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Oct 2, 2018, Tue
Civic Duty      Canada politics, US Politics  
Oct 2, 2018
  Canada politics, US Politics  
Nov 23, 2018, Fri
Viva la Revolucion Mexicana      Mexico, SMA, Canada politics  
Nov 23, 2018
  Mexico, SMA, Canada politics  
Oct 1, 2019, Tue
All Candidates Meeting      XF 50/2, Canada politics  
Oct 1, 2019
  XF 50/2, Canada politics  
 
 
 

Civic Duty

 
October 2, 2018 Oct 2, 2018   Canada politics, US Politics
 
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
California ballot, back and front      
 
California ballot, back and front      
 
California ballot, back and front      
 

The rainforesty weather has returned to this edge of the island and I'm happy for the trees, some of whom look pretty stressed post summer. For me it's time to cut back the dying vegetables, to swap the summer tires for winters, and to perform my civic duty of voting.

I've two ballots before me. The California 60-days-to-get-it-back-to-Santa Cruz one and the BC should-we-change-the-government (a.k.a. proportional representation) one.

I'm tackling the simpler first, which surprisingly is California, surprising as it's its usual long length, 21 races and 14 measures, crammed onto two pages for which we can credit a very tiny font.

The ballot may look intimidating but I've a well-honed divide and conquer strategy, something I've perhaps discussed in a prior post. First, the partisan races. I look for the 'D' and Bob's your uncle I'm finished with these. (While I've still got this idea in my head that voting a straight ticket is intellectually lazy, I just can't vote for an R any more.) Oops, one has two D's; I think someone needs to be thinking about what she'll do in retirement. (Yeah, she'll get re-elected, but I can dream.)

Next, the non-partisan races. These I typically skip, though I may vote for a fellow who wrote me a very promising email yesterday.

And then, finally, the infamous California measures. Non-Californians may not get this: you can't walk into the polling booth on election day and plan on reading the measures and making a decision. You have to prepare your answers ahead of time, which the first time feels like cheating, like you wrote the test answers on the inside of your wrist in ink, but it's not anything like that, it's what you are expected to do. I mean, you'd be hard pressed to work your way through the ballot and accompanying voter's guide, intelligently learning about and voting on all these measures in real time in the voting booth. First, the font is tiny, as mentioned earlier, but more importantly you can't summarize a billion-dollar question, and most of them are billion-dollar questions, in one short sentence. Unless you are Proust. No, for this you need to read the voter guides.

Time passes ...

Whew, I've completed my first pass, I've studied the voter guides' pros and cons, I've sort of looked at the numbers (million, billion, it's so much I can't imagine), I've considered who is for and who is against (Howard Jarvis bad; Sierra Club good), and I've even researched a bit of the ad spending. My ballot's covered in pink marker and later I'll print and mark a fresh one, prep the envelope, and get it to Canada Post to begin the journey south.

As to BC, I think I'll leave this ballot for another day but I'll share its two questions: the first question asks if we should keep the current first past the post voting system or move to a system of proportional representation. The second question asks voters to rank three proportional systems: dual-member proportional, mixed-member proportional, and rural-urban proportional. Hmm. I've some studying and thinking and discussing-with-friends to do.

 
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1122
 
 

Viva la Revolucion Mexicana

 
November 23, 2018 Nov 23, 2018   Mexico, SMA, Canada politics
 
 
Sml    Med    Big
 
Revolution Day parade      
We caught some of San Miguel's Revolution Day parade on the morning just before we caught a ride to the airport. Here is one of the many groups marching in the parade that wound through the streets of the city.
 
Revolution Day parade      
We caught some of San Miguel's Revolution Day parade on the morning just before we caught a ride to the airport. Here is one of the many groups marching in the parade that wound through the streets of the city.
 
Revolution Day parade      
We caught some of San Miguel's Revolution Day parade on the morning just before we caught a ride to the airport. Here is one of the many groups marching in the parade that wound through the streets of the city.
 
Acrobatic      
What we saw of the parade was largely students demonstrating their athletic and acrobatic skills. They'd been at it all morning. They'd move a bit, stop, perform a routine, then move a bit more. Repeat. I bet they were getting tired.
 
Acrobatic      
What we saw of the parade was largely students demonstrating their athletic and acrobatic skills. They'd been at it all morning. They'd move a bit, stop, perform a routine, then move a bit more. Repeat. I bet they were getting tired.
 
Acrobatic      
What we saw of the parade was largely students demonstrating their athletic and acrobatic skills. They'd been at it all morning. They'd move a bit, stop, perform a routine, then move a bit more. Repeat. I bet they were getting tired.
 
Acrobatic students, Revolution Day parade      
 
Acrobatic students, Revolution Day parade      
 
Acrobatic students, Revolution Day parade      
 
Traditional clothing, Revolution Day parade      
 
Traditional clothing, Revolution Day parade      
 
Traditional clothing, Revolution Day parade      
 

Speaking of revolutions, well that's a bit of hyperbole, but there is a big government change being considered right now, as we speak, in BC. And by this I mean the referendum on proportional representation. The referendum asks should we continue to elect MLAs1 using first-past-the-post (FPTP) or change to one of three proportional systems? I say sure. The only challenge to me is ranking the three options.

  • Option 1: Mixed member proportional (MMP) where each voter is represented by two MLAs. One is selected by FPTP, the second is based on party popularity at the whole province level.

  • Option 2: Rural urban proportional (RUP) combines MMP in rural areas and single transferable vote in urban areas.

  • Option 3: Dual member proportional (DMP) where most electoral districts are combined with a neighbouring district and represented by two MLAs. The largest rural districts will continue with one MLA elected by FPTP.

I confess I wonder whether I'm capable of an educated opinion on the proportional systems, perhaps the ballot should have stopped at the first question? But I'm going to come up with a ranking and along the way I'll expand my mind a bit as I study the proposals, and then I'll drive it over to the elections office. Having Canada Post on strike is awkward in the midst of a vote-by-mail election.

I'm listening to Balvin and William's Mi Gente which I also heard at the Revolution Day parade in San Miguel.

1Members of the Legislative Assembly

 
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1221
 
 

All Candidates Meeting

 
October 1, 2019 Oct 1, 2019   XF 50/2, Canada politics
 
 

My neighborhood association, of which I'm a board member, sponsored a meet-the-candidates event last Sunday, the 29th. The election is Oct 21.

The room was packed with residents and even a bit of media. The candidates represented (from left to right) the Green, NDP, federal Liberal, Conservative, and People's Party. Unfortunately the Communist called in sick.

Independent (on right)
An independent attended too; there are several on the ballot. He's one I couldn't place on the left-right scale, better the sane-crazy scale. He came in packing a grievance of some sort and immediately hijacked the meeting. Soon the RCMP were called. The candidate then struck the officer who calmed him down and after awhile let him return, quite chastened, to the meeting. He ultimately did participate, which is to say when he opened his mouth words came out, but I never could figure what he was talking about.

Each candidate was invited to respond to three questions voted on by residents:

  1. The Climate Crisis is a real issue globally and locally as extreme weather events become the norm. What tools and strategies would you advocate using to solve the crisis?
  2. Federal infrastructure dollars for programs like high-speed internet access and clean water are critical for our region. Over $45 million in federal and provincial tax dollars was allocated between 2016 and early 2018 to create high speed access for our region and the coast of BC. To date no progress has been shared with this community, nor is there a clear confirmation that the program will do anything beyond delivering potential access. Without a provider agreeing to connect up end users, local residents will still be without access. How would you work to ensure that this program proceeds in a timely way with real results?
  3. Chinook fishing restrictions and closures were imposed this year to protect fish stocks and local orca populations. What regional and national solutions would you work towards to address this issue?

Interesting that two out of three questions were about the environment.

A few takeaways: the Liberal commented that you couldn't drive an electric to Port Renfrew, which must have been news to all the Kona/Leaf/Tesla/Bolt drivers out that way. The Conservative seemed to be reading an unfamiliar script as he looked down at his notes. The Peoples Party was preoccupied with dispelling the idea that they are Trump-like xenophobes. The NDP incumbent was a polished politician which was to be expected. And the Green tied the NDP for polish.

Bumpy start notwithstanding, we all got a chance to see and listen to and even talk with the candidates.

 
 
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Randall Pewarchuk, Conservative Party      
 
Randall Pewarchuk, Conservative Party      
 
Randall Pewarchuk, Conservative Party      
 
Jamie Hammond, Liberal Party      
 
Jamie Hammond, Liberal Party      
 
Jamie Hammond, Liberal Party      
 
Randall Garrison, NDP      
 
Randall Garrison, NDP      
 
Randall Garrison, NDP      
 
David Merner, Green      
 
David Merner, Green      
 
David Merner, Green      
 
Jeremy Gustafson, PPC      
 
Jeremy Gustafson, PPC      
 
Jeremy Gustafson, PPC      
 
https://jamesgaston.ca/1614