Sunday, November 27, 2016

PM Trudeau should immediately replace Minister Monsef to ensure reform

Or was it bait and switch?

PM Trudeau solemnly assured voters during the election campaign that the last election as the last one under the archaic first past the post system of choosing MPs.

And now the junior minister tasked with carrying out this solemn promise is showing signs of a lack of drive in the process:

Canada may not have a new system for electing governments by 2019, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise voters would never again use the current system.

Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef on Sunday refused to guarantee her work so far on the file is leading to reform that will be in place by the next general election.

That work has included striking a committee to study potential alternatives to the current first-past-the-post system that the Liberals promised to replace before the next election. The committee’s report is due this week.

Trudeau should immediately take minister Monseff off this file and parachute in some heavyweight minister to inject the necessary urgency into this process, so as to ensure that within months our system is changed to a system where every vote is counted, and every vote counts, and the old FPTP system is scrapped.

Electoral reform to remedy our democratic deficits is far too important to Canada than many other government initiatives.  Trudeau’s reputation rests on delivering on his solemn promise to Canadians.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Are the Liberals being honest with Canadians over electoral reform?

It seems that Andrew Coyne doubts this (my bolding and underlining):

A third point where the government’s devious slip is showing: electoral reform, and the public consultations in which a special parliamentary committee has been engaged these past several months. There is no debating this: as a matter of public record, the overwhelming majority of the representations made to the committee, whether from experts or members of the public, favoured some form of proportional representation. Yet the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Maryam Monsef, in what can only be described as an attempt to gaslight the committee, maintains that the consultations revealed “no consensus” on the way forward, while the government readies a separate consultation process, developed in secret, with which to cast doubt on the committee’s findings.

If Coyne is correct, then there is a separate process being held by the Liberal government, apart from the publicly launched, publicly supported, and “official” process now taking place.

I hope that PM Trudeau is paying close attention to the electoral reform process. His future as a one-term versus several-terms prime minister depends on his government being  honest, and delivering meaning electoral reform, with no more elections being held under the archaic first past the post system.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Just How did Trump whip Clinton? Here's a big part of the answer

Here's the teaser:

For those who can’t understand how Hillary Clinton could win the popular vote by at least 2 million yet lose handily in the electoral college, perhaps this provides some clarity. If the campaign’s overarching sentiment was fear and anger, the deciding factor at the end was data and entrepreneurship.

And here is the link to the fascinating Forbes article.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why did Trump win? Ask the Cheese Doctor!

The Cheese Doctor: Rapaille
One of my favourite marketing gurus has some views on what lies beneath the appeal that Trump has for so many Americans, as this journalist wrote some time ago:

Don't ask me. I have no idea how an average, everyday politician could steal Trump's thunder. So I called a guy I like to talk to now and then about American culture.

That's G. Clotaire Rapaille. The French-born Rapaille moved to the U.S. and became a student of our culture in the Tocquevillean tradition. His specialty is "archetype discovery," a process of determining people's most primitive drives. He markets his research and services to the auto industry, among others, and I've always found his insights into the American mind to be quite compelling.

I called him because I figured he might have an angle on how Trump is defying all the experts who predicted his many outrageous statements would doom his candidacy.

It's not hard to figure out why Americans are enthralled with Trump, Rapaille told me.

"A lot of Americans are fed up with political correctness, the idea that you're not supposed to do that and not supposed to say that," he said. "This is the attraction Trump has. He goes by his own rules. This is what is so appealing to Americans."

The typical politician believes that if he takes the right stand on the issues then the voters will reward him with victory. But Americans are so fed up with politicians that

"There is no way any politician can convince the American public he is going to do what he says," said Rapaille.

So when a politician like New Jersey's own Chris Christie promises to "tell it like it is," voters know they're being bamboozled. It doesn't matter what a politician says.

"What is key in American politics today is not content. It's not program. It's attitude," he said. "Trump has an attitude that resonates with the need for freedom, for free thinking. The others follow the road. He says, 'I make my own road.'"
 Check my earlier posts for more on The Cheese Doctor ...

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

PEI leads the way in remedying our democratic deficit!

Way to go PEI!

Voters strike a blow for a better democracy; our federal government and other provinces should pay heed:

A non-binding plebiscite on electoral reform in Prince Edward Island has shown voters support a switch to a form of proportional representation.

Mixed member proportional representation was the most popular option, drawing more than half of the votes after ballots were counted and redistributed five times according to the rules of preferential voting.

Islanders were given five options to chose from, including an option to keep the current first-past-the-post system. Voters were asked to rank some or all of the options on a one-to-five scale.

If no electoral system received more than half the votes, the option with the fewest votes was eliminated and those ballots redistributed to their second-choice option.

That process was repeated until one option passed the 50 per cent threshold to achieve majority support.

On the fifth round of counting, mixed member proportional representation obtained 19,418 votes, or more than 52 per cent of the 37,040 valid votes. The existing system received close to 43 per cent of votes in the final round.

Electronic voting began on Oct. 29 at noon and continued until Monday at 7 p.m. local time. Elections P.E.I. says more than 36 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

Who's next?


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Wallonia’s handling of CETA was more democratic than Canada’s

Here’s a good article explaining who is opposed to the dispute settlement mechanism in the EU-Canada free trade treaty, and why:

If the answer to an expression of democratic will is to seek to subvert it, European leaders clearly are yet to learn the lessons of Brexit and the Greek financial crisis.

Wallonia was far from alone in its opposition to Ceta; 2095 municipalities and local authorities (including Amsterdam, Cologne, Edinburgh, Grenoble, Barcelona, Milan and Vienna) declared their cities and counties Ceta - and TTIP-free zones.

