Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tim Harper gets somewhat closer to the mark than most pundits in recognizing that any talk an NDP/Lib merger is neither timely nor particularly well-placed. But the "one more time" message is a little bit off: again, we've still run precisely zero election campaigns in which the NDP was treated as anything but a novelty party at the outset, which means that we should see 2015 as the start of a new opportunity rather than a continuation of previous trends. And both Barbara Yaffe and Lawrence Martin point out some of the reasons for optimism about the NDP's chances.

- Meanwhile, Andrew Coyne and Dan Gardner have both commented on the Libs' dire straits. And it looks like Thomas Mulcair's election as NDP leader has effectively forced the Libs' hand in deciding which path to pursue in 2015 and beyond - as any hope of re-emerging as a default government based solely on habitual support and conventional wisdom looks to be fading by the day.

- There have been plenty of new Robocon developments, with the sworn evidence of one of the Cons' own callers serving as a rather compelling indication of deliberate efforts to mislead voters. Meanwhile, CBC conclusively refuted the Cons' claim that their deceptive calls were somehow related to changes in polling stations; Alison pointed out another series of obfuscations by the Cons and their service providers; and pogge rightly questioned the Cons' spin about their CIMS database.

- I'm pretty sure this just proves that the B.C. NDP made a huge mistake in electing a progressive leader like Adrian Dix - as with a Lib-lite, it would undoubtedly have won both by-election seats several times over.

- Finally, Charles Smith and David McGrane make the case for truly urban ridings in Regina and Saskatoon:
On top of identifying with different communities, residents of Saskatoon and Regina have different interests than fellow constituents in neighbouring towns and rural areas.

The residents of the two large cities are concerned with municipal infrastructure (such as bridges), settling new immigrants, urban sprawl, public transit, homelessness and accommodating a growing off-reserve urban aboriginal population. Rural residents are concerned with agricultural issues, access to information technology, the maintenance of highways, recruiting doctors and building relationships with on-reserve aboriginals.

It is unfair to ask a single MP to represent the interests and identities of such varied constituents. In fact, it is bad for democracy.
The commission should create two ridings each exclusively within the city limits of Regina and of Saskatoon. Depending on how the rest of the map is redrawn, the size of remaining ridings neither would be unmanageable nor fall outside the established norm for rural ridings in Canada.

Instead of having MPs whose attention is split between their urban and rural constituents, rural residents would have more MPs exclusively devoted to their concerns than at present. In turn, urban residents would also have MPs who are more focused on their interests and concerns.

In short, a new electoral map will be a win for the city and the country, and improve democratic representation in Saskatchewan.

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