!  I've been trying to upgrade the quality of my writing to your level.  Maybe someday...

Hey, if I hit the Lotto I can then afford to write fulltime!  (Perhaps then I can actually do that post on Great Lakes temperature changes I've been wanting to do)

2011-05-03 03:26:54
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Sorry to hear that Daniel, I too hope that things turn around for you.  I should not complain, as I do have some funding to keep us going for a while.

2011-05-03 12:41:47comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.200.183

Looks like a conservative majority

Guess its time to pack up and move south if I want funding... How can people be so stupid...gawd...

2011-05-03 13:45:16boooooooooo
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
69.230.97.203

Ah geez, come on Canada!  You're supposed to be the smart America.

2011-05-03 15:32:20
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

I hear ya Robert and Dana.  My worst fear (politically) has come true-- this might pretty much torpedo my job prospects and the prospects of a major field campaign that we had in the works.....  Those NDP votes did not translate into enough seats to stop the neo cons. Hopefully 4 years from now people will have seen the lights after Harper and his cronies have shown their true colours.

Also, frustrating that Harper has more than 50% of the seats with less than 40% of the vote.  Also, he got  about 3% more of the popular vote, but somehow that translated into 20 more seats. We need electoral reform badly.

At least when it comes to GHG emissions it is still all up to Dana's clan ;)  If the US moves, Canada will have to as well, regardless of who is in power.

2011-05-03 16:53:16Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.200.183

Unfortunately the split between the left wing parties was too much to overcome. In fact even the leaders of two of the federal parties were not elected. A conservative wave swept through Ontario taking up many new seats with a majority of those being due to vote splits.

Examples such as
19,000 Conservative (Right)
18,000 Liberal (Centre-left)
15,000 NDP (Left)

were prevalent across much of Ontario. I feel proud that once again my province (Newfoundland and Labrador) limited Mr. Harper's inroads. It is a pity the rest of the country did not follow suit.

In Ontario the Conservatives won 75% of the seats with 44% of the vote. Something about that doesn't seem right. The only consolation is that the Greens won their first ever seat by defeating a conservative cabinet minister.

2011-05-03 17:09:55
perseus

owlsmoor@googlemail...
78.143.222.106

The split is the problem, it allows the other side to effectively 'divide and conquer'.

In the UK we are voting on Thursday for the chance to use an 'alternative vote' system.  However, according to the polls it looks as if the present 'first past the post' system will stay. 

The problem here seems to be the same as in Canada.  The more progressive parties combined outnumber the right wing but not individually. 

2011-05-03 20:45:32Alternative vote
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
112.213.200.11

Despite my griping above, Australia’s electoral system is not as bad as first-past-the-post. We have an alternative vote system.

Without the alternative vote the conservative Liberal/National Coalition would probably have won the last election. Instead many electorates elected Labor on Greens preferences. Arguably there’s not much to choose between Liberal and Labor, but currently we have a minority Labor government which includes one Greens member, so something might actually get done.

In our system, the Greens still struggle to win seats, but at least their preferences are taken into account.

2011-05-04 02:08:07
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

So how does it work that the conservatives get so many more seats than their fraction of the vote?  Are they just winning local elections by small margins, and those elections each translating into a seat?

2011-05-04 11:16:25Comment
Robert Way

robert_way19@hotmail...
142.162.200.183

Yea... that's how it works. Small margins with tons of vote split.

2011-05-04 11:21:57
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

If the system is run by plurality, then there is no requirement for a party to hold any sort of majority to hold the most seats.  Heck, even if it is majority and not plurality.  Close elections in which the conservatives have the higher percentage of votes in some districts (for ignorance of the proper term) coupled with large wins in other districts by members of so-and-so liberal party translates into a small overall turnover for conservatives but a larger share of seats.

Such a concept is what Gerrymanderers would look at, for instance: group the enemy and distribute - not too thinly - your own people.

Not to suggest that this is what is going on at all.  Just a connection I remember making back when I took US government in school.