De-Bunking the No-STV website

I just happened to go over to the No-STV website and there is nothing that bugs me more than FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. And this website has it in spades.

I’ll point out 3:

#1… the “Hockey Analogy”: No-STV plots out a hypothetical 7 game Stanley Cup Final with Vancouver vs. Toronto:

With four wins by Vancouver compared to three wins by Toronto, Vancouver has won the Stanley Cup. But our adamant STV advocates would argue the point vigorously. “Not fair” they would shout! “Toronto had more goals! The Maple Leafs had twenty and the Canucks only fourteen!” They would be correct in counting goals but fundamentally wrong in interpreting what they mean. Everybody understands that winning the Stanley Cup does not involve counting goals but counting wins!

Here is where we are in fundamental disagreement.

We’re talking about democracy and a persons right to cast a vote. The right of Universal Suffrage is one of the pillars of freedom in our society. So I disagree completely with their conclusion. It *IS* about counting the goals, it *is* about counting the votes. It is my vote, your vote, our votes, that are supposed to determine the composition of our legislature and the direction of our government. In my opinion the electoral system must reflect the wishes of the voters as closely as possible. This is not a game.

#2: on “Vote Count Confusion” a.k.a. Your Neighbour might vote against you!

No-STV says:

Your second preference could get counted as 10% of a vote while your neighboour’s second preference could get counted as a full vote, as some value in between, or not at all. With BC-STV you cannot control what fraction of your vote is given to each of your preferences because how your vote is counted is determined by how other people vote.

What’s with the fear? How my neighbour votes is none of my business. It is their right to vote however they want. The only way my neighbours votes effects my vote in any way is if my neighbour doesn’t vote at all. The bar that MLAs will need to attain is determined by the total number of votes cast.

Are the NO-STV folks objecting to my neighbour having an opinion at all because if more of their “neighbours” vote, then it becomes more difficult for a candidate to be elected? Is that a bad thing? What are they trying to control?

If my neighbour wants to put their #1 choice down as some Communist who gets eliminated in the 1st round and her vote is then transferred at full value to her 2nd choice, then that is THEIR CHOICE. There is nothing unfair about it, because I could do precisely the same thing… the rules are the same for everyone, and if my neighbours vote eventually makes it to my own candidate that gets elected then it just might end up getting transferred to yet another preference right along side me!

You *can* control what fraction of your vote gets allocated to your 2nd preference, in a number of ways. One would be to put down only your #1 preference. That way, your vote will go to precisely the candidate you want and contribute as much as possible to that candidates chance. You wouldn’t need to worry about fractions, your vote would never be transferred to anyone else as it would be considered “exhausted”. With STV, you control where your vote goes and you have a real choice.

#3: The No-STV site then says:

Most people think our current system is fair since it elects the candidate who gets the most votes, but many don’t think it is fair for their neighbour’s second preference to count 10 times, or more, as much as theirs.

That is simply fear mongering. No voters ballot is worth any more than any others. One of the greatest strengths of STV is that a ballot is considered, until it elects someone or is exhausted.

That means you are potentially guaranteed to have your ballot elect someone if you rank every single candidate on the ballot. That guarantee is simply impossible with FPTP.

Think about that for a second. If BC-STV was implemented every vote you make in every election from now until the day you die could be guaranteed to elect an MLA.

Because there are multiple MLAs in each riding there must be a way to ensure that voters can affect the fortunes of more than one candidate. Otherwise there could be MLAs elected with extremely small vote counts. That’s why the system of transferring a fraction is used. It ensures that your ballot, that your choices, are taken into consideration as much as possible while remaining as fair as possible.

1st preference is still what will form the foundation of a candidates support, but it is the 2nd and 3rd choices of voters that will likely get those MLAs over the bar, and that means those MLAs must be accountable and appealing to as wide an audience as possible, women and men, rural and urban… etc etc.

Maybe Canada needs an ad campaign on American Idol?

Cuz how the hell else are we going to convince the bunch of high-powered yet bloody ignorant misinformed officials and public in the US that *EVERY SINGLE 9-11 ATTACKER ENTERED THE UNITED STATES DIRECTLY*.

And in fact the only “terrorist” ever known to have attempted to cross the Canada/US border was the dude who tried to smuggle a bomb in his car in Victoria and was apprehended by border guards upon entry in Port Angeles.

Apparently the White House wasn’t the only Bastion of Stupid in the US Administration. I wonder how Obama feels about cloning?