More than 3.4 million European citizens signed petitions. National governments too, such as Germany, Austria, Poland and the Netherlands, shared many of Walloon's concerns about investor rights; but had not shared the same courage to block the deal.

Unlike many European parliaments, the Walloon parliament was also one of the few that took time to study the 1600 pages long treaty and analyse its possible impacts.
The parliament held extensive debates and expert hearings over 18 months, raising concerns over negative impacts on public services, agriculture, food standards, and the EU's precautionary principle.

Their biggest concern was that the treaty would grant foreign companies the right to sue governments at international arbitration tribunals for legislating in the public interest. As early as 2014, the Walloon parliament stated that "arbitration has to be taken out of Ceta, it cannot be reformed, it's a matter of principle, it has to be taken out".

Rather than listen to the Walloon parliament, and the millions expressing similar concerns across Europe, the European Commission responded by introducing minor procedural reforms to the 'investor-state dispute settlement mechanism' and rebranding it as the 'investment court system'.

Now think about the virtual lack of public discussion in Canada on this matter.

Which side is more in tune with modern democratic notions?

It’s time for Canada to become more progressive, and to handle trade treaties in an open, transparent and democratic way. Backroom deals with international companies and their lobbyists having access, while ordinary citizens are presented with settled deals, is contrary to our democratic rights, and should be stopped.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Keys that forecast a Trump Win

Here is the professor’s explanation:

THE FIX: Readers can learn a lot about the keys from the previous interviews we’ve done, but let’s remind people of the quick version: Your system for predicting the outcome of the election stays away from polls, electoral college maps and candidates’ histories in favor of a more broad historical evaluation.

LICHTMAN: The 13 keys are a historically based prediction system that were founded on the study of every presidential election from 1860 to 1980, and I’ve since used them prospectively to predict, often well ahead of time, the results of all eight elections from 1984 to 2012. The keys basically assess the strength and performance of the party holding the White House. There are 13 keys. An answer of true on these true/false questions always favors the reelection of the party in power. And if six or more of the 13 keys are false, the party in power, the party holding the White House, is the predicted loser — any six or more.

The first time we talked, you weren’t willing to predict a winner. Take me through that process and how you came to predict a Trump win.

Early on, the keys were inconclusive. That is, remember, six or more and the party in power is the predicted loser. And for some time, there were five keys out against the incumbent Democrats.

And since that time, as we discussed last time, that sixth key has turned against the Democrats, and that is the third party key, and that is based on an assessment that you would expect the third party candidate, in this case the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, to get five percent or more of the vote. That’s a big sign of discontent with the party holding the White House. And so, again on the knife edge, you had exactly six fatal keys against the incumbent Democrats.

And remember — this was before the sex tape — this was before any of those allegations or other things emerged.

A lot of people would look at the events of the last month — the Access Hollywood tape obtained by The Washington Post, the presidential debates and the shifts in polling — and say, this has got to effect the keys somehow.

Donald Trump’s severe and unprecedented problems bragging about sexual assault and then having ten or more women coming out and saying, “Yes, that’s exactly what you did” — this is without precedent. But it didn’t change a key.

We will know in 11 days’ time!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Michael Moore gets Trump supporters

This is the canny Moore’s assessment of The Donald’s appeal to so many millions of American voters:

MICHAEL MOORE: I know a lot of people in Michigan that are planning to vote for Trump and they don't necessarily like him that much, and they don't necessarily agree with him. They're not racist or rednecks, they're actually pretty decent people, and so after talking to a number of them I wanted to write this:

'Donald Trump came to the Detroit Economic Club and stood there in front of Ford Motor executives and said, "if you close these factories as you're planning to do in Detroit and build them in Mexico, I'm going to put a 35% tariff on those cars when you send them back and nobody's going to buy them."

It was an amazing thing to see. No politician, Republican or Democrat, had ever said anything like that to these executives, and it was music to the ears of people in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- the "Brexit" states.

You live here in Ohio, you know what I'm talking about. Whether Trump means it or not, is kind of irrelevant because he's saying the things to people who are hurting, and that's why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump. He is the human molotov cocktail that they've been waiting for. The human hand grande that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.

And on November 8, Election Day, although they lost their jobs, although they've been foreclose on by the bank, and next came the divorce and now the wife and kids are gone, the car's been repoed, they haven't had a real vacation in years, they're stuck with the shitty Obamacare Bronze Plan where you can't even get a fucking percocet. They've essentially lost everything they had, except one thing -- the one thing that doesn't cost them a cent, and is guaranteed to them by the American constitution: the right to vote.

They might be penniless, they might be homeless, they might be fucked over and fucked up it doesn't matter, because it's equalized on that day - a millionaire has the same number of votes as the person without a job: one.

And there's more of the former middle class than there are in the millionaire class.

So on November 8, the dispossessed will walk into the voting booth, be handed a ballot, close the curtain, and take that lever or felt pen or touchscreen and put a big fucking X in the box by the name of the man who has threatened to upend and overturn the very system that has ruined their lives: Donald J. Trump.

They see that the elite who ruined their lives hate Trump. Corporate America hates Trump. Wall Street hates Trump. The career politicians hate Trump. The media hates Trump, after they loved him and created him, and now hate.

Thank you media: the enemy of my enemy is who I'm voting for on November 8.

Yes, on November 8, you Joe Blow, Steve Blow, Bob Blow, Billy Blow, all the Blows get to go and blow up the whole goddamn system because it's your right. Trump's election is going to be the biggest fuck ever recorded in human history and it will feel good.

I think Moore’s analysis is spot on.

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