Monthly Archives: December 2018

Wynne wins majority: does Ontario need electoral reform? – Toronto

TORONTO – Kathleen Wynne is still the premier of Ontario.

While the conservatives have 27 seats and the NDP 21, the Greens, the party of choice for 233,262 people, picked up zero.

Provincial and federal elections in Canada use the “first-past-the-post” system to elect politicians. That means whoever has the plurality of votes wins an entire riding. While at first glance, that makes sense, it also leaves thousands of voters effectively disenfranchised: If the party you voted for doesn’t win your riding, your vote becomes effectively useless.

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Related

  • Four more years: Ontario awakes to a Wynne-led Liberal majority

    Ontario Election in 6 minutes

  • Ontario’s rising voter turnout bucks 24-year trend

  • Fear of Hudak, disillusionment with Horwath key to Wynne’s win

  • Tim Hudak steps down as Progressive Conservative leader

Is it time to think about doing things differently?

“Most European countries, most western democracies, use some form of proportional representation,” says Dave Meslin, a volunteer with the advocacy group Unlock Democracy.

Meslin and his allies have fought for years to get proportional representation – the idea that parties should get seats in proportion to their share of the popular vote, more or less – on the agenda and on referendum ballots. But after setbacks in both B.C. and Ontario years ago, it wasn’t looking good.

READ MORE: Ontario’s voter turnout bucks 24-year trend

The city of Toronto’s endorsement of a ranked ballot system – where you rank your choices, and if your first choice doesn’t win a majority your vote goes to your second choice – and the Liberal government’s endorsement of Toronto’s preference breathed new life into the idea. So did an election many found uninspiring or marred by cynical political tactics.

Ontario Election in 6 minutes

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Ontario Election in 6 minutes

08:27

Ontario Election: Tim Hudak concedes election

04:05

Ontario Election: Andrea Horwath concedes

00:57

Ontario Election: Tim Hudak announces his resignation

01:40

Ontario Election: Projected Liberal majority government

01:32

Ontario Election: Sea of red in legislature

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Ontario Election: How did Wynne win?

02:41

Ontario Election: A crushing victory for Liberals

02:31

Ontario Election: Doug Holyday loses seat in Etobicoke-Lakeshore

02:40

Ontario Election: Liberals projected to form next government

03:13

Ontario Election: What does the future hold for Tim Hudak?

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Ontario Election: Where did the Tories go wrong?

02:23

Ontario Election: Andrea Horwath re-elected in Hamilton Centre

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Ontario Election: The mood turns gloomy at PC headquarters




Meslin said the first-past-the-post system has some inherent flaws which lead to negative campaigning and low voter turnout – two things voters have complained about in recent elections. While Ontario’s voter turnout ticked up in this election, it’s still low compared to where it was two decades ago.

Worst of all, Meslin said, the system can create majority governments that don’t in fact have the support of the majority of voters.

“The last federal election was a great example when 62 per cent of Canadians didn’t vote Conservative and the Conservatives won a majority,” he said.

“It’s kind of like, why did we just bother having an election? What was the point of that whole process?”

The two most popular alternatives are ranked ballots and mixed member proportional. The first allows voters to pick their first choice, their second choice and their third choice.

Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath have supported ranked ballots in municipalities (Horwath has only lent her support to Toronto) while Tim Hudak has rejected the idea.

ELECTION RESULTS: Complete Ontario riding-by-riding election results

But as Meslin points out, all three of them came to their positions as leaders of their parties through ranked ballots.

“Every party uses runoff elections to choose their own leaders and to choose their own candidates in every single of the 107 ridings, you have to win through run off,” he said.

There’s also mixed member proportional representation where voters make two choices: their local representative and their preferred party. This system gives more representation to smaller parties like the Green Party, which picked up 4.8% of the vote but zero seats.

Do politicians want electoral reform, though? Most probably don’t: It doesn’t help established parties much.

“The government doesn’t want electoral reform; none of the parties do,” said University of Toronto politics professor Nelson Wiseman.

“If you have proportional representatives you’ll never get a majority.”

Some have criticized proportional representation for fostering fractured legislatures or helping extremist parties with no broad support have more of an impact. But its proponents argue it’s more democratic and helps people feel more engaged in the electoral process because they feel their voices are being heard.

Kathleen Wynne won a majority government Thursday with 38.7  per cent of the popular vote. The last time there was a government in Ontario elected with a majority of the popular vote was in 1929.

But Ontario voters have had the choice: There was a referendum on electoral reform in 2007. Sixty-two per cent of people voted no, while 36 per cent said yes.

“I think people didn’t really understand it,” Meslin said. “The government took a position that the government and Elections Ontario shouldn’t really fund an educational campaign about the referendum.”

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Chuck Porter quits N.S. PC caucus over differences with Jamie Baillie – Halifax

HALIFAX – Hants West MLA Chuck Porter has left the caucus of Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative party to sit as an independent, according to a statement released Friday.

In the statement, Porter said he and PC Party leader Jamie Baillie do not see eye-to-eye regarding how he wants to serve his constituents.

Porter said it was not an easy decision, but “the move is in the best interest of all those I have the honour of representing.”

Baillie said in a statement released after Porter’s that MLAs in his caucus “are expected to do the duties constituents elected them to do”.

He said he spoke with Porter on Thursday, accusing him of not performing his duties, after the member missed caucus meetings and five public accounts meetings since the October election.

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“Voters expect MLAs to do the job they were elected to do,” Baillie continued in the release. “For me, this is a difficult day, but accountability must mean something if people are ever going to have faith in our system again.”