Peak Oil and Gas biting hard in Alberta – Have-Not soon.

While both the Liberals and Conservatives in Parliament talk up the potential of the Tar Sands to keep votes in Alberta… the reality on the ground is starting to really hurt the revenues of Canadas’ richest province.

As far back as August last year, at the apex of the oil price shock, there have been major warning signs that peak oil and gas production was starting to hurt Albertas revenue/royalty stream.

From the article last year:

Natural gas provides about $6 billion of the province’s $10 billion oil and gas resource revenue and accounts for most of the roughly $27 billion spent each year to explore for conventional hydrocarbons – which, incidentally, dwarfs high-profile oilsands spending.

In 2008, Canada’s natural gas output and drilling have both been in decline, while south of the border the natural gas drilling business is going flat out and gas output is up. Provincially, gas production is up markedly in British Columbia – but given Alberta’s 90 per cent weight in Canadian production, Wild Rose Country’s performance is pulling Canada’s national figures sharply lower.

This is the definition of Peak Oil my friends… pouring more and more money into exploration/wells just to offset the production lost due to a peaked resource… and because Natural Gas tends to decline much more sharply than Oil, the reliance on Gas royalties puts Alberta in an even worse position.

And now that oil prices are “low” at $50, oil companies don’t want to invest in a futile effort… here is yesterdays article:

Natural gas makes up two-thirds of all activity in the oilpatch and production has fallen almost 15 per cent over the past two years, taking the biggest contributor to the government’s revenue stream down with it. From a peak of about 14 billion cubic feet a day in 2001, Alberta’s gas production has steadily slid to a little more than 12 billion cubic feet at present.

So what? you might say… we have the Tar Sands. Well, without Natural Gas, you have no tar sands as it is required to melt or steam the oil out of the sand.

The implications of Peak Oil and Gas in Alberta?

  • Alberta will likely be a “have-not” province within 5 years, and stay that way indefinitely, much like the maritime provinces
  • Natural Gas prices in North America will rise sharply over the next few years as US production starts to fall and increased demand from a recovering economy and rejection of foreign oil takes hold.
  • A nuclear energy plant will be built somewhere near Fort Mac in order to replace the energy lost to declining Natural Gas.
  • LNG imports into North America will increase putting more upward momentum on Natural Gas prices.
  • NAFTA will be center stage once more, as the clause requiring Canada to export its fossil fuels to the US starts to worry citizens and politicians alike.

2nd 100yr Flood in 12 years hits Manitoba

For reasons unknown, the media and Manitoba government are choosing not to spin it this way…. but I see no way else to interpret it.

This CBC article has the quote.

The crest, expected to pass through the Winnipeg within the next couple of days, is forecast to be 6.78 metres. Only the flood of 1997, with a crest of 7.35 metres, was worse in the past 100 years.

If not for the floodway diverting water around the city, the 2009 crest would actually be 9.1 metres, officials said.

Now correct me if I’m wrong… but there was no Floodway in 1997. So if the estimated 2009 crest *without* that floodway is 9.1 metres vs. 7.35 in 1997… should this not then be considered the worst flood in 100 years?

1950, 1979, 1997, 2009

30 years, 20 years, 10 years… is the next 100 year flood coming in 5 years?

David Suzuki Shuns NDP on Carbon Tax

Yet more proof that under our current political leadership, people are choosing the least worst option, rather than the best option.

Yesterday the David Suzuki Foundation and two other groups, officially shunned the BC NDP due to their key platform promise to eliminate the Carbon Tax.

Traditionally the NDP has always been a supporter of environmental causes and the environmental groups have supported the NDP…. on this file though, Carole James and the NDP are clearly going for votes and going for what BC taxpayers are thinking is best for their wallets.

Personally, yes, I think the DSF is correct. Their numbers clearly show that the NDPs cap-and-trade program will not have the same effect in pricing carbon than the carbon tax does and so will not encourage businesses and consumers to reduce their carbon emissions as much as with a carbon tax.

Carbon Emissions and Fossil Fuel use is an economic and social addiction: No different from cigarettes. One of the key ways to stop it is to tax the hell out of it… it will work, we must accept that it needs to happen and move on.

All *I* can do is hold my nose and vote NDP. Not because all of their policies are perfect, but because, as a whole, they are far less destructive environmentally, socially, and economically, than the BC Liberals.