oh hell.

Dec. 4th, 2008 12:33 pm
electricland: (Canadian)
Parliament prorogued.

I hate suspense. Y'know, Stephen, you're going to have to face a confidence vote one of these days. Hell, you spent your entire last government making everything into a confidence vote!

If we do end up with Yet Another F***ing Election, I hope the Liberals and the NDP have the wit to run as a coalition, one candidate per riding (not that it would matter in my riding, but some of those swing ridings might have a shot).

hee.

Dec. 3rd, 2008 04:16 pm
electricland: (election Harper)
as [livejournal.com profile] gurudata observes, this is truly the ironic quote of the moment:

As leaders of the opposition parties, we are well aware that, given the Liberal minority government, you could be asked by the Prime Minister to dissolve the 38th Parliament at any time should the House of Commons fail to support some part of the government’s program. We respectfully point out that the opposition parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution arise this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your options before exercising your constitutional authority. Your attention to this matter is appreciated.

- Stephen Harper, in a letter to then-governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, 2004.

Nice!
electricland: (Canadian)
Scalzi:
They had an election, and the Prime Minister said “nyah,” and then the other political parties said, “Oh, no you DIN’T” and then exploding space monkeys swarmed Ottawa and the Queen had to fly over to beat people and monkeys with her scepter and at the end of it all Quebec was put on the block? And traded for a fish? Or something?

Alex, the Yorkshire Ranter, commenting on Making Light, provides a systems engineering perspective on proroguation:
If the prime minister wants to call an election, he or she has to ask their local distributed queenship node for prorogation and therefore dissolution. Once (year - year_lastelection)== 5, the prorogation subroutine executes automatically.

Things get interesting, though, in the case of event-driven prorogation. The PM, and the Government, serve at the pleasure of their local queenship node and during the confidence of a majority in the lower house of Parliament. In the event they lose one of certain types of parliamentary votes (either an explicit vote of confidence, or one on the budget or on the use of already-committed public funds), this condition is no longer satisfied and signal NOCONFIDENCE is raised.

At this point it gets complicated! Not much after that is set down in the documentation for the Westminster API, and it is left up to the implementation.
The whole conversation is a blast, though.

Finally, the Yarn Harlot Explains It All (via a commentor on Scalzi's post, and also via [livejournal.com profile] wiredferret):
Our current Prime Minister is Stephen Harper. He's a conservative, and he's been Prime Minister since his party won a minority government in February of 2006. The Honourable Prime Minister has taken an unusual approach to running said minority. Instead of operating in a co-operative spirit, the Prime Minister has been rather aggressive, and instead of moderating his motions to the point where the opposition might vote for them anyway, he has instead taken to attaching a confidence motion to just about everything. This means that every time the house votes, they can either vote with him, or force an election. All last year, this strategy worked beautifully. The opposing parties (particularly the Liberals, who were having leadership troubles) didn't want an election. Forcing the opposition to choose between forcing an election and agreeing with him rammed through a lot of legislation, but bred a lot of contempt. (Depending on whether you are a conservative or not, this strategy has alternately been called "being an aggressive parliamentarian who makes the most of the system" or "being a big fat bully".)
electricland: (election Harper)
Adversarial (adj): any behaviour or statement that suggests someone might have an opinion contrary to that of the Conservative party.

Antidemocratic (adj): anything that hinders the Conservative party from doing exactly as it wishes.

Elected government (n): the Conservative party.

Opposition (n): those sneaky underhanded bastards across the aisle. How did they get seats anyway? (See also: plotting, adversarial, antidemocratic.)

Plotting (n): an activity engaged in by any other party.

Prorogue (v): take our toys and go home.

Separatists (n): EEEEEVIL PEOPLE FROM QUEBEC WHO WANT TO DESTROY THE COUNTRY! OOGA BOOGA BOOGA! (var.: Bloq Quebecois)


Someone on the radio the other day -- possibly Scott Brison? -- made the important point that we the people elect MPs to Parliament. Parliament chooses the government. The Prime Minister is the guy at the head of the party that's currently the government. We are not in the US, and the only people who actually voted for Stephen Harper are 38,548 people in Calgary Southwest.

And no, Conservatives, we actually haven't forgotten that you called the last election on the flimsiest possible grounds and got in with a minority barely better than the last one. This does not make you the government by divine right, nor does it mean Stephen Harper gets to be PM by divine right forever and ever amen.

Actually, I'm finding this whole thing hilarious. On Metro Morning today the host practically had to turn off the mikes of her guests (particularly, it must be said, the Conservative) to get a word in edgewise.

Well...

Oct. 15th, 2008 10:21 am
electricland: (Rick Mercer)
...that was a total waste of time, money, and effort, redeemed for me chiefly by this 22 Minutes spoof ad.
electricland: (Canadian)
Fellow Canadians: go vote! (I did. Getting my annual post-Thanksgiving cold has proved useful in terms of getting things done around my neighbourhood.)

Back with me? Excellent. If you read a lot of blogs, as I do, and a number of them are American, you tend to come across the concept of "registered Republicans" and "registered Democrats" and "registered independents" a lot. It seems to be quite central to a lot of USians' political lives, to the extent that when the news on the vandalism in Parkdale-High Park and St. Paul's (which, in case you weren't sure, was TOTALLY UNCOOL in every way) hit south of the border, I saw at least one commenter from the US refer to the victims as "registered Liberals". (They may or may not have been, but they all had Liberal lawn signs.)

To me, this concept is a little bizarre. In my world, you show up at your polling place on voting day, you mark your ballot for your favourite candidate, and that's it. If you wish, you may choose to display a lawn sign for one or more candidates or volunteer for a candidate, but there's no insistence on you being officially a member of their party. Certainly there are registered party members in this country, and they play a huge role in choosing party leaders and so on, so more power to them. But I'm not a registered member of any party, and I'm not sure I actually know anyone who is (other than politicians). It just doesn't come up in discussion. On the other hand, maybe I'm just oblivious to the true state of affairs -- it's certainly happened before.

Clearly a highly scientific and not remotely self-selecting poll is called for!

[Poll #1278521]

In other news, Scalzi's post about the many ways USians can turn out unable to vote makes me so happy to be Canadian. *hugs Elections Canada*
electricland: (election Harper)
How nice -- it isn't often one can reuse an icon from a previous election with no changes whatever.

Tomorrow I am driving Jen and her family to the airport (they are going to Williamsburg for the long weekend) and then up to the cottage, where I will clear brush and eat turkey and (hopefully) pie and hope my dog gets on with the Rottweiler and the Golden Retriever/Poodle cross puppy who will also be there. It's gonna be a full house.

Tuesday is election day in this stupid unnecessary election which has become so unexpectedly full of excitement since the world economy started its tailspin. Fellow Canadians: don't forget to vote! It's easy, kind of fun, and you can bask in the glow of fulfilling one of your democratic obligations. As always, Elections Canada tells you everything you need to know: who your candidates are, how to contact them, where to vote, how long the polls are open, how to prove you are you. (Remember, you need to bring ID to the polls!)

If you aren't already on the list of electors, fear not: you can still register at the polls. Bring your two pieces of ID to prove you are who you say you are, you're a Canadian citizen, and you live in the riding, and you can vote. Just remember, don't commit electoral fraud, 'cause that's not cool.

Now then, who to vote for? Fortunately there is no way in hell the Conservatives can win in my riding, so I can basically vote for whoever I please. Others may wish to be cannier. That link leads to Vote for Environment, a nifty strategic-voting site to which [livejournal.com profile] life_on_queen pointed me last week; it's quite fascinating, and if you would also like to see the Conservatives brought low, do check it out. Their idea is to try and encourage people to avoid splitting the vote in ridings that went Conservative last election, and vote for the leading opposition candidate instead. Their Key Ridings make for some intriguing reading. See if you're in one!
Canadians care, Harper doesn't.

Another big issue for me in this campaign -- besides chucking out Stephen Harper and his control-freak ways -- is child poverty. As many of you know, I work for a major children's hospital, so child health is the focus of my professional life. The thing is, child health is about much more than just having medical care when you need it. To be healthy, and to grow up to be a healthy, happy, educated, productive citizen, a child needs a safe environment; enough nutritious food to eat; time to interact with its parents; a decent education starting at an early age; and the list goes on. If a child is growing up in poverty, that means living in crappy housing in unsafe neighbourhoods. Going hungry. Spending time alone because your parents -- assuming you are living with both parents -- are probably working multiple low-paid jobs to make ends meet. Higher odds of a dead-end future.

