11.16.2011 10:22 AM

New federal Liberal strategy


Let’s see if I get this right.  Their super-duper brilliant strategy is to now:

1. Scoff at the Constitution;

2. Dismiss Liberal Premiers who want this;

3. Piss off multiple regions who want democratic fairness; and

4. Echo what right-winger losers like Tim Hudak have said about “too many politicians.”

And people wonder why guys like me don’t have anything to do with the federal party anymore.

Wonder no more, etc.



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    Ted H says:

    Doesn’t this seat expansion equate to Conservative gerrymandering?

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      Ken says:

      Malapportionment, maybe. But not gerrymandering.

      And no, Elections Canada is NOT responsible for drawing riding boundaries.

      And yes, the US system is abominable, and not worthy of being called democratic.

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      The Realist says:

      The United States has the “Voting Rights Act” which means that where it is possible, districts must have large Black majorities in order to ensure elected Black representatives. Republican legislatures like to gerrymander districts to make them as close to 100% Black as possible so they can win white majority districts. So in a normal election cycle where Republicans win 55% of the white vote, they easily carry those districts with a large white population.

      If that section of the Voting Rights act were abolished, you’d probably see less Black elected members to the House but in a district that is say 30% black, then the white representative who is elected would have to try to appeal to those Black voters.

      And Black house candidates wouldn’t have to try to sound like Stokely Carmichael in Democratic House primaries in order to win in 100% Black districts, they could appeal to a broader constituency in House races and then wouldn’t have to retract their previous far-left positions when they try to get elected to higher positions like Senator or Governor.

      Barack Obama avoided this trap by not running for the House and went straight to the Senate. There were a few rumblings about some of his votes on abortion, but when he ran for the state house in Illinois, he tried to appeal to white voters and the black vote was split amongst the other black candidates.

      Just because an elected official is a minority or a woman doesn’t necessarily mean that they represent only their sex or gender. Imagine a bizarro world where women aren’t allowed to vote, but men aren’t allowed to run for public office. I doubt that men-bashing feminists would get elected at all. I imagine that hot bikini babes brandishing AK-47s would be very popular candidates.

      I might come off as sexist/racist with the above, but I tried to explain the best I could as to how gerrymandering works in the US. The Republicans like it because it ensures districts with few blacks, and the Congressional Black Caucus likes it because it ensures greater number of elected representatives for them. White liberals would prefer that the Voting Rights Act go away, but it is pretty complicated to explain why it should be abolished.

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    Finn says:

    I think it’s time to cap the size of government.

    Long after we’re gone, how big will the HoC get before the cost of government is prohibitive?

    Open the constitution and cap this beast while we can.

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      Ken says:

      House of Commons < government.

      Do you have any idea how LITTLE of the size of government Parliament represents?

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    MoeL says:

    “the question has be asked” as to whether the government increases the “overall size of the House with every census, or should we not do like every other democracy in the world and redistribute within an agreed number?”

    Why wouldn’t redistributing the existing seats on a population basis not give us “democratic fairness” ? Isn’t that what’s used to determine US congressional seat allotment. Personally, I agree with him… we don’t need more MP’s.

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    TheSilentObserver says:

    This in spite of all your talk about how the NDP aren’t ready for the big leagues and Bob Rae is going to be the Moses of Canadian progressives?

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    WDM says:

    If I were King for a day I would print out a copy of the Constitution for every MP in Ottawa and staple it to their forehead. The purposeful ignorance on all the democratic reform debates make me want to cry.

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      Ken says:

      Our constitution is rather a hard thing to staple, considering that it’s actually a small book, plus a whole bunch of other stuff that’s not codified anywhere.

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    The Doctor says:

    I agree with WK here. I cannot see the logic or the strategic sense in what Rae is doing on this issue. This could really come back to hurt the LPC politically in places where they need to grow (ON, AB, BC). Talk about the wrong fight to pick and the wrong side to pick. Jesus.

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      Ken says:

      And in places where they need to hold, like Atlantic Canada. Also, if you redistributed seats among the provinces, it would also mean fewer potentially-winnable ridings in Winnipeg, SK, and parts of Quebec.

      Not thought through.

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    Philip says:

    In addition, a re-distribution of the existing seats would see smaller rural ridings merged and those extra seats being allotted to the suburban/urban areas, where the overwhelming majority of Canadians live. I disagree with the theory that more seats equals greater democracy. A re-distribution of seats based on population density would be more representative of Canadian voters. If the population density changes significantly, ie: everyone moves West, the seats could move with them. Make a point to re-examine the population densities every ten years (after each census) and then adjust the riding boundaries as needed.