Porter was first elected to the Nova Scotia Legislature in 2006, and again in 2009.

He was the party’s health critic and had previously served as Chair of its caucus.

“I know and understand there will be some who will not be happy with this decision,” Porter said in his statement. “But I want to assure them that I respect their opinion and will continue to work ahrd on their behalf as I have for the past eight years.”

Porter’s responsibilities within the party have not yet been assigned to someone else.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Friday, June 13, 2014: Global Edmonton Morning News

Porkapalooza attracts “BBQ Crawl” tv show

Danielle Dimovski  is the host of the hit tv show BBQ Crawl. She travels to all corners of North America in search of some of the best BBQ. Edmonton’s  Porkapalooza has drawn her to our city.

AMA Travel: Going Solo

The idea of travelling on your own can be daunting for some people. Roland Vanmeurs from the AMA Travel drops by to ease fears and talk about some travel packages perfect for those going solo.

Trending Now

Online Producer Slav Kornik on what’s trending today: Stony Plain school cup song, online privacy concerns and a viral video of a shark encounter.

Respecting our elders

As members of our community age, it’s vitally important that that our younger generations provide them with the respect and support they deserve. Fortunately, we have events like “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day“. Jodie Mandick with the Crisis Support Centre and Pat Power from the City of Edmonton explain.

Edmonton’s Salute to Excellence awards

Several Edmontonians who have done amazing things to better our community will soon be recognized at the Salute to Excellence Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Co-chair Ann Marie Reinson and this year’s Arts & Culture Hall of Fame Inductee drop by to talk about the honour.

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Stewards of the grasslands and Saskatchewan’s film industry

All spring, we’ve been talking about native prairie grasslands and the push for their conservation. It’s a pleasure to have been able to join Ponteix School’s grade 10 science class this week on a field trip for the Adopt a Rancher pilot program as they learned about the science behind those conservation efforts.

Native prairie grasslands are more than 12,000 years old, but in only the last several hundred years, they’ve become greatly reduced due to human settlement and the extinction of the buffalo. Today the Prairie Conservation Action Plan aims to preserve what’s left of Saskatchewan’s grasslands.

Meanwhile, on this week’s episode, the makers of Wolf Cop hope for a revival of Saskatchewan’s film industry with its long-awaited premiere and the announcement it will soon start production on a sequel. It started with one man and a script and with the help of a national contest – and a million dollar budget, a full-length movie about a cop turned werewolf is now a household name in the province.

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Over the past three seasons on Focus Saskatchewan, we’ve told these underdog – and under-wolf stories. We’ve won three national awards. It’s now time to extend a big thank you to all the contributions from Global Regina and Global Saskatoon to make this show possible.

We hope you continue watching through the summer for our Encore episodes:

June 21/22 – “Home Field”

June 28/29 – “Skating on Thin Ice”

July 5/6 – “Second Act”

July 12/13 – “100th Episode”

July 19/20 – “Saskatchewan Sound”

July 26/27 – “Women in the Legislature”

August 2/3 – “Lake Centre”

August 9/10 – “Shop Local”

August 16/17 – “Unique Saskatchewan Sports, including archery and disc golf”

August 23/24 – “The Farm in Focus”

August 30/31 – “Adopt-A-Rancher”

Have a good summer! We’ll see you next season!

Raquel and Derek

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Prince Albert woman’s legs amputated after being beaten, burned – Saskatoon

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – The aunt of a homeless woman who was seriously assaulted and burned in an attack outside a community centre in northern Saskatchewan says her niece has been upgraded to stable condition.

Police got a call about an assault and found a badly injured Marlene Darlene Bird on June 1 outside the centre in downtown Prince Albert.

Bird, who is 47, was first taken to hospital in Prince Albert, then transferred to Saskatoon and then to Edmonton’s University of Alberta Hospital.

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Lorna Thiessen said that Bird was to have her second leg amputated on Thursday because it was “burned to the bone.”

Thiessen said Bird is in a critical burn unit and has extensive burns all over her body and has had several skin grafts.

Police continue to investigate and have asked anyone with video surveillance footage of the area where Bird was found to hand it over to them.

Bird is conscious and Thiessen said she has been speaking, but is heavily sedated most of the time.

“When she comes out, she’s going to need living accommodations, she’s going to need support for probably prosthetics, and probably maybe a scooter, or things in that line.”

She said Bird will also need a place to live and a support system around her.

While Bird recovers in Edmonton with a small group of family at her bedside, another group of supporters is growing in Prince Albert, spurred in part by the Prince Albert YWCA.

Prince Albert YWCA executive director Donna Brooks said it’s appalling that Bird’s story hasn’t received attention outside of Prince Albert.

“If this attack would have happened to a middle class woman in a suburban Toronto neighbourhood, I guarantee you it would have been on the national news – I guarantee you that,” she said.

“But, because it happened in Prince Albert, it happened to an aboriginal woman who is a part of the homeless community, because of all those factors I don’t think it received the media attention it should.”

YWCA staff is collecting letters of support and financial donations for Bird and her family, and has mailed the first batch to her in Edmonton.

“It’s very important to show her that she matters, that what has happened to her has saddened a lot of people in our community and that she is important and there are a lot of people who care about her,” Brooks said.

The Edmonton YWCA has also stepped up by helping Bird’s family during their stay in the Alberta city.

On June 6, more than 100 people marched through downtown Prince Albert in Bird’s honour and against violence. The march culminated in a prayer where Bird was found.

©2014The Canadian Press

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