One in six Canadian children is poor. If you're a child with a disability, or a First Nations kid, make that one in four. If you're not white, one in three. And it's not because of unemployment: 41% of children in poverty live in a household where at least one parent works full-time all year. The good news is that children are better off than they were 10 years ago, but all that means is that child poverty levels are now exactly where they were almost 20 years ago. Get all the grim details in Campaign 2000's 2007 Report Card [PDF].

I am personally ashamed of those statistics. It doesn't have to be that way. We could end child poverty if we chose to, by raising the minimum wage, establishing a national housing strategy, making some changes to the tax code, and investing in early childhood education and care. Scandinavia, for instance, is doing way better than we are. And yet in Canada we have no national poverty reduction strategy. We desperately need one.

Our legislation and our spending reflect what we value as a society. Right now, it looks like we don't much value our kids. Or our future.

The good news is that every party except the Conservatives is pretty much on board with most or all of the changes that would help end child poverty in this country [PDF]. Of course, we've had the Liberals in power before and didn't get too far with these problems. Still. I say vote in politicians who say they value the issues that matter to you, then hold their feet to the fire. Canada deserves better than we have right now.

www.makepovertyhistory.ca


That got rantier than I planned. Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians, and remember to vote!
electricland: (books too many)
See icon.

I'm now 14 months behind on my library hold list. Granted, three of the things I have on hold are DVDs (The Prisoner, MI-5/Spooks, Foyle's War) and will take less time to get through. Also, May 2005 seems to have been a crazy month for putting books on hold, while June and July and most of August were almost holdless. I could still scramble free. What I mostly want to do at the moment is read happy, not-too-challenging books, though, so the recent crop of heavies will be hard going. (Not to mention that I'm supposed to be reading Ulysses.)

The Current did an interview with Helen Thomas this morning in reference to the Parliamentary Press Gallery spat. It's not up on their site yet, but it was great.

The Economist has an interesting review of a new book on How Market Forces Can Save American Health Care. I am skeptical, but it's an intriguing premise.

Happy June!
electricland: (election Harper)
Life:

Friday afternoon: Jen and I acted as runners and minions for [livejournal.com profile] crankygrrl and A in their quest for chocolate brown bridesmaids' outfits. Worked out pretty well. I had fun, although the people who were having to try on a lot of clothes, possibly not so much.

[And somehow I forgot all about Friday evening in there -- dinner with C and K and [livejournal.com profile] scapersuse and Cranky. I thought this update seemed short. Was great to see everyone.]

Saturday evening: met [livejournal.com profile] crankygrrl, [livejournal.com profile] pretentiousgit, and [livejournal.com profile] monkeycommando for drinks at Murphy's. Drank too much, owing to forgetting that water is better when you're thirsty. Much fun.

Yesterday: Got filling replaced. My dentist, who rocks, showed me pictures of before, during, and after. Also got the complimentary paraffin-wax hand treatment. Which has the disadvantage of leaving me basically without means of communication, although I suppose I could have screamed if I'd really needed to. (I didn't.) Left work at a decent hour! And went to a used bookstore over on McCaul that I've been meaning to check out. They keep the erotica and the children's books in the same room, which amused me. The plan from here on in is: leave at a decent hour, no matter how productive or otherwise I've been.

Politics:

Kung Fu Monkey and John Scalzi on Stephen Colbert.

[livejournal.com profile] misia and [livejournal.com profile] mrdankelly discuss "illegal" immigration here and here.

Lest we in Canada get smug: Canadian Border Services agents behaving badly. Not cool, people. I don't care what the parents have done, you do not go after the kids.

And finally: Stephen Harper Doesn't Eat Babies: GO Transit. (Of course, as my dad said this morning, this is still awaiting third-party confirmation.)
electricland: (Canadian)
These figures on election spending gave me pause.

For roughly the same amount of money, about $20 $40 million, you can finance two four Senate campaigns in the United States... or an entire party's campaign, 308 candidates in total, in Canada.

(First link via [livejournal.com profile] shetterly. Actually the information on campaign spending is kind of an aside, it's got lots of interesting information on inequality and how wealth buys political clout. But it startled me.)

