Way back in this blog's salad days (when it was green in judgement and cold in blood
), I took a 'what type of person are you
' test which concluded that I was a 'mandarin' and that '[I] think many of the world's problems could be solved if people were more informed and more rational. [I] have no tolerance for sloppy or lazy thinking. It frustrates [me] when people who are ignorant or dishonest rise to positions of power.
Which brings me to two trivial yet irksome recent political events. The first is the unpleasantness in which our federal leaders all managed to combine pandering to the anit-muslim bigotry of Quebecers (there are 3 byelections coming up in Quebec on Monday) with a profoundly anti-democratic and undignified attack on a public servant who, to his great credit, held steadfast to both the law and common sense.
I am referring of course, to this story
in which politicians expressed their outrage that Elections Canada would follow the law and allow people to vote without showing their face. The Globe and Mail held an online poll asking if voters not showing their face at the electoral station should be allowed to vote and those who responded were overwhelmingly opposed to the idea. Alas, they did not follow up with a poll the next day asking if Canadian soldiers serving overseas should be barred from voting (since they would have to vote by mail and not be showing their faces at any polling station).
Anyway, in the comments on the story at the Globe and Mail, a number of people argued that Elections Canada was in the wrong because even if the law said one thing it was clear (from the online poll) that popular sentiment said something else and popular sentiment should take precedence over the law.
OK, you might think, that's just the usual folks who have internet connections at their asylum and spend their days posting insane opinions in the globe comment sections. But what amazed me was to wake up the next day, expecting to hear politicians sheepishly retracting their outrage after having it pointed out to them that Elections Canada was just following the law, only to hear our elected MP's making effectively the same argument as the crazy Globe commenters, arguing that what they express now in a committee or what was mentioned in the debate on the law should take precedence over the law as it was written and passed.
All this 'controversy' over a handful of veiled women who have repeatedly indicated that they have no issue with removing their veil to vote and did not raise the issue in the first place. A shameful episode for all involved, with the exception of Elections Canada head Marc Mayrand who deserves great credit for standing his ground.
The second trivial point of contention is this article
in the Globe on how B.C. premier Gordon Campbell has decided that urban voters deserve less representation than rural voters after all. B.C.'s electoral boundaries committee had recommended 5 new seats for urban areas and 3 fewer for rural areas, in order to restore the principle of all votes counting equally in the province (currently rural voters are significantly overrepresented). But now Campbell has changed the rules so
that while there will still be the 5 new urban seats
that there will be 8 new urban seats, but the commission can't take away any seats so that the rural areas will still be overrepresented.
This is obviously a political decision as there were signs of outrage from the rural parts of the province that they would be forced to have the same level of representation as the people in the rest of the province.
Of course, Carole James, the leader of the opposition NDP, somehow manages to come out of this making Campbell seem like the rational actor.
First, here is what she says about the decision to not remove any rural seats,
"NDP Leader Carole James said it's about time the premier started paying attention to rural communities and the electoral boundaries process.
“We've been involved in the boundaries commission hearings since the beginning as New Democrats,” Ms. James said.
“Our MLAs have been out carrying the message that we shouldn't be losing rural representation. The premier and the MLAs in the Liberal party were nowhere to be found, so about time that they started paying attention.”"
Now, here is her reaction to Campbell's decision to still go ahead and add the 5 seats in the urban areas,
"She [James] said she's concerned about “how far the premier has gone in saying there'll be legislation to propose increasing the number of MLAs to 87.”
Ms. James said she hasn't heard the public calling out for more politicians."
One minute the NDP is out on the barricades helping out the rural folks who are desperate to have more representation.
The next she is dismissive of adding seats to urban areas because, "she hasn't heard the public calling out for more politicians"
It's enough to drive an old mandarin around the bend...