    As Warren noted, certain Constitutional realities need to be observed. In particular the Senatorial Clause of 1915 which sets the floor of the number of seats in the HoC each province holds as equal to the number of Senate seats held. I would have no problem keeping that. The Representative Act of 1986, is an Act of Parliament and as such could be amended. In my opinion the removal of the 1976 clause would be the way to go. I see no reason for a second, higher, seat floor set at the 1976 levels of representation.

    As an aside, if we are still going by the 1986 formula, (279 seats to calculate the quotient) an additional 13 seats would needed not 30. If we are going to use 335 or 331 seats, if P.E.I and the Territories are removed, as the new quotient let us apply the population part of the formula equally. Some provinces gain seats while others lose seats. The Conservative proposal has no province losing seats, everybody gains, which is not reflected by the population statistics. I understand the political calculation on the part of the Conservatives but if you are going to use population as a part of the equation then use it properly. Not every province wins seats, some would and should lose them. It may not be popular politically but it would be a little more representative.

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      Philip says:

      In reply to MoeL above. My bad.

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    JStanton says:

    ..more of Mr. Harpers’ schizophrenia, and Mr. Rae is right to call him on it.

    He pretends fiscal responsibility, while spending like a drunk with his wife’s credit card. He pretends to balance the budget, while creating the largest deficit ever. He pretends to create jobs, while causing an increase in unemployment, he pretends to be democratic, while undermining democracy at every turn, he pretends to want to shrink the size of government, while growing it more than ever.

    Why should Mr. Rae and the LPC continue to be Mr. Harper’s puppets? It’s their job to illuminate the implicit and explicit corruption of Conservative ideas and actions. It’s about time they actually pushed back.


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      Philip says:

      Even more so when you realize that this round of new seats, based on 2011 Census data, was only supposed to be 13 not 30. The Representative Act of 1986 is still current, the 1986 formula should still be used to calculate the new seats. Ontario should only be getting 5 new seats, not 25. Alberta should get 5 not 15. Why all the extra seats, support staff, salaries and pensions? I guess Mr. Harper figures that he is entitled buy whatever he wants with other people’s money.

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        Matthew says:

        Huh? Do you actually read the news? Alberta is not getting 15 new seats and Ontario isn’t getting 25. Also, how many times must it be repeated that taking seats away from smaller provinces in order to redistribute them more fairly would require a constitutional amendment?


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    The Realist says:

    It’s politically impossible to reduce the number of House seats in a province, so there is no other choice but to increase them.

    Ontario, BC and Alberta have been severely underrepresented for some time. This is just pandering to Quebec by the Liberals.

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    VH says:

    Warren, like it was mentioned previous posts, you can’t “rebuild” something by using one of the most hated former premiers in recent memory from the largest province in the land who did so while at the helm of another party.

    Bob Rae at the helm of the Liberal party is prima facie evidence that there’s either a naïveté or lack of common sense amongst liberal MPs and party insiders.

    It doesn’t matter if you think his reputation was earned fairly or unfairly.

    “When they said, repent, repent, I wonder what they meant”.

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      Ken says:

      What is Bob Rae “hated” for, and by whom?

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        VH says:

        Well I guess to Bob every day is a Rae Day.

        “The initiative was incredibly unpopular…support for the party fell to 6 per cent, and contributed greatly to the NDP’s defeat in the 1995 election to the Progressive Conservatives. The NDP was reduced from a majority to a third party, a position from which, as of the 2011 election, they have not been able to recover.”

        Enough said? Or do you need more?

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          Philip says:

          Would Rae Days be more or less popular than having people die in Walkerton under the Mike Harris tenure? My guess is that would also be “incredibly unpopular” in Ontario. Rae is not the most unpopular Premier in Ontario by a long shot.

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          Ken says:

          Who, other than public sector NDP types, ever gave a sweet flying flap about Rae Days?

          If anything, Rae Days, if anyone remembers them, would HELP B.R. among soft Liberal and swing Tory voters.

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    Ken says:

    I think it was dumb of the US to cap the size of their House to begin with. Single-member lower-chamber districts with more than half a million constituents? Just plain nuts.

    And CAPTCHA ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? Sheesh, anyone else having trouble with that thing tonight?

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