gotta say yes to MMP

I saw my first anti-MMP flyer today (a postcard from, which appears to be run by a trainspotter from Guelph) and it surprised me that there could be such virulent opposition to what is basically a good idea. MMP, or its local variant, has worked very well in Scotland. So I’m going to vote for MMP.
When the Scottish Parliament got going late last century, it had a proportional representation system from the start. It did allow some minority parties in – like the Scottish Greens and the Socialists – but in doing so more fairly represented the wishes of the Scottish people.

True, there were some unusual antics in the house at first from some of the Socialist members, but I notice that they are no longer represented. Act like a jerk, nobody votes for you again – that’s democracy.

I’m not sure about the rise of the Nats, and the Greens are hanging on by one member, but it seems to work, and ends the “3 years of doing the opposite + 1 year of campaigning” to which majority rule seems to devolve.

but at least I didn’t jump up and down like Reese did in “Election”

Last night at the banquet and annual awards ceremony, I was elected onto the board of directors of The Canadian Wind Energy Association (L’Association canadienne de l’énergie éolienne). The other new directors are:

I’d like to thank everyone who helped me, and look forward to a busy three years on the board.

your vote counts – or does it?

I was a little bemused about Ontario wanting 21 extra MPs, so I did some sums to see how many MPs each province/territory should have:

2005 Population ‘Fair’ Ridings Actual Ridings %age over/under represented
Canada (total) 32,270,500 308 308  
Newfoundland and Labrador 516,000 5 7 +42%
Prince Edward Island 138,100 1 4 +203%
Nova Scotia 937,900 9 11 +23%
New Brunswick 752,000 7 10 +39%
Quebec 7,598,100 73 75 +3%
Ontario 12,541,400 120 106 -11%
Manitoba 1,177,600 11 14 +25%
Saskatchewan 994,100 9 14 +48%
Alberta 3,256,800 31 28 -10%
British Columbia 4,254,500 41 36 -11%
Yukon Territory 31,000 0 1 +238%
Northwest Territories 43,000 0 1 +144%
Nunavut 30,000 0 1 +249%

The population data is from StatsCan for 2005, and the riding counts from Wikipedia, and checked on CBC’s election 2006 site. My analysis is a bit simplistic; everyone counted as population gets the same federal representation.

Ontario, BC and Alberta are getting stiffed. Quebec is the fairest of them all. But if you really want your vote to count, and you can’t handle the Territories, move to PEI.

the wide democra sea

Well, I voted, the first time as a Canadian. My world is unlikely to change much.

I was the 71st person to vote at that station. FWIW, I voted Miller (mayor), Russell (councillor) and Pan (school board).

Rum Do At WindShare

WindShare‘s having a special general meeting tonight to discuss the following resolution:

Moved that the Board of WindShare recommends to the WindShare I membership at their general meeting of June 7, 2006, the merger of WindShare I and WindShare II for the purpose of entering into the activities necessary for the development of the proposed Lakewind Proposal.

This is quite an important step, and since I’m still in Pittsburgh, I’d hoped to vote by proxy. I was informed by the WindShare administrator that this wasn’t possible; the Cooperative Corporations Act does not allow proxy voting.
I’m annoyed by this, as it looks like WindShare is going to merge its capital with a 10MW project being built on a site with a 6.5 m/s mean wind speed. I wouldn’t develop a project on a site with this low a wind speed, so I asked the following of the board:

Can you clarify, please, that the vote can only be carried if a majority of WindShare members are present at the meeting? It would be grossly unfair if an important vote like this one was carried by a minority.

I would also like to have questions brought to the board, and if possible, the meeting itself. The LakeWind information package states that Bervie has “an average wind speed of 6.5m/s … making this an excellent site for Ontario”. I would not consider a site having this wind resource to be excellent, and it would certainly not be one that would attract a commercial developer. So my questions are:

  • Is it in the membership’s best interests to develop a relatively low wind site? WindShare made their political point with the ExPlace turbine, and now we must show that community wind is economically viable.
  • Would either of the potential sites be forced to curtail output when/if the extra Bruce units come online? While LakeWind would be connecting to local distribution, any generation in that area might be subject to queueing limitations.

So far, I’ve heard nothing, which makes me uneasy.

well, that was easy, maybe

Just did my citizenship test. 20 questions, two of which you must get right, three of which you must get at least one right, and fifteen non-mandatory questions. Pass mark is 12/20.

Seemed not very difficult, either:— who was the first prime minister, who can vote, when was the Charter introduced, when did Newfoundland & Labrador join the Confederacy, when did Nunavut become a territory; that sort of thing. To think I spent all that time worrying about natural resources, the third line of O Canada! and Lieutenant Governors (sings: Bartleman, Bartleman, Does everything a … hey, wait a minute, just what can a bartle do, anyway?).

It did dismay and astonish me how badly prepared some people were. About 5 out of the 40 people didn’t turn up, and maybe 10 people didn’t have the requisite papers. C’mon people, don’t you want to be Canadian?

What’s with the Council of Canadians, eh?

Every couple of months, the Council of Canadians sends me a large and visually unappealing (1986 called; they want their typewriter font back) mailing, ranting about how those pesky Americans keep stealing our water.

Close reading of the mailing (which is hard, given the woeful typography) shows that the initiatives being railed at are either:

  1. run by Canadian companies, or
  2. are part of legislation voted for by Canadians.

Like most environmental things, Canada has an appalling record of looking after its abundant water. I think we think that the rest of the world thinks better of us than they do, or maybe even frankly cares about Canada.

I’m a bit worried by the CoC’s use of the n-word — nationalist — since it has unpleasant connotations, like the BNP and SNLA. Also, at least half of the mailing could be summed up as The Maude Barlow Fanzine, with only slightly lower production quality than the average zine.

And anyway, pesky Americans haven’t been stealing our water. Catherine hasn’t been sneaking any more out of the house than usual …

The price of democracy in the UK: $50.42

$50.42 is what it cost me to UPS my UK ballot paper back to North Lanarkshire Council with any hope of it getting there on time. It really didn’t help that I only got my papers on Monday. Canada Post and/or Purolator were too slow or evil to get it there in time.

Once the election is done, I’ll show you what a real ballot paper looks like.

let’s get confused

Clay County Absentee Ballot 2004
No wonder folks in the USA get confused with ballot papers — there are just too many choices.

UK ballot papers are super-simple: list of candidates down the left, list of checkboxes down the right. More than one issue? More than one ballot paper. It’s not hard.

Say no to Bonsai tomorrow, okay?

Please don’t vote for Stephen “Bonsai” Harper tomorrow. I don’t think we need a very small version of a Bush for PM.

Mind you, I could still be all riled up about seeing Fahrenheit 9/11 last night. Or as it’s called in Canada, Celsius -1715/99, since we’re metric.