Monday, April 20, 2015

Federal Political Party Support in BC January to April 2015

EKOS has been polling consistently since mid January and with large enough national samples to allow for results in BC of around 500 respondents which is large enough to start to mean something
In the last three months support for the NDP and Conservatives are up in BC while for the Liberals it is down.

What is also interesting is that other than one Conservative result on March 14th (the smallest sample poll in the series) the support for the big three parties has been in a fairly narrow range.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Federal Proportional Representation in Canada - is it likely?

Elections in Canada with the first past the post system means that MPs can be elected with less than a third of the vote and a party can form a majority government with only the support of around 40% of the voters.    The system is not doing a very good job of translating the will of the public into representation in parliament.   One of the answers is to adopt some form of proportional representation the question is which one.   I believe that Mix Member Proportional is not political possible in Canada whereas Single Transferable Vote might be.

In Canada there are two forms of proportional representation that have been either used or considered:

  • Single Transferable Vote, used in the prairie provinces from the 1920s to 1950s and proposed for BC and voted on in 2005 and 2009.   STV works very well in delivering a result that is a good approximation of the public will.  It is especially good at rewarding hard working representatives and eliminating the concept of a safe seat.  The problem is that STV, while be an elegant and sophisticated electoral system, the electoral system is not intuitive.   In STV it is almost impossible to useful game the system and no benefit to strategic voting.
  • Mixed Member Proportional - formally proposed in some form in the last decade or so in Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island.  As well often being suggested as a form to use for the Federal Parliament.  MMP was created after World War 2 to be less proportional than the electoral system used in the Weimar republic as a response to the fractured parliaments that happened.   Outwardly as a system the concept of how it works is easy but the system often has to have complex mechanisms to achieve the results and the math that goes into who get elected and who does not is very complex.   It is one of the most complex electoral systems in use in the world.   There are several ways voters and political parties can game the system and it encourages strategic voting at the local level

Right now the popular support in Canada is definitely much more in support of MMP than STV, though when provinces have held referendums on electoral reform the results for STV were the best in the country.

The federally the NDP is very much advocating for MMP and there is a moderate chance they could form a minority government which means we could see it being proposed in the next parliament.  It is an electoral system that appeals to the strongly partisan, such as core leadership of political parties, and looks fair to the public.   The question then becomes could MMP be made to work in Canada?

The problem with introducing MMP in Canada is that the number of voters in each riding is not consistent at all.    PEI has four seats for a population roughly the same single seat in Calgary.  Implementation would either mean fewer local MPs especially for BC, Alberta and Ontario or 85 to 225 more party list MPs in the House of Commons.  Either approach would have serious political opposition.

The ratio in most MMP systems is roughly 30% to 40% of the representatives coming from party lists.   To achieve something similar in Canada there would have to be 144 to 225 party list MPs as well as the current 338.  Even with only 20% being list MPs, this would entail another 85 members in the House of Commons.     Adding this number of new MPs would not be very popular with the public based on reactions to the idea of more MPs.   The party list MPs are most likely to end up being roughly proportional to provincial populations which would mean the six smallest population provinces would see their relative representation in Ottawa would be reduced.  

Party lists would be most likely balanced in such a way to get the most support for the party and this means not overloading it with people from Atlantic provinces.    With 85 list members it is likely that only six to eight of them would come from the the four Atlantic provinces.  Yes, a party could over load their list with Atlantic members but that is very likely to play badly in the four largest provinces.  As it stands, few people in BC or Alberta think it is fair that PEI gets four MPs.

The other direction would be to stay at 338 MPs and make some of the list MPs, but without a constitutional amendment only 56 could be party list MPs     The constitution mandates the minimum number of MPs per province and six of the provinces are at their minimum already.  The lost local MPs would all come from BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.  Quebec would have the smallest loss with only 3 being removed but Ontario would lose 26, BC 14 and Alberta 13     My own island would lose two of our seven MPs and Vancouver Island would have half the MPs for New Brunswick but a larger population.   I can not see any significant support in the four largest province for this approach.

If the constitution were amended to remove the restrictions on MPs per province the split could be 270 local MPs and 68 list MPs though in this would entail the six smallest population provinces losing seats.  Manitoba would drop five seats, Saskatchewan six, PEI three, Newfoundland three, New Brunswick four and Nova Scotia either four or five.   These six provinces would have to agree to losing MPs and I do not see that happening.

In my opinion MMP is not politically achievable in Canada unless the public can accept the addition of 85 or more party list to the House of Commons and Atlantic Canadian political leaders accept reduced influence in Ottawa.

STV could be introduced without changing the number of MPs and thereby removing all the oppostiion from the province .   The problem with STV is that is a system not favourable to centralized political parties and as a system feels to different for most people.

In my opinion STV could be acceptable to the general public with education but it is not going to be proposed by the NDP, Liberals or Conservatives.

Monday, April 6, 2015

 Somehow my email address is in a GOP database somewhere  - it means I get this constant barrage of Republican letters begging for money of which many of I find humourous.

The latest one is for Michele Bachmann, a person that as a politician is already a joke but this sappy sounding one as if it is coming from her family sounds like a bad parody of what a cynical Republican would do in the States.

What it is really for is a group called MICHELEPAC (Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere Political Action Group).   I can not figure out what this money is being raised.


Dear Bernard,

Last year for Mom's birthday we sent you an email asking you to sign a birthday card for our mom, Michele Bachmann. And Bernard, she loved it so much that we are emailing you again this year to ask for your help again!

Please click here to sign the birthday card for our amazing and courageous mom!

Hearing from you will certainly brighten our mom's birthday, and make it a memorable day for her which she will always remember.

Now is the opportunity to thank our mom for her never ending commitment to working tirelessly for our country and all of us, and wish her a very happy birthday. 

After you sign the card, we hope you will please consider making a donation to MichelePAC, her PAC that supports the election of like-minded constitutional conservative candidates across the country.

We know she would be most grateful if you could make a donation to her PAC on her birthday, to partner with her, in her efforts to save and protect our blessed country.

On behalf of the entire Bachmann family, thank you for always being a friend and staunch supporter of our mother's. Your friendship and support means the world to her and our family!

Caroline, Elisa, Harrison, Sophia, Christine & Lucas Bachmann

P.S. Our mom's birthday is today so please help us start getting her present ready! We hope you will take 3 minutes and follow this link to send our mom, Michele Bachmann, your best wishes for her birthday.

MichelePAC is the Political Action Committee founded by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann in 2010. MichelePAC stands for: Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere and works to elect constitutional conservative candidates throughout the country. Michele's dedication to uniting constitutional conservatives motivates her to find, support and election like-minded candidates across America.

In 2010, your support for MichelePAC swept Nancy Pelosi out of leadership and ushered in a new group of leaders dedicated to defending constitutional principles. In 2012, MichelePAC candidates received unprecedented support from conservatives who stood together to defend American principles from the Obama agenda. In 2014, MichelePAC assisted in giving the Senate Majority to Republicans as well as helping reclaim the Leadership seats for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. Now, MichelePAC is a national organization dedicated to keeping the Senate red and maintaining majorities in the House.

Contributions to Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere
are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes
Paid for by Many Individual Conservatives Helping Elect Leaders Everywhere. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Somehow I ended up the Ted Cruz mailing list

Anyone that knows me would know I am not in the least supportive Ted Cruz to be elected to anything even if up until recently he was a fellow Canadian.

I subscribe to the Economist's view of him
Mr Cruz will not win the presidency, since he repels the swing voters who decide things. But he could still do harm. If he turns the Republican primary into a conservative purity contest, in which anyone softer on Mr Obama is labelled a sell-out, other contenders may be dragged so far to the right that they become unelectable in the general election. That would be bad for the Republican Party and for America. Voters in 2016 deserve a choice between two grown-up candidates.
This is an email I recently received

Bernard --

Have you seen this?

I have less than 4 hours left.

Please -- right now -- read below and contribute before 11:59pm.

For liberty,

Ted Cruz

From: Ted Cruz
Subject: 7 hours
Cruz For President

We don't have much time. So, I'll be brief.

My deadline is less than 7 hours away, and I just got off the phone with Lauren, my National Finance Director.
**I need 3 more donors in your area BEFORE midnight**

Bernard, as a personal favor to me, will you help us meet our Money Bomb goal by making an immediate contribution -- it is imperative that we don't come up short. After the barrage of's clear: as conservatives, we are in the fight of our lives.

Please, before you do anything else -- click here and make a Money Bomb contribution of at least $5 or as much as $35 or even more if you can afford it.

 STOP-GAP $100 » 

 STOP-GAP $35 » 

 STOP-GAP $5 » 


My campaign finance report is about to come under intense scrutiny from every media outlet, Democrat, and presidential hopeful in the country.

I announced for President to defend the Constitution and restore the promise of America, but we can only win with the support of courageous conservatives like you.

There are less than 7 hours left in the Money Bomb Challenge.

Will you step up and stand with us?

For liberty,

Ted Cruz

P.S. If you haven't already, will you click here right now and help me meet this Money Bomb Challenge with a most generous donation of $100, $35, $5, or whatever you can afford? 


Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy

Monday, March 30, 2015

The electoral math of four parties competing over a seat

The number of serious contenders in a riding dramatically changes the electoral math of what it takes to get elected.

Normally in first part the post elections you have two primary parties competing for a seat which means a close race 45% of the vote is what is needed to win.  

When there are three parties competing for seat it take about 35% of the vote to win.   With only 35% of the vote needed to win, a seat can be won by a strong minority view point.

When you have four parties seriously competing 30% becomes enough to win the seat.  This sort of race makes it much easier for a small party to win seats because they do not need to try and reach the majority of the population.   A minor party with 5-10% of the vote in the past can realistically win in most four party races.  

In 2015 we will see four party races in the following areas
CPC. LPC, NDP and Greens:
On all of Vancouver Island other than Saanich-Gulf Islands, parts of the lower mainland,  Yukon, and some places in Ontario

CPC, LPC, NDP, and Bloc
About 25-30 ridings in Quebec

What it means is that in these 50 or so ridings no one will able to call any of them with any confidence.

State of Treaty Negotiations - Dead in the Water!

The BC Treaty Commission is back in the news for the first time in a very long time because the BC cabinet would not approve George Abbott as Chief Commissioner even though he was the one suggested for the job by the province.   With the BCTC in the media because of this event there has been commentary about the state of Treaty negotiations in BC but very little of that has been well informed about the reality of what is going on in Treaty negotiations.

Ts'Kw'aylacw Negotiating Team in 1999
The BCTC was created as a tripartite "Keeper of the Process" as part of the 1991 BC Claims Taskforce Report.   The purpose of the Treaty Commission was to make sure each of the parties would take the negotiations seriously.   By 2000 it was clear to everyone that the BCTC was toothless and could do nothing other than mildly scold the parties if someone was not taking the process seriously.   Ultimately the BCTC is little more than giving the negotiations a veneer of non-partisan respectability but can do nothing to make the Feds or the Province seriously negotiate.    The BCTC oversees a Treaty process that has been fundamentally flawed from the start.

Old church on the Leon Creek reserve
Negotiations in the BC Treaty process started in 1993.  After 22 years there have only been four final agreements representing a total of eight Indian Act Bands.    Why have there been so few settlements and why have those taken so long?

The primary reason Treaty negotiations are stalled in BC is because there is a fundamental disagreement between the Crowns and First Nations on Aboriginal title and rights.

First Nations assert their ownership over much of the province and come to the negotiations from the perspective that they would not have to surrender their ownership of the land.    First Nations assumed that by being accepted in the negotiations that this was a tacit recognition by the Crown that there are Aboriginal title and rights held by the First Nation.

Pavilion Lake in the winter
The previous comprehensive claims process required the First Nation to prove what lands they had aboriginal rights to.    It was a costly research process and many First Nations were insulted they had to prove they existed.

The two Crowns come from the perspective that any Aboriginal title or rights not specifically recognized by the courts de facto do not exist and that the Treaty negotiations would replace any possible Aboriginal title and rights with new Treaty rights but since there were not court recognized ownership, any Treaty rights would be an improvement.    The Crown has acted as if the First Nations came with nothing to the table and were mere supplicants seeking government largess.

This fundamental difference has lead to the very different assumptions about how the negotiations would go.   First Nations assumed that each settlement would be unique and based on the title and rights of each First Nation.   The negotiators from the Crown have approached the negotiations with a one size fits all model in which an Indian is worth X in cash and land and that all settlements would be broadly the same in value.

The Chilcotin - no need for Treaty negotiations here
This difference in assumptions means that what First Nations expect is dramatically more than what the Crown is willing to agree to at the table.   For a typical First Nation in BC the scale of the land settlement most likely on offer is only about 10% of what the First Nation is willing to accept.  

Some people on the First Nation side see the approach of the Crowns to the negotiations as settlement through exhaustion - if the talks drag on long enough eventually the First Nations will have to settle for the position of the Crowns.   Certainly that seems to be core to the Federal government negotiation position and has been so for the last 22 years.  

Cynical people would point to the fact that negotiating is cheaper than settling for the Federal government, so why rush to a settlement?

Few First Nations in the BC Treaty Process see the current negotiations as a path towards a settlement.

So why have only two First Nations left the BC Treaty Process if it is not something most First Nations see as a path to a settlement?   Money.    First Nations in BC have few revenue sources that allow them to decide what they will do and how.    The BC Treaty Process comes with loans and grants for the negotiations.   This money can be used to do a lot of the important capacity building work that needs to be done by First Nation governments.  It is also the only money that allows First Nations to do the research needed to know their land better.

Christy Clark was right in saying there have to be fundamental changes to the BC Treaty process.  The charade that are the current negotiations have to come to an end because of the Tsilhqot'in decision.

In June 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision on Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia.  With that one decision the courts affirmed that Xeni Gwet'in had ownership of a lot more land than anything that would be possible within the Treaty process.  Not only does Aboriginal Title exist, it exists as First Nations have always said, over a large amount of the land.

The current template that the Crowns are using for the negotiations are no longer viable because First Nations could get control again over a lot more land through the courts.  Not only is the court route more likely to offer a much better settlement, it also faster and much cheaper than the current Treaty negotiations.

It has been almost ten months since the Tsilhqot'in decision which should have marked an end to the BC Treaty process and finally forced the Federal and Provincial Crowns to come to the table with a process to recognize Aboriginal Title in BC.

From 1995 to 2002 I worked as a Treaty negotiator for the Ts'Kw'aylcw First Nation.   The First Nation chose to leave the process when it was clear that the governments would only agree to a tiny amount of the land being returned to First Nation control.

Monday, March 23, 2015

2014 Firearms Licenses per capita in Canada

Province/Territory Licences per 100,000 Population
Yukon 19,698
Newfoundland and Labrador 14,249
Northwest Territories 12,638
Nunavut 9,722
Saskatchewan 9,463
New Brunswick 9,171
Nova Scotia 7,957
Alberta 7,177
Manitoba 7,010
Quebec 6,270
Nationwide 5,942
British Columbia 5,731
Prince Edward Island 4,395
Ontario 4,362