A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

07 January 2006

So Welcome to the New Year

And boy is it a mess so far, eh?

Latest headlines seem to indicate that Stephen Harper's Conservatives are leading the Liberals 33% to 31%, and that the New Democrats are following along with 17%.

Well, adding that up, we get 81%, which seems wrong. There's some 9% missing, no? So where do these figures come from?

Well, for a start there's the poll itself. The sample size was 1500. This means that if fifteen people were a)dishonest, b)confused, or c)loonies that the poll carries a 1% error.

{Disclaimer: I don't like the current incarnation of Conservatism in Canada, and I think one might need to be a),b) and c) to vote for 'em. But I tip my hat to the sincerity of some of 'em.}

But we need not even consider that idea, since the poll by its own admission has a margin of 2.5 percent. So 37½ people could be counted incorrectly through one reason or another.

Expand this to a nation of 35 million people. That might mean (assuming that some 30 million are old enough to vote) that three-quarters of a million people might be incorrectly assumed to be planning to vote for the Great Blue Hope.

I mean, let's consider the current composition of parliament. Of 308 seats the Liberals hold 133. Not a majority government, but close enough if they hold the support of a few other party members.

The Conservatives (who should really find another name--the Progressive Conservatives of yore look as much like this Bush-lovin' bunch of puckered prunes as a bear looks like breakfast) hold 98.

The New Democratic Party, Canada's last vestige of the socialism that helped make this country the envy of the world holds just 18 seats, but in the last parliament they managed to swing a club out of all proportion to their popularity by giving or witholding their support as a voting bloc.

And that's it.

Oh--wait! No it isn't! You see, Quebecers get many things with their "sovereignty association" deal (the deal by which the ties that bind Canada in a federation stay loose when they cross the Ontario border), including a fourth party to vote for, coincidentally called the Bloc Quebedois. In the current parliament they hold 53 seats.

That's right--53. Population-wise that number of seats is no longer representative, but so be it, mm-hmm? Not bad for a one-trick pony.

So in Parliament, the Libs have 43% The Cons hold 32%, the NDP just under 6% and the Bloc 17% (The remaining 2% is accounted for by the four independant MPs and the two vacant seats). This doesn't match the poll at all.

Now this doesn't necessarily translate into voter support. But Ontario, with the greatest number of legislative seats (again, no longer proportionate to current population distribution) is traditional Liberal territory, so they could win Ontario and BC only and still keep the lead in Parliament.

By the by, I once voiced strong support for proportional representation and the idea of the single trasferrable vote system. Unfortunately, while I'm still into prop-rep, I'm coming away from the STV idea.

Y'see, it seems as though places with STV are prone to minority governments, and if the past eighteen months are any indication, a minority government can't do squat, especially if it tries to do anything unpopular. This is a recipe for bread-and-circus tossing parliaments without strength to do the unpleasant things such as wage wars, cut budgets, and settle unpleasant historical matters such as Chinese head taxes.

I said we'd look into the election platforms and promises of each party in more depth, but we'll start tomorrow. It's a long job.

My problem is raising any enthusiasm at all. The Liberals have had their hand deep into the cookie jar for too long, but the Conservatives would turn us into Little America, complete with Missile Defence Shield and a Department of Fatherland Insanity, no doubt. The NDP haven't got a rainmaker's chance in hell, and I don't have a Bloc-head running in my distinctly Anglophone riding.

I didn't want this election (which was foisted on us by the NDP's pouting at being told where to stick their demand to keep all healthcare 100% public and ban all else, and by Stephen Harper's growing desperation to be prime minister). But if I have to vote for someone I need to evaluate their positions.


Today's music is a tune called "Male Stripper" by a group called Man2Man.


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