Thursday, July 2, 2015

Goodbye, for now

I'm minutes away from leaving Toronto, and wanted to make one last goodbye post. It may be my last post until August, or even September.

A few things to keep in mind until then

1 - The NDP was always "could win". That includes a Majority. All 3 parties remain "could win" a majority. and all 3 parties could be reduced to 40 or in some cases, fewer seats.

2 - The Greens could win 60 seats, the Bloc could win 50. Neither of these are terribly likely, but then again the NDP sweeping Quebec was not very likely 15 years ago.

3 - Things are wide open, don't let anyone scare you into doing X or Y because Z "is going" to happen.

And a few more "personal" things from the heart:

A - Good policy is one that does not forget the extreme cases. If your policy breaks down because of an unexpected or extreme case, your policy is sub-par.

B - In politics, there are no "good guys" and "bad guys". If you can not find something good to say about all 5 parties, and, all 5 leaders, you may be a partisan. You are if you also can not find anything bad to say about your own party and leader. Not just one, but both, the party, and the leader. Keep an open mind, and always listen to all opinions, even the crazy ones - especially the crazy ones.

C - Freedom means nothing without the freedom to screw up and make mistakes and do what is wrong. Why? Once someone defines for you what is "right" you lose your freedom.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I'm moving soon

Teddy here with a few personal notes.

First; remember to check the bottom of the post for who the author is. I've had a few posts I've made be confused with posts from Kyle.

Second; I've been given the runaround by just about everyone in the government who is supposedly supposed to help people like me (I have Autism). Apparently moving to a different region (LHIN and social support) is utter chaos. I was told to call Toronto ODSP, Toronto OW, Toronto ODSP, Simcoe ODSP, Simcoe OW, Simcoe ODSP, Toronto City Council, my current MPP, my new MPP, my new Town Council...

The core of the problem is a decision by this government to take financial help for moving out of the hands of ODSP. That, along with the repeated less-than-inflation rises in support, tells me this government does not give a flying **** about the needy in this province. I won't go into much greater detail; I do not intend to turn this into a personal gripe post, but  will simply say my chances of ever supporting the Ontario Liberals have dropped to near 0.

The only way, only way I am managing this move without being homeless* for a while is because I found a place so cheap that my benefit alone can cover both first and last.

* = One thing everyone agreed on, ODSP, OW, the MPPs, the Councillors; was that while support (for first and last month's rent) would be very difficult to access, they agreed that if I was homeless, I'd get help right away! I had planned to purposefully become homeless for a night to move things along.

Lastly; I'm moving! I don't know exactly when, but do know it will be next week. It could be as early as the 29th or as late as the 3rd as there are a few variables to nail down. My father, who is 70, will be driving in to the city for the first time in many years to help me move, and take me to a town near him; Penetanguishene.

Known as Penetang for short, the town is beside Midland, Ontario, which is north of Barrie and about equidistant from both Barrie and Orillia, in the Simcoe North riding.

Given the money problems, it is just about impossible I'll have the internet in my first month up there. I may not even have the money by the time my birthday rolls around in August. I'm half jokingly thinking about setting up a donation page to help Teddy get the internet! The problem is with that first month mountain, where you need to pay all those "installation fees" and the such.

Penetanguishene is a small town, with a population of around 9,000. How big is it? Well check out these two maps:
Oh, but I should mention that these maps are a bit out of date. From 1881, at the latest.
A more up-to-date map can be found here
As you can see, the town has not changed much in the past 134 years.

While I won't have internet at home, there is a Tim Hortons that will be my next door neighbour, (it has wifi) and a public library a few doors down. I should be able to make it online here and there, likely once a day, but do not want to make guarantees.

I will leave you with this.

This is an old Alternate History that I've worked on for quite some time. It's called "3 votes".

The premise is simple.
Back in 2003, the PC Party held it's final leadership race. In that, Scott Brison was eliminated early after Jim Prentice beat him by only 3 votes.

This alternate history looks at what would have happened if those 3 votes were reversed, and Brison had managed to stay on the ballot. I will point-form the rest of the story.

Brison manages to get a deal signed with David Orchard and thus win the leadership.

All else proceeds as normal up until the impending election

As in real life, the Liberals come out swinging against Harper and hit him hard, accusing him of a secret agenda.

However, with another "not-Liberal" party to vote for, and an alternative for right-wing voters, the PC Party starts to take off.

Without the major trust issues with a Harper lead Conservative Party, voters become more willing to consider voting PC. Thus real-world people who voted Liberal in 2004 to stop Harper, even though they were disgusted by the sponsorship scandal, are not forced to make the same decision in this alternate history.

As a result, the Liberal vote in each province is much closer to  1997 results, or, 2000 in the West, than to the real 2004 results. In addition, with an alternative that is not "Scary" (IE Harper) or "Unknown" (IE Layton) Quebec swings to the Tories as well.