(Edit. I hadn't taken into account limits on individual candidates' spending, which run roughly an additional $60,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of voters in their riding. So average that at $80,000 per riding, multiply by 308 ridings, call it another $24 million for a party running candidates in every riding. Add the $18 million in party spending, if I'm reading this correctly, and that comes out to $42 million Canadian. Still seems like a bargain.)
electricland: (Mononoke HA cleolinda)
So apparently David Emerson isn't so happy these days. Emerson, you may recall, is the former Liberal who crossed the floor for a cabinet post just two weeks after the election.

His main complaints are that the government is too partisan and too tightly controlled under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the ex-aide says.
All together now: Awww.

In other news, I bought pink nail polish yesterday in an effort to be springlike. I put it on my toes this morning and... yowza. It's pink. Fibreglass pink. Breast-cancer awareness pink. Possibly what Elsa Schiaparelli referred to as shocking pink, and if so I now understand why. I'm not sure I'm cut out for this pink. (It's OPI's Italian Love Affair, for those keeping score at home.)

[Poll #713627]

PSA

Apr. 7th, 2006 10:01 am
electricland: (Canadian)
Attention Canadians! The Ministry of Finance wants your input! This is a
limited-time offer that may never be repeated, so act now! (Via Cousin
Jen. Her new job involves... tax.)

I do have a few things I'd like to tell them.
electricland: (Kirsty)
the next time the CBC does a story about "fixing" the health care system, I would love it if, instead of the weak-ass questions they asked in today's segment, they would ask the following:

To proponents of more privatization:
  • What, in your opinion, is the best health-care system in the world?

  • How will private clinics increase access to care without sucking resources out of the public system?

  • Do you think it's possible, before resorting to private clinics, to improve access through administrative improvements such as the Alberta Hip and Knee Replacement Project?

To no-privatization-ever people:
  • Given that doctor's offices are already private enterprises, why do you object in principle to having other specialized private clinics?

Gotta run. Suggest your questions here!
electricland: (election Harper)
Spent the evening at home reading the papers with my dad. (He's much more of a newspaper junkie than me -- I can manage one a day, if there's no special occasion, but he reads the Globe, the Star and the Post as often as he can get hold of all three.) I often think I should make more of an effort to read the Post from time to time for the good of my soul, but I hadn't realized until this evening that it can also be a rich source of joy and entertainment. The high point was definitely the crackheadpot conspiracy theorist on the Letters page who had figured out, with illustrations (sadly not available online), that the CBC website's main graphic on election day was subliminal advertising for the Liberals, but there were wonderful touches all over. For instance:

Bill Graham won in Toronto Centre (my parents' riding), "a wealthy riding that includes the Tony enclave of Rosedale...." St. James Town? Regent Park? What are those? The Star does point out that it's among the wealthiest ridings in the country, but also notes that "At the same time, more than one third of residents live below the poverty line." (I also love the over-zealous Post copy editing that stuck that capital T in there.)

The race in my own riding was apparently "one of the fiercest for so-called progressive voters in the country" -- who knew? Indeed, who other than the Post was talking about progressive or regressive?

Andrew Coyne informs us that "As important is Ontario's turn -- again tentative, cautious, but further than in many years -- toward the Conservatives, and the West. Indeed, this election is further evidence of an important trend: Ontario, outside Toronto at any rate, is joining the West. The democratic values and hardy optimism that are traditional western values have worked their way into the Ontario psyche." Yeah, because until just recently, Ontario had no democratic values or hardy optimism. Thank you, Western Canada, for leading us to the light! (He says lots of other stuff too, but that was the part that caught my eye.)

Even the TV columnist has a little swipe: "On CBC, Liberals' Scott Brison says Tories do not represent Canadian values. So, ah, who are those Canadians voting for them? Schizophrenics?" (And may I just note in passing how much I always enjoy these casual swipes at the mentally ill. Unless he meant that voices are telling Tory supporters how to vote, but... nah.)

Warren Kinsella, on the other hand, is just bleeding his guts out all over the editorial page -- it's a little sickening. And sadly, David Frum is not really mockworthy, more enraging, so I will not quote him here. (Although I see Antonia went for it.)

Subtly divisive little rag, isn't it?

troubling

Jan. 24th, 2006 01:04 pm
electricland: (Canadian)
Didn't see this until now: Antonia Zerbisias takes on Norman Spector bashing the CBC

That's something I worry about a lot. The CBC, health care, home care, child care, the environment, public transit, a fair shake for cities and regions and aboriginal people and immigrants and gays -- those, I think, not necessarily in that order, were my big issues in this election. With maybe a side order of those-Liberals-are-way-too-complacent. In my case, anyway, these commentators who see the big issues as "gun violence" and "our relationship with the U.S." are mostly kidding themselves.

