Saturday, November 2, 2019

Further Adventures of Lucky

Lucky adopted us on Oct 15th and since then has filled out until he is no longer the starving little waif he was then. We gave him an unused cat house to live in and some real toys to play with. He has almost outgrown the little house.
I still fit
Filling my little tummy
 His favourite toys are two empty yogurt bottles which he has chewed the labels off. He likes his squeaky ball, rubber donut, and rope too
Aren't I cute, Mama?

Gathered and dumped toys
 Tanya tidied his toys into a plastic tub. He promptly dumped the tub and then looked up at her as if to say "Aren't I cute?".

The weather is now freezing at night so Tanya found him a doggy coat which was too big and he lost it in the yard someplace. I have not found it yet.

He spent some time in with the older dogs which both he and Kashtanka enjoyed. Volk is too old to play and Kashtanka is not. He will be our replacement for Volk in a few years. We will still have to warn the meter readers to be careful not to bite the dogs.

Our cats have reason to be afraid of dogs but Bonya is not afraid of Lucky and Vova is getting used to him. Only Tigritsa will have nothing to do with him and runs.  She comes in the back door or the upstairs balcony.

Lucky loves to come into the house to play and eat the cats' food but then he doesn't mind going outside again. I am sure he is housebroken as he has never had an accident on our front landing like a little puppy would. I slept in this morning until Tanya woke me up by throwing Lucky on the bed. He was very happy to see me and I got my face washed for free.
Free morning face wash
Quite comfortable on our bed


Friday, October 25, 2019

Canada’s 2019 Election and Proportional Representation

Election Results (source National Post)

Canada held its 43rd Federal election on October 21st, 2019. The results are a Liberal minority government with the New Democrats in a position of power. The Liberals were shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan but did well east of Manitoba

For the second time in Canadian history, a government will be formed that does not have the highest popular vote. The Liberals have 33.1% to the Conservatives 34.4%. 

In 2015 Justin Trudeau campaigned on changing the electoral system to some form of proportional representation (PR) rather than first past the post or FPP. PR is back in the limelight again, as the actual seats won by the parties have little relationship to their share of the popular vote.

I have strongly opposed PR because of my experience with Ukraine’s electoral system and wonderful examples like Italy. However, a Facebook friend, Daren Schemmer, of Simon Fraser University (SFU)[1] who has been patient with me for four years, suggested I check out the system used by Ireland and New Zealand. I did and now I’m a believer.[2]

I examined seats won and seats that would have been won on Canadian wide PR or on Province Wide PR. Twelve seats are required to be a recognized political party in Canada, so I arbitrarily did not count parties with less than 3.5% of the vote*. To give the territories (YT, NT, NU) some choice, I also lumped the three together for a final scenario**.

Party Representation by Various Electoral Systems
% Votes
Actual
Country*
Provincial*
Provincial**
Liberal
33.1%
157
115
116
115
Conservative
34.4%
121
119
118
119
New Democratic
15.9%
24
55
56
56
Bloc Quebecois
7.7%
32
27
26
26
Green
6.5%
3
23
22
22
People's Party
1.7%
Independent/other
0.4%
1
Other
99.7%
338
338
338
338

Technically, the Conservatives, under provincial proportional representation could have formed a minority government, IF any of the other parties would agree to any of their legislation. I cannot imagine a Conservative budget that would not lose a vote of non-confidence.

Alberta has another legitimate grip about the number of seats relative to population. Both Alberta and BC are underrepresented in the House of Commons based on population. So is Ontario. The rules around composition of the House of Commons are quite complex and involve a great deal of horse-trading, however they have been changed frequently and should be so again, even for FPP.

Provincial Representation in the House of Commons
Name
2019 Population
2019
Constituencies
Pop’n per Constituency
Par with Quebec
Ontario
14,446,515
121
119,393
134
Quebec
8,433,301
78
108,119
78
British Columbia
5,020,302
42
119,531
46
Alberta
4,345,737
34
127,816
40
Manitoba
1,360,396
14
97,171
13
Saskatchewan
1,168,423
14
83,459
11
Nova Scotia
965,382
10
96,538
9
New Brunswick
772,094
11
70,190
7
Newfoundland
523,790
7
74,827
5
Prince Edward Is.
154,748
4
38,687
1
Northwest Territory
44,598
1
44,598
1
Yukon
40,369
1
40,369
1
Nunavut
38,787
1
38,787
1
338
350

Provincial PR allows for regional parties such as the BQ but does not allow for non-affiliated or independents. Jody Wilson-Raybould would not have a seat under such a scenario. Fringe parties such as the PPC, are kept to a minimum, though no one knows how the votes would go under a proportional system.

However, a system like Ireland with three seats to a constituency does allow independents. That would look after the three territories. It provides a certain amount of leeway for everyone’s choice to be recognized and allows for some feeling of local representation as well. Apparently, five seats per constituency prevent any form of Gerrymandering.

Voting is done by Single Transferable Vote, where candidates are ranked by choice of the voter. Where this is done in a single constituency it is known as the Instant Run-off Vote. Australia uses this system. Figuring out how to count STV ballots appears extremely complicated. If there is no simple way that can be explained in less than a minute, it is a non-starter in my books and maybe why it didn’t go over in BC.

Whether the Liberals can be forced to live up to their 2015 promise now that they have to depend on parties that favour it to stay in power remains to be seen.


[1] Good thing Simon Fraser’s middle name wasn’t Thomas or the university would be known as STFU.
[2] You now have an earworm, you say? You’re welcome.