Prime Minister Scott Brison.

Harper loses his own seat, and Chuck Strahl becomes Alliance leader, and forms a coalition with the Tories.

I hope that little story was a bit enjoyable, I know it's mostly just maps.

Sadly, along with all the other personal problems outlined, I'm suffering a severe abscessed tooth at the moment. I will try to post a few more interesting things in the coming days.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Quick update on the Senate

Just the numbers; the drama won't fit into a single blogpost.

At this time, there are 49 Conservative senators. They caucus with the Tories.

There are 29 members of the Liberal Senate Caucus. This is an Independent caucus that does not sit with the Liberals from the Commons.

There are 7 other Senators, including Independents, and "Progressive Conservatives", as well as those kicked out of their original Caucus, or suspended from the Senate.

Next week A senator will retire. A second will do so before the Election. Thus the standings when the new government takes office, or, the old one is sworn back in, will be as follows:

47C//29L//7O//22V - with V standing for Vacancy.

There is a legal challenge working it's way though the courts with the intention of forcing the PM to appoint senators given the large number of vacancies. This may go nowhere, or may become an issue, and if so, it will likely impact the next (IE post-election) government and not this one.

If held on schedule, the 2019 election will take place in October.

At that time we will have seen many more Senators retire. The NDP has stated the wish to starve the Senate, one way to do this might be to refuse to appoint any Senators. Given the NDP's lead in the polls at this time, I will presume they win the next election and do not appoint any Senators. Note this is only for the sake of example, I am not making an official projection here.

This would mean that the government elected in the 2019 election would be faced with the following Senate:


This means slightly under half the seats are vacant.

If we presume the NDP (in this example) were to be re-elected with another majority, then by the 2023 election, we would be looking at the following:


At this point the Senate would quite likely cease up and stop working. However, it is interesting to note...

If no changes are made to the Senate by this date, that means whoever is elected in this election could control the entire chamber. This could easily become this:


if the Greens won, for example.

Anyway, my point is that unless we change the Senate in some significant way (one such way might be that legal case I talked about being backed by the court) then we will have to wait until the government elected in 2023 to actually make any real change.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Newfoundland and Labrador, the future

Teddy here with some maps of the new Newfoundland ridings.

First the "boring" map, the one showing the current mathematical prediction

The far more fun maps happen when you start adjusting the numbers around:

Anyway, that's all I wanted to add for now.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Newfoundland and Labrador Redistribution Transposition

Below is my transposition for the new provincial electoral boundaries in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For some background, the new boundaries are kind of odd - they reduce, rather than increase, the number of provincial constituencies in time for the next election. That's pretty hard to think about in most parts of Canada, as we're used to seeing an ever-increasing number of politicians (as Ontario will soon see) - however, the three of the four Atlantic provinces have decided to decrease their provincial legislatures in their recent redistributions. The reasons for this vary - the population may be shrinking, the rural population may be moving to the urban centres, its a way of moving power bases around, et cetera. As with all electoral boundary redistributions, politicians and communities fight tooth and nail against the recommendations that come from the various elections commissions, especially those in rural and less dense areas where people feel they're going to lose their clout (or their representative) on the whim of a mad geography.

This being Newfoundland and Labrador, one of the most vocal places in the country and where parties of the population are so hilariously far-flung and isolated that roads don't even each them, you can imagine the uproar when, of the eight districts being gutted from the 2006 map, seven of them were being taken out of the rural parts of Newfoundland (none out of Labrador, which will retain its four seats). Thus began what should have been a long, drawn-out process that made no one happy and took a year or two to complete - but, that couldn't be, since a new election for the province has to be called this year, thanks the change in Premiers since the resignation of Kathy Dunderdale. By law, a new election has to be called within a year of a Premier resigning his or her position - putting this redistribution on schedule that normally wouldn't be recommended, especially in a province with people as vocal as Newfoundlanders tend to be.

In the end, though, the job was done, and we now have our final result - forty districts, about 30 of them truly "new." I did my transposition below over the course of about a week through piecemeal efforts, though in truth I began the process months ago. I even made a map, which you can see below. These numbers are about as accurate as I can make them - I am missing about 2,000 voters, but its all across the province and not just from a riding or two. Plus, no district is close enough for it to really make a difference anyway, I feel.

By region, the new districts break down into this, with the percentage of seats in parentheses. Normal letting is the new 2015 map, while the italicized lettering is the 2006 map.

