“And third…”

November 10th, 2006 by Potato

Most of the time, I try to avoid politics since it’s a very cynical area of expertise, and I’m already plenty cynical as it is. However, I can’t help but think that a group of people making laws and budgetary decisions that affect all of us is, in some strange way, important, so I do tune into it from time to time.

There has been some noise made for quite some time now that Canada needs a new copyright act, and two sucessive heritage ministers have been pretty weasely about it: taking money from (largely American) companies in dubious fundraising events. First Sam Bulte lost her riding for lashing out against “pro-user zealots” who just wanted to prevent her from being so deep in the RIAA’s pocket that she couldn’t breathe. [in all honesty, it’s difficult to pin an election loss on any one item; it could be that the opponent was just that much better — but this really felt like the big issue in that riding]. Now Bev Oda has been caught at the trough.

I absolutely love the response from the NDP heritage critic. These guys are so on the ball sometimes:

I have done what I could to have a three point plan to maintain the ethical sobriety of the heritage minister: first, reveal the list of those she is putting the tap for money on so we know which lobbyists are rewriting government policy on copyright and deregulation; second, institute a remedial plan so she can learn how to listen to the groups and artists that she is supposed to be representing; and third, ask the House of Commons carpentry staff to head over to the heritage minister’s office and paint over the big for sale sign on her door.

[emphasis mine]

(First seen on Michael Geist’s site; original source)

In other political news, the municipal election for London is on Monday, and I find it really hard to care much at all. I’ve looked into a few candidates and will be voting for those who I think will be at least decent, but I think it’s almost dangerous to be voting with so little research done. I console myself by thinking that many voters don’t do any… What’s really interesting is just how nasty this really insignificant race is. There’s been an “organized campaign” of tearing down certain candidate’s ads, death threats, blackmail, and other such foolishness.

And in a little bit more time, we’ve got a federal by-election coming up to replace our MP (who’s now running for Mayor of London). It’s very interesting, because at the moment the race looks to be between the Green party and the NDP: those are the only street signs I’ve noticed, and I couldn’t even tell you the name of the new Liberal candidate. I like the Green’s new campaigning strategy: the guy came to the door and told Wayfare “don’t worry, there’s no chance of a Conservative getting the seat in this riding, so you can safely vote Green if you like.” At least they’re acknowledging that strategic tactical voting is killing them.

And speaking of strategic voting, I still haven’t written my letter for the Citizen’s Assembly. I wanted to read the other submissions first, and there are a ton of them there. I can tell you that I’m in favour of any system that focuses on electing individual members and not simply throwing your vote towards a party or party list: it’s all too easy in those systems to get party cronies elected who don’t really represent the people. It’s important to have the power to exclude individual members without necessarily rejecting the party outright (cf. Sam Bulte, and the Tories throwing in unelected members for the cabinet). So right now it looks like the type of system I’d like to see is a single transferrable vote type arrangement.

The problem is that some ridings in Ontario (particularly those that are far north) are so big that to merge them or add multi-district “proportional” representatives would be slightly ridiculous. Only slightly, because even though it would make the ridings huge, they would still be somewhat homogeneous since many issues tend to fall along GTA-vs-country type axes. I’ve got a lot more reading to do, but I’ll post a draft of my letter here before I submit anything.

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