Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BC election thoughts

I have to say that I am disappointed but not surprised that the Campbell Liberals won. I'm not hopeful about much, but there's a lot of change we need in this province: increasing the minimum wage, stopping the Gateway Project, addressing affordable housing issues including homelessness, in addition to a host of others. Despite Campbell's platitudes, I don't anticipate him being overly receptive to these needs. We'll need to keep the push on.

I'm also not surprised, and indeed pleased, that STV was defeated. I strongly support electoral reform, but STV fails us in too many ways to be a viable alternative. Indeed, many supporters of electoral reform has said that. What has to happen ultimately I think is that there has to be a referendum on different types of electoral reform. We were never really given the choice between different types of alternative systems. MMP is a better option than STV.

I understand that supporters are disappointed, but when 60% vote against the option, best not to dwell on it, but rather accept the result and carry on with activism on the social, economic, and environmental issues that matter. Progressives in BC must unite to hold the Campbell government to account.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Haaretz: If you (or I) were a Palestinian

I thought this article showed some insight for an Israeli media source:

I hate all the terrorists in the world, whatever the purpose of their struggle. However, I support every active civil revolt against any occupation, and Israel too is among the despicable occupiers. Such revolt is both more just and more effective, and it does not extinguish one's spark of humanity. And perhaps I'm just too much of an old codger to be a terrorist.

But, and pay attention to this but, if a normative young person has a spontaneous answer that is different from mine, and that answer also escaped the mouth of an Israeli lieutenant general, then every individual must see himself as though his son is running with the wrong crowd. If things were the other way around, our son-whom-we-loved would be a damned terrorist, almost certainly, because he is of the third and fourth generation of refugeehood and oppression, and whence cometh salvation? He has nothing to lose but his chains.
Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

best of the season

Wishing everyone the best of the holiday season and all the best for 2009.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

my letter to the papers on the coalition

Here's my letter to the Vancouver papers, the Sun and the Province:

Stephen Harper has brought the current parliamentary conundrum on himself. He was given a mandate to try to make a minority parliament work. Instead, he chose to govern as though he has a majority.

Last week’s horrendous economic statement included an attempt to cripple the opposition parties by removing their public financing, as well as a number of other far-right wing measures that showed no sign of conciliation at all with the opposition.

With this, Harper’s continual baiting of the opposition with confidence votes finally went too far, and like the small kids in the schoolyard standing up to the bully, the opposition decided to fight back. Harper no longer has the confidence of the house, and has no right to govern.

If he really cared about anything more than power, instead of proroguing parliament thus leaving it inactive during a time of economic crisis, he would have accepted his fate, and offered to cooperate with the coalition. He must go, and if I were a Tory, I’d want him gone as party leader as well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A new era in Vancouver municipal politics

A new, more inclusive, socially just, and sustainable era, that is.

I don't normally join political parties at any level, but I made an exception with Vision Vancouver. I hope they prove me right in the end.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ed Broadbent on electoral reform

As I said after the election, I am extremely upset at the unjust nature of our electoral system. It is a system where Harper almost received a majority with the support of 22% of registered voters. I believe that we urgently need reform of our electoral system. I want to do something about it, I have joined Fair Vote Canada, and urge other progressives of all stripes to do so as well.

Here is an outstanding op ed piece on the urgent need for electoral reform by Ed Broadbent in the Globe and Mail.

It was a bad day for Canadian democracy – more unstable, unrepresentative government.

If Tuesday's vote had taken place with an electoral system such as those in the vast majority of democracies, Canadians would now have the prospect of a stable centre-left coalition government, with a majority of seats in Parliament representing a majority of the popular votes. Instead, we will continue with a right-of-centre government rejected by a substantial majority of Canadians, elected by a mere 38 per cent of the people, with not a single MP from Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal. Federalist parties got more than 50 per cent of the votes in Quebec, but the Bloc Québécois received two-thirds of the seats.

