12.07.2010 03:57 AM

In today’s Sun: move East, young voter

“Thinkers at the University of Toronto’s Mowatt Centre think-tank have determined Canada has the greatest amount of electoral inequality of pretty much any federation on the planet. That’s right: In the whole world, we’re the absolute worst at ensuring that every vote is equal. America does best; we’re at the bottom.

Says Matthew Mendelsohn, director of the Mowat Centre: “Our research finds that compared to similar federations, Canada is now way (out) of step internationally in violating the principle of voter equality.”

The three guys who had or have seats in the three fastest-growing provinces are Messrs. Harper, Ignatieff and Layton. You’d think they’d be working overtime to fix this problem, because they potentially have the most to gain. Most of those new seats would go to them.

But, um, no.”


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    Steve T says:

    Because all three know the other provinces (those that don’t gain seats, and thereby “lose” representation) will whine and complain in true Canadian fashion until – in true Canadian fashion – the government panders to them and gives up the fight.

    This same argument can be made for why there is not yet a national securities regulator; why there are still “equalization payments” to certain provinces; why there is not meaningful Senate reform; and a host of other issues that everyone knows ought to be fixed – but the provinces are all too myopic and selfish to do what is best for the country.

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    Dave H says:

    Well sometimes academics studies are out to lunch. The power held by the US Senators of the 10 lowest population States equates to 1/2 the value needed to Stop anything the US government does, and represents only about 12 million people.

    That’s not even remotely close to the influence of the 11 seats held by PEI and NL our two lowest pop provinces. Seems like narrowly defined reference terms to me.
    But hey I could just be stupid.

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    Pedro says:

    Like, uhh, pick a better place to live on Gaia’s great earth.
    Angels on pinheads anyone?
    We’ve got better bacon to fry.
    Same Liberal, progressive claptrap. Let’s make an issue of something that really doesn’t butter anyone’s bread but more politicians’.

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      Namesake says:

      uh…. fair democratic representation isn’t a partisan issue: it cuts across Party lines, but it _was_ esp. near & dear to the (non-Prog.) Reform Party, which is why the CPC were promising it.

      And, not surprisingly, you’re overlooking the other, larger part of what MPs & their offices do: constituency work (helping people stickhandle their way through the federal bureaucracy in things like getting visas or immigration status or sponsor relatives or get their pensions or disability or EI or veterans benefits they might’ve got screwed out of, etc.). The constituents in the over-populated/under-represented ridings — who are WAY more likely to be immigrants who NEED such services than in the rural ridings — are getting cheated in terms of the length of time they have to wait & quality of service they receive from the hopelessly harried consituency offices in those fast-growing ridings.

      As for your “You’ve got it good, here – STFU” way of silencing complaints or debate….. ugh. That’s what keeps psychologists, social workers, and divorce attorneys (among others) in business, at the domestic level.

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        Pedro says:

        OWW! You left a mark!
        FPTP again!
        Cream rises to the top. Is a beacon for others to follow.
        Make an all encompassing convincing argument and carry more than 30% of the voters! I can only hope.
        Just because you can gather up 2-3% of the vote doesn’t convince me you should have any tugs on the purse strings.
        Not trying to silence complainers…just trying to tell them they gotta get into the game – and the progs know what a game it is.
        Listen – I’ve got a third of a dozen acquaintances that I’m trying to help navigate the social sevices network and my partner says I’m crazy for butting my head against the wall ‘cuz I have to make 4 calls every morning to get them out of bed.
        I struggle not to be an enabler. If you know someone like this you know what I mean. I never said STFU. Sorry you took it that way.
        Tell someone who doesn’t have a clue. Constituency work – phhht.

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          Namesake says:

          I can’t make head nor tail of most of this reply.

          The topic of Bill C-12, WK’s article, & the Mowat report has nothing to do with changing the First Past the Post model: it’s about changing the wide discrepancies in the no. of constituents in each federal riding. http://www.mowatcentre.ca/pdfs/mowatResearch/10.pdf

          And, what, you’re just dismissing the importance of constituency work (which is actually pretty non-partisan in terms of what it does day in & out, as well), and saying you don’t give a damn if the fast-growing ridings are completely overwhelmed by it, or if the old, more stable & rural ridings have relatively little of it & are sitting pretty, in comparison? Yucch; I guess you really are a New Government of Canada Conservative.

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    Be_rad says:

    Our constitution, as it is currently written, makes rep by pop a pipe dream.

    Our geography complicates matters, as rural ridings can often cover the size of three european countires and still only contain half of the population necessary for a “full” riding.

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    H Holmes says:

    I agree with you and have written my MP and Ignatieff about this issue on multiple occasions.

    Having more urban Canadian ridings would help the liberals.
    Giving less control of the house to the bloc is good too.

    Not sure why they would think it is a bad idea.

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    Dave Roberts says:

    It’s also worth noting that Ontario, BC and Alberta are short changed in the Senate as well on a population per senator basis. New Brunswick for example has 10 senators, while BC only has 6.

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      Iris Mclean says:

      That’s true, but at this point, senators represent the prime minister who appoints them, not the citizens.

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    VH says:

    The underlying Mowat Center report is suspect. It doesn’t include the US Senate in its US numbers.

    Any report on voting representation which says the US only has 435 elected representatives should be viewed with alarm and suspicion. In this specific instance, the report leaves out the US Senate which has most or all of the disparities in the voting system: Wyoming with about half a million people has the same number of Senators as does California with 55M.

    Yes we definitely have a problem here Warren but it would be better if you could hang your hat on a report which actually made sense and knows how many elected representatives the Americans have.

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      Warren says:

      It’s a report that many others reported on. If you have specific criticisms you can back up, fire away, and I will pas them along.

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        VH says:

        I took the time to read the report. Here’s a link (Note: PDF)

        There are errors of omission in the report.

        here are two:

        1) For example Table 2 (page 3) lists “Standard Deviation In Weighted Vote by Jurisdiction”. It lists the US as 435 seats. this applies only to the House. It does not list the Senate which has 100 members, all of whom are elected.

        By way of contrast, the table has an asterisk for Germany as follows “The German Bundestag is comprised of 622 members; 323 are elected directly through geographical constituencies, the other 299 via party list. This analysis is concerned with the former”. So we know Mr Mendelsohn knows about countries having mixed representation. (Also, given note, one would think the German reported number should be halved.)

        2) The reported deviation for the USA does not indicate that it takes into account the approximate 500,000 people in Washington that do not get a vote at all. This would make the US numbers worse.

        There are others; these are the two most glaring ones. Obviously, the non-counting of 100 US Senators (1/5 the total of elected representatives) combined with the cherry picking of the German numbers calls into question a lot of things.

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          Warren says:

          Thanks for that. I will ask Prof. Mendelson for his response!

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    Riley says:

    A proportional voting system — even a preferential voting system — would do more good than rep by pop. I wonder what percentage of the population could even name their MP let alone ever bothers to contact them. Right now 2/3 of votes are wasted thanks to our steam age electoral system. It produces phony results and therefore phony governments.

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      Pedro says:

      jus’ cuz it’s old it’s steam age?
      “Would do more good.” Say it over and over.
      That’s why it is better?
      The reason 2/3’s of the votes is wasted is not ‘cuz of the steam age.
      It’s ‘cuz yer pre-occupied voters can’t give a bleedin’ blank.
      Just so a fart-smeller has a vote?

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    Elisabeth Lindsay says:

    Has anyone ever given a thought to evening DOWN the number of seats?

    If we just keep on adding seats and not taking any away it will become even more unaffordable and unmanagable. No????

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