Labrador: 4 seats (10%); 4 seats (8.3%)
Newfoundland (whole island): 36 seats (90%); 44 seats (92%)
Avalon Peninsula (including St. John's): 18 seats (45%); 20 seats (41.6%)
St. John's: 10 seats (25%); 10 seats (20.8%)
Newfoundland (excepting Avalon):
18 seats (45%); 24 seats (50%)

Rural constituencies (exception Labrador): 20 seats (50%); 25 seats (52%)
Urban/suburban constituencies: 16 seats (40%); 19 seats (40%)

Its interesting to note on that last point, 59% of Newfoundlanders live in urban centers - not 40%.

Anyway, enjoy, and if you have any questions or want the graph for yourself, let me know.

Original Map Base done by (I think) Teddy


Alternate Future, Proportional Representation.

Another addition in my Alternate History (AH) series; an alternate future.

This story is set sometime after the 2031 seat redistribution I went over earlier.

There are two small changes however.

First, note that in that post, Quebec ends up with 2 seats more than the math would give them. Also, the provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, would also, each, end up with 2 more seats than the pure math - without the Grandfather clause - would give them.
Saskatchewan and New Brunswick would each end up with 3 additional seats.

Manitoba, however, is growing. The pure math would give them 14 seats, as would the Grandfather clause; the clause that says no provinces can lose seats below 1974 levels.

I could see Manitoba kicking up a fuss under these circumstances, and frankly, they'd be right to. They would be the only "small" province without additional MPs. So; in this story, I'm giving them 2 extra members, to bring them up to 16. This brings our new total up to 397.

I'm also going to double the number of seats in the territories. There are a few reasons to do this. First, it allows for a better proportional result. Secondly, it allows me to simply apply the 3 new seats to all the territories and use a "fill up" method; this means the party vote split in the north will matter, as finishing a very competitive third in all 3 territories will not mean 0 seats. Lastly, because it brings up our total to exactly 400, and 400 is a number I happen to like for a lower house. Fortunately, in my fantasy stories I get to make these sort of decisions!

And so we have Canada.

Lets say it is 2034 and it's election time.

Ontario has 152 MPs to elect.
Quebec has 84
BC has 54
Alberta has 42
Manitoba has 16
Saskatchewan has 14
Nova Scotia 11
New Brunswick 10
Newfoundland and Labrador 7
Prince Edward Island 4
Northwest Territories 1
Nunavut 1
Yukon 1
And the northern fill-up seats, 3

Competing in this election are 6 political parties.

The Conservatives
The Liberals
The New Democrats

These are the "big 3" parties

The Greens
A strong nation-wide party

The Parti Quebecois
The federal wing of the PQ, born out of the BQ, a left separatist party.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec
Federal wing of the CAQ, a right of centre nationalist party

I've produced the results of such an election in a table:

You can see in this world there are a few changes.

With Proportional Representation, the Greens are far more popular. They would take around 12% of the nationwide vote.

In addition, the constant coalitions was the driving force behind the CAQ in this story taking so many seats.

The Bloc can never sit in a coalition, but wants to speak for Quebec. With PR it is quite possible for a Quebec party to be in such a coalition.

This gives us many coalition opportunities. The Liberals could form a coalition with either the NDP or Tories. They could also go with both the Greens and CAQ. Meanwhile the Tories and NDP could sit with one another if they brought the CAQ along, or the Greens.

In the end, when you have more parties, not less, PR tends to work for the better. In a 6 party Canada, we could rely on PR to produce governments and coalitions that last the full term.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Can the Bloc sweep Quebec with Duceppe?


Sorry for those expecting a yes, or even something more lengthy. Simply no.

However, this does remain a "game changer". The problem is people have been playing one game while thinking they are playing another.

Last week the biggest question for the Bloc was "would Plamondon hold his seat, or would the Bloc be wiped off the map" with 1 out of 5 chance of getting nothing at all.

Today, the question is "how many seats short of party status will the Bloc be after the election?" with the best answer being "maybe 4?"

In effect, the Bloc has gone from 0.8 seats to 8 seats, a tenfold increase. The reason this is not nearly as important as many expect is they likely thought the Bloc was sitting on 4 seats, and a tenfold increase would bring them to 40.

The Bloc was never doing anywhere near that well.

This does have massive implications for the F&D. In effect, the party is as good as dead. While they might pull off a miracle, I don't see it. F&D was always about "Quebec" and not "Sovereignty", but with the Bloc deciding to move in that direction, it cuts the F&D off at birth.

Frankly, the best option for the F&D would be to officially merge with the Bloc, under the following conditions

1 - The Bloc as it is, remains. Same name, same policies, but all F&D members and assets are added to the Bloc.

I could see this happening soon, as in within days or weeks. I could also see some currently Independent quebec MPs rejoin or join the Bloc. The Bloc might end up with as many as 7 sitting MPs going in to the election.

Regardless, at this point, I don't see this meaning the Bloc will win the dozen seats they need for status, but I do see this meaning the Bloc is guaranteed at least a few seats on election night.