Wednesday, October 10, 2018

FPTP makes Canadians second class citizens

Voters in the province of British Columbia are faced with a dilemma: 

Does morality require them to vote for political reform because they owe their family, friends and neighbours a duty to take care of them?

This dilemma arises because each voter in BC will within days receive a postal vote, which they can complete and return between October 22 and November 30. 

If more than 50% of those filling in the ballot vote against the system now used to elect Members of the Legislative Assemby (MLAs) then a new system of choosing MLAs, based on proportional representation (PR), will be passed into law.

Supporters of the system now used (the first past the post or FPTP) argue that this system is fairer than any PR system would be.

Fairer is a value judgment: it means that FPTP is morally  better than any PR system would be.

Is this true?

The answer is a resounding NO!

And therein lies the dilemma for each voter.

The referendum imposes an obligation on each one of us as voters to consider the moral implications of our vote.

And the FPTP system is in reality legal theft of the value of each vote cast for a candidate who does not win under the FPTP system. That value is stripped from all those votes (and often the total of such votes can exceed 60% of all the votes cast).

It is as if every voter – including your family, your friends, your neighbours, your workmates, and total strangers – goes into the ballot booth with an item of very significant value (the right to cast a vote, as our Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants us).

But then all that value is stripped out the moment those voters leave the booth, if they voted for candidates other than the winning one.

So, in the example above, where 40% of votes cast elect the winning MLA under the FPTP system, the moment the ballot booth closes, the vote of the other 60% simply becomes valueless.

A big fat zero.

And this despite the fact that the Charter (Section 3) states that “Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members” of the House of Commons and of provincial legislatures.

And that Section 15, which deals with equality rights, states that “every individual ... has the right to the ... equal benefit of the law without discrimination ...”

This brings us back to the moral duty of each voter in this referendum.

Because the FPTP system is the legalized theft of the value of those 60% of total votes, and because such theft of value in effect creates two classes of Canadians, I believe we each as voters have a moral duty to vote in the referendum, and to scrap the FPTP.

If you do not vote to scrap the FPTP method we now use, you will be agreeing with those who want to retain that method, and so to create a first class of Canadians (being those who vote for the winning candidate), and an inferior, second class of citizens (being those casting the 60% of total votes in my example.

This relegation of most Canadians to second class citizenship is decidely not providing all Canadians with the “equal benefit of the law” (see here for more on this.)

Will you really be able to hold your head up when you relegate your family, friends, neighbours and other Canadians in BC to such a second class of Canadianship?

Don’t be an accessory to legalized theft of the value of votes that is an intrinsic part of the FPTP system.

Choose the high road, and vote for reform in this referendum.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A vote for FPTP is a vote for legalized theft

Voters in BC are being given the chance to vote for a dramatic change in the way in which their representatives in the provincial government are chosen, as this article shows:

David Eby said the referendum would be conducted by mail-in ballot, with the campaign to begin July 1 and a voting period to run from Oct. 22 to Nov. 30.

Mr. Eby told reporters if a majority voted to switch to PR on the first question, the second question would determine which system is used....

The three types of proportional representation that would be on the ballot include mixed-member proportional, which is used in a handful of countries, mostly in Europe, and two Canadian-designed systems that are not in use anywhere, known as dual-member proportional and rural-urban PR.

If voters decided to adopt a proportional representation system, a second referendum would be held after two general elections, so voters would have the opportunity to return to first-past-the-post, Mr. Eby said.

What many voters do not fully understand is that the current system of first past the post voting (FPTP) is really a legalized form of theft.

FPTP is a legalized form of theft of the value of all votes cast for candidates other than the winning one.

Monday, October 08, 2018

How to Frame the electoral reform referendum in BC, Canada

Mark Mitchell has a post in Facebook in which he writes:

Apparently, those of us who support ProRep are wrong to use facts and logic in our argument, when the opposition is using emotion and lies. Any suggestions as to how to change this?

Good question, and a valid one. 

The referendum on changing the electoral system in the province of B.C, Canada is being held on October 20 (less than two weeks to go), and the anti-reform side have been fairly effective in their arguments.

If the referendum rejects the proposed change, BC will retain its anti-democratic first past the post system of voting.


Mark’s question goes to the heart of political discussion: it fits squarely into the concept of “framing”.

Two articles illustrate the concept, one in the New York Times and another in Business Insider.


The two protagonists in the art of framing in political discourse are Lakoff on the left, and Luntz on the right.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Is the Trudeau government unconstitutional?

Canada demanded that Saudi Arabia release persons jailed there and a storm erupted, with Saudia Arabia cutting off most interactions with Canada.

It would be very ironic if the current Trudeau government was determined by our Supreme Court to be unconstitutional, as I believe it is, would it not?

Justin Trudeau won a majority government with less than 50% of the vote, and  then promptly walked away from his solemn promise to make Canada’s elections democratic by ending the first past the post (FPTP) system of electing our MPs.

I believe that the FPTP system is contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that it violates the rights of each Canadian to vote in elections, and to equal benefit of the law without discrimination, and that an appeal to the Supreme Court to set aside the FPTP method of electing our MPs would be successful.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

How to nail the NAFTA sunset clause sticking point

Mexico is showing realism with its latest move towards recognizing that the American administration wanted a different trade agreement, based on fair trade (and not just free trade), and that puts an end to the flight to the bottom of the wage scale.

Mexico is prepared to commit to conditions that will force an agreed percentage of auto content to be made by workers earning higher wages than the pittances the big auto companies are paying Mexican auto workers, as this Reuters article spells out:

Speaking to local media on Tuesday, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo also suggested that negotiators have made progress on auto salaries. U.S. and Canadian trade unions have complained that more manufacturing has gravitated to Mexico due to the country’s low wages.

Mexico balked at the prospect of foreign intervention in salaries, but the debate has shifted, Guajardo said.

“Now what we are talking about is that a percentage of what is made in North America would be made in a high-salary zone,” he said. “What does this mean? That clearly, within the component of 100 percent of an automobile made in (the NAFTA zone), a percentage, it could be about 35 to 40 percent, is made in a high-salary zone.” 

This move by Mexico was inevitable, as Trump holds all the cards in the NAFTA renegotiation.

How to solve the Sunset Clause difference:

The major sticking point now is the 5-year sunset clause that Trump wants. Canada and Mexico are resisting this.

Trump will win on this point as well.

However, there is a way for Canada to permit a 5-year sunset clause to be agreed to, provided that certain conditions are met. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Best Analysis yet of Trump’s America

The article by Frank Buckley, Brian Lee Crowley and Sean Speer in today’s Globe & Mail is by far the best analysis of the driving forces behind the new American  government that I have read.

The article (headed Canada must recognize that the game is changing) is a clear, insightful, penetrating and very accurate assessment of the changed world view all the countries now face in the Trump administration.

If you want to influence Canada’s reaction to Trump, cut out the article and send it (or a hyperlink to it), to your own MP and local journalists. The more people who read it the better for all of us. You can find the article here.  

Why is this analysis so remarkable?

Because most commentators and politicians (including the Trudeau Liberal government) are missing the boat.

Tectonic shift represented by Trump:

The essence is that there is a massive shift taking place in the view of Americans of the place that America occupies in the world, with some of that shift taking the form of the election of Trump.

The authors:
  • dissect Trump’s views in the context of this tectonic shift, 
  • agree that many of his positions reflect that shift, 
  • point out that Trump has been very consistent in his own views, 
  • highlight the nature of the change (from a more subdued nanny state posture to a more transactional one), 
  • and recommend a fresh approach in dealings by other states with the new America.

Major facts of the new American approach:

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Trudeau’s Government is screwing up the Trump Steel Tariff issue

And why is this happening? 

Because the Canadian government has not done its homework. 

It has been obvious for more than 18 months that a Trump presidency would pose special problems for the small Canadian economy, but you would never have guessed this from the activities and statements of the Trudeau government.

Trump won because he had views on the direction of the USA that millions of Americans agreed with, and voted for. 

A major view that Trump and his supporters hold is that the American worker has been sold out by the political and economic elites over a period of several decades, and one means this was done was through the free trade agreements, and globalization efforts.

Trump’s policy of reversing the deindustrialization of the US is going to be implemented by his tariff policies, amongst others.

This has been obvious from early on.

Now Trump has announced tariffs on steel and aluminium, aimed at increasing the production of those products in the USA, and using the massive excess capacity in steel and aluminium plants in the USA to produce more.

The Canadian government has failed to seriously analyze the Trump policies, as announced time and again during his campaign, and in the year he has been in office.

And this shows in their response to the tariffs, which might include Canadian exports to the USA (we are a major exporter of steel to the USA).

If our government had done its work properly, it would have analyzed the needs that Trump’s policies were trying to meet, and tried to revise Canadian policies to achieve a win-win solution that meets those needs and our needs.

For example: trying to change the Trump policy of America First and American production increases in its homeland, is a good attempt, but unlikely to change Trump or his millions of supporters.

But trying to meet his concerns that a powerful American needs a thriving steel industry, is a different approach. 

Trump’s spokespersons have clearly spelled out their concerns over the past year, and a major one is the security issue.

Just what has Canada offered the USA to resolve its concern about America being able to produce enough steel to meet its defence needs should the USA find itself in a protracted war?

So far I have heard no intelligent Canadian response to this.

Time to do some hard work in Ottawa. 

Start with a detailed, in-depth analysis of the expressed concerns of the Trump administration over the past year or so, and  then seek solutions that meet those needs, as well as our needs to export steel and aluminium.

Trudeau’s government might be surprised by how many win-win solutions they can come up with if they brainstorm the issues (not the perceptions, or the kneejerk free-trade-driven ideological reactions we have seen to date).

Canada needs a government that does the heavy lifting required to protect and expand our economic growth.

So start with this tariff problem, and solve it in a more meaningful way than the government has announced so far.

And then move on to breaking down trade barriers within Canada.

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