When, oh Lord, will we wake up? Why do we persist with a 19th-century electoral system designed for two parties long since rejected by more than 40 multiparty democracies throughout the world? When a party with just over a third of the vote gets to govern, and one party, the Greens, doesn't get a single MP although nearly a million people voted for it, is it any wonder that only 59 per cent of Canadians bothered to vote on Tuesday, the lowest turnout in our history?

We need change, and we need it soon. Most European democracies have successful systems of proportional representation. And a system such as those in Germany, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales would work well in Canada, combining proportionality with an individual MP for each district. Our Parliaments would be both more representative and more stable.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brief post-election thoughts

Cross-posted at The Stop Stephen Harper Blog.

Here is a letter to the Governor General from Stuart Hertzog of, calling for the Governor General to wait before asking Harper to form a government, and wait for the possibility that the opposition might form a coalition. Please feel free to write your own letter, or or use this one.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean

Governor General of Canada
Rideau Hall, 1 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A1

Telephone: (613) 993-8200
Toll-free: 1 (800) 465-6890
Fax: (613) 998-8760

A Coalition Government for Canada

Canadians have voted not to give the Conservative Party an overall majority in this election. The result clearly shows that an overwhelming majority of the voting public do not support the Conservative Party, and therefore do not wish to see Stephen Harper continue as prime minister of Canada.

Mr. Harper may petition you to be allowed to continue as prime minister with a parliamentary minority. I beg you not to grant his request immediately. Instead, I respectfully request that you stay your official permission until the four opposition parties, or at least those whose candidates have been elected to sit as members of the 40th parliament of Canada, are given time to try to form a coalition government.

I believe that a coalition government holding a majority in parliament would be in the best interests of Canada at this time. To allow Mr. Harper to continue as prime minister would have many damaging consequences that could undermine the peaceful order and good government of this country.

Canadian sovereignty

A minority Conservative government would expose Canada to policies that the majority of Canadians clearly do not want. They could diminish Canadian sovereignity by integration into a continental union with the United States, and further undermine the supportive social programs and civil liberties that Canadians citizens have come to enjoy.

Another minority government would frustrate those Canadians who have rejected Mr. Harper’s platform and past policies, possibly leading to civil unrest.

The functioning of parliament would be undermined by a continued minority government. Without a majority, the government would not be able to pass contentious legislation, rendering any debate leading up to these failures a waste of time. Loss of a confidence motion would lead to another costly election soon after this one, which would exasperate and even anger many Canadians.

Same parliamentary situation

Mr. Harper has not been able to use this election to capture a majority of seats in parliament, and a third attempt is likely to produce the same situation. A coalition government would open up the possibility of negotiated agreement between the parties as to which legislation would be introduced and passed in parliament, making for efficient use of members’ parliamentary time. The resulting legislation likely would be acceptable to a wide range of Canadians.

Clearly, a coalition government is in the best interests of Canada at this time. I therefore humbly beg and beseech you to consider my request, and using your reserve powers, not agree to Mr. Harper’s request to continue at least until the other parliamentary parties have had time to negotiate a coalition.

Yours for a free and democratic Canada,

Stuart Hertzog
Victoria, BC

Brief post-election thoughts

Cross-posted at The Stop Stephen Harper Blog.

Obviously, I'm extremely disappointed with the results from last night, and with those Canadians, obviously a lot of them, who are not neoconservatives, yet voted to re-elect a neoconservative government. That said, I have a few thoughts as to where we go from here:

1) The opposition parties must put aside partisan differences and agree to form a coalition, then approach the Governor General with this willingness to govern in the best interests of the country. is all over this.

2) We need proportional representation, and we need it bad. I'm going to join Fair Vote Canada.

3) Last night's election had the lowest voter turnout, 61%, in Canadian history. In future elections, progressives need to get the vote out, especially the youth vote. I firmly believe that they higher the voter turnout, the more progressive our government will be.