This makes me a squishy bleeding-heart liberal, doesn't it? Works for me.
electricland: (election Harper)
Good article: Ignore the cities at your peril. Calgary and Edmonton may like you, but Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver aren't so sure.
electricland: (election Harper)
That went a lot better than I thought it would, all things considered. The evening even had its share of amusement.

Interesting to note that both the Calgary Sun and the National Post (I know, what did I expect) are quite sniffy about Toronto's failure to pay attention to Harper's supposed tough-on-crime stance. I dunno about you, but of all the issues out there that was pretty low on my list. If anything I was thinking "Butt out, national parties, we'll handle it ourselves."

Very pleased that Peter Kent got squished like a bug.
electricland: (me by ohi)
Side benefit of a late night and bed gravity keeping me out of the shower this morning: my hair was so filthy I decided to go get it cut at lunch just so I could have it washed. (Sorry, that's probably more than you wanted to know about my personal hygiene.) It looks great and I've had many compliments, except from my parents, who haven't noticed. So here's hoping it still looks great tomorrow.

Gave my dad an emergency Outlook tutorial last night. When I entered the room he had 3 instances of Outlook and about 20 message windows open and was complaining that things kept disappearing. Turned out he was minimizing the Outlook every time he wanted to close a message in the preview pane, and then wondering where it had gone. Suddenly these complaints make a lot more sense. I explained about the bold-with-blue-numbers indicating unread messages and he was indignant. Still, I feel we've made some progress with the parental Luddism.*

Choir good. New Mozart, not filthy this time. I have Thoughts on choir which I may share at a later date. It'll probably involve pontification, so don't look forward to it too much.

Last night's candidates meeting made the paper. There was a photo in the print edition. I don't think I was visible, but I'd only have been about 2 pixels high in any case.

*He claims it's not being a Luddite, as the Luddites smashed things because they worked. I say, if you can't bother to figure out how they work and then complain about it, isn't that just as bad? Although not, of course, to his face. Ah, parents.
electricland: (me by ohi)
I got my feature written yesterday and polished it today. Now I'm stressing out about it, of course. Boss liked it -- I just need to chill out.

I need to get back in the habit of evenings. I'm not used to having a long evening at home with nothing scheduled. How sad is that? (For starters, I could have either (a) continued the Great Throwing-Out or (b) written stuff. But noo, I read the paper and did some Sudoku and some dishes. Which, OK, not a terrible way to spend an evening.)

My parents are out at an all-candidates meeting. I gave myself a pass on the grounds that this isn't my riding (although I really do have to phone and make sure I'm registered in my riding). I do need to figure out who to vote for. I'm wavering between:

Marilyn Churley (NDP) - friend of Sarah Harmer
Jim Harris (Green) - fan of Diana Krall (according to the Green Party site, which has some odd factoids in there -- I mean, rollerblading? Lakefield?)

I am really undecided. Voting Green would be more of a gesture. It would be a good gesture -- I like a lot of things about their platform, I would really like environmental issues to have more of a place than they do, I think it would be cool to get a new(ish) party elected. Realistically, though, I don't know how much of a shot Harris has (he was interviewed on CBC last week and sounded confident that the riding was pretty evenly split, but I'm not sure). Churley's generally well liked and has a sound record. Hm.

I have nothing against the incumbent. I have nothing against the Conservative either, I'm sure he's very nice, but the party... no.

Rounding out the slate we have a Marxist-Leninist (no website of his own, clearly not a contender) and a Progressive Canadian, aka The Tories That Wouldn't Play Ball (good luck to him, but... no).

Hm, again. Apparently there's an all-candidates meeting for my riding tomorrow night, 7-9 p.m. at Kimberly Public School. [livejournal.com profile] crankygrrl? [livejournal.com profile] pariah_ink? Feeling energetic?

(My parents have THREE flavours of Communist, plus the sole candidate from the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada. Their riding is clearly more interesting than mine.)

Unrelated links:

Gardeners: Man the green barricades in LA (no, do read it)

This quiz really is fiendish. Clearly they don't believe in any of that namby-pamby self-esteem business on the Isle of Man. (The answers are up now, but I think I'll take a couple days longer to stare at it.)

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