Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html en-gb 30 Sun 21 Dec 2014 20:52:02 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=99#comment287 Justin,Before we, Brigadoon like as MarcusAureliusII noted, disappear into the mist for another 100 years (well maybe only 30 days or so, depending), I'd like to thank you for giving us usually contented Canadians our moment of BBC blogospheric angst. Cheers,Canadian Pinko Fri 19 Dec 2008 04:08:26 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=99#comment286 286 chronophobe:My take, for what it is worth -Ignatieff has no baggage in Quebec therefore they have nothing against the man. Will they vote for him? Up until Harper Quebec barely had a Conservative Party. It is highly unlikely they will vote for him again, so they will return to whence they came. Some Bloc votes may go Liberal as they were "anyone but Dion" votes. Too much baggage.Quebecers like to back a winner and right now Duceppe is winning. Should Ignatieff be perceived as being good for Quebec, they will vote for him. Ergo - the perennial "Woo Quebec." But... one false step on his part and they will hold it against him and vote accordingly.Personally I think all Quebec Conservative MPs should cross the floor... talking about "self respecting Canadian federalist(s)". Oh! what a good idea - we should all put that on our Christmas/Hanukkah/etc. (should we have one) Wish List! Sat 13 Dec 2008 14:57:50 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=98#comment285 Re: 285 AngloQuebecerThe worst of it is, he did it only to save his own sorry ass. He should have no credibility at all with any self respecting Canadian federalist. Ignatieff, I think, will play very well in Ontario for this very reason. He is a thinking person's centrist. Harper, to the contrary, has forced himself far to the right with his recent rhetoric. I can't see him being an attractive choice for the many fiscally conservative federalists in Ontario. So the big question, to my mind, is how Iggy can best work Quebec. Does he go after disaffected Conservatives? Can he draw from Bloc voters? What's your take on this. Yours,Canadian Pinko Sat 13 Dec 2008 03:52:53 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=98#comment284 This is becoming eerily like Quebec politics. A government in power (put there by many who did not know what they were voting for) with an agenda totally opposed to my views. Then to live through all the twists and turns as they try to manipulate the system to their advantage. Countering their attacks is exhausting and very time consuming. The country doesn't know what it is in for if we are going down that road.I have no idea if Ignatieff is the man for the job but I do feel more confident now that he is there. Will this shut down of Parliament be enough time? Hopefully.I don't believe the Conservatives will pick up additional seats in Quebec anytime soon. I was surprised by the ones they did get. Nor do I know how Quebec will react to a lower percentage. Not well - is a given. When do these new seats come into existence?"To everything there is a season" (to "quote" Harper). I found Global Health Nexus on google with an interesting article called "Being Stephen Harper."I think most of Quebec is "smarting from the recent gratuitous slights." And have every right to be incensed he would play the National Unity card! Sat 13 Dec 2008 02:35:19 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=98#comment283 Got the numbers reversed earlier. It is Alberta + 7 to 35, and BC + 5 to 41.Enormous symbolism there, too: There will then be more seats in Alberta and BC than in Quebec.Harper has shot himself in the foot in Quebec twice in two months, so you wouldn't think a Conservative majority would come there. Is it probable that Ignatieff would do worse in Ontario than Dion? Doesn't seem like it. Arithmetically there aren't that many chances in the Maritimes and NFLD, because there aren't all that many seats up for grabs, or in the West because there are so few that they don't already have. Is there a silver lining here? Was that break to Jan 26 just what the Liberals needed? They don't seem on the ropes any more, but Stephen Harper still faces an opposition smarting from the recent gratuitous slights. Ah, hubris and nemesis. Fri 12 Dec 2008 19:26:03 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=97#comment282 282 Interestedforeigner:Altho I should not be surprised - I'm stunned!What will this mean? Should Ontario come to their senses and vote Liberal "all will be right with the world" otherwise.....I don"t know what BC gets out of a Conservative government. Are the Conservatives winning there due to a split NDP/Liberal vote? If so, they will have to vote strategically as we do here in Quebec.If you are in Ontario you had better start "pounding the pavement" in support of the Liberals! As I said previously, I suggested to BQ voters they vote Liberal to prevent a Harper majority. I outright asked a Toronto couple I know how they vote (if you can believe it - I was that desperate), and on hearing they vote NDP pushed my "do not split the vote" agenda!I do not want to see the "face" of this nation change. I live in Quebec for a reason. Fri 12 Dec 2008 13:31:35 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=97#comment281 Anglo, if you're still there:Just read an update in today's paper on redistribution. Apparently Ontario is owed a whopping 21 (for a total of 127 v Que. 75) additional seats at the next redistribution. BC is to get 7 (total of 35) more, and Alberta will get 5 (total of 41).I didn't realise that the lag had grown that large. Fri 12 Dec 2008 11:42:36 GMT+1 DaveH http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=97#comment280 As ever lots of facts mixed up with manure.The GG in Canada has probably done the monarchy a lot of damage in Canada - they were not supposed to get involved with politics in the modern age - and since she's the Queen's mouthpiece, i think she blew it.To the reader calling her black - well she is of Haitian descent - and oddly - married a Quebecer documentary maker and they both seemed to espouse Quebec seperation for many years (which everyone now seems to have forgotten since she was given the 'plum' job.)To the reader saying the Liberals are trying to gain power whilst being unelected - you can read all over the Cdn media that the present prime minister tried at least twice to do the same thing - so it's pretty partisan to say it's only bad now.To the reader who suggests (from the UK) that the QB (which should be the BQ by the way,) are causing trouble. They represent a good chunk of the Canadian vote, their leader is supremely able and full of bright ideas. They add to the Canadian diaspora, which is one of, if not the most multi cultured and diverse on the planet. Differences can bring great ideas, so don't knock it unless you've tried it...And finally, Justin Webb, always completely out of touch with North America - filling in space with the 'Obama' factor. The USA's history is greatly differing from that of Canada, slaves used to run up here for freedom, we did not have plantations. He's a good guy - but unproven - all this talk of revolution/salvation is almost as tasteless as the commemorative coins and other tat they sell on TV now. Let him do his job before the accolades roll. In Canada however, we're trying to fix the economic problems, which differ somewhat from the US and we have no equivalent Bush fatigue. i cannot see much of a comparison at all - as we know who we'll get. The leader of the Libs - and they're much the same, whichever one you get. they hold up their party policies - and they are not at all changed from 3 years ago. So why does this blog even exist? Everyone spreads manure...not truth. Here comes my train, I have to run...pity. Wed 10 Dec 2008 23:59:45 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=96#comment279 Anglo:Just don't know. He will become Liberal leader without anyone ever having voted.We are living in strange times. Wed 10 Dec 2008 16:12:25 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=96#comment278 278Interestedforeigner:Thanks for the lesson. I answered "I believe... 'yes' as I had it in my head Quebec was guaranteed 25% of the seats. Now where did I get that idea from? Not that 75 is 25% of 308......! But I knew you would set us straight.And 'yes' I remember the BNA Act. First thing that comes to mind - it is housed in Westminster! Should that ever come up on Jeopardy. And there was a "night of long knives" when Trudeau tried to bring it home. Not happy to see the resurgence of the PQ. But a majority is a majority and we will have to be satisfied with that. At least we can put it behind us for four years and concentrate on Federal politics. Ignatieff ? What do you think. Wed 10 Dec 2008 04:29:24 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=96#comment277 Anglo and Gary:Yes, I'm getting a real constitutional law workout on this string. Haven't had to remember this stuff in years."First-past-the-post" is short for the first man to the tape wins the race, and yes, it does mean that a bare plurality is enough."Single transferrable vote" in Australia is in essence a run-off system that allocates the votes of the unsuccessful candidates until one candidate has 50% + 1.I do not agree with term limits either. They simply make sure that competent people are driven out along with the rascals.I suspect that the desire for terms limits arises when there are problems with campaign financing and odd nominating procedures.As for seat distribution in Canada. Anglo, do you remember the British North America Act, retroactively re-named the Constitution Act of 1867 ?Seat re-distribution always follows the most recent decenial census. Therefore re-distribution is typically ten years out of date so that areas of the country that are increasing in population are usually slightly underrepresented. And then there are some special rules.No, Quebec is not over-represented, by definition.Under the BNA (now Constitution Act) the number of seats in Quebec is now and forever more 75. Dividing the population of Quebec by 75 yields the average population per seat. That is the yardstick for everybody else. We then take the populations of the other provinces and divide them by that number, which gives the number of seats to which each province in entitled.Except.(a) No province can ever have fewer seats in the House of Commons than in the senate. Thus PEI with a pop of 150,000 is entitled to 4 seats.(b) Everybody gets at least one seat. Hello Nunavut, NWT and Yukon.(c) We don't take seats away, because that really upsets folks. Therefore Newfoundland (rhymes with "understand", by the way) has 7 seats, Nova Scotia has 11, New Brunswick has 10. (i.e., Atlantic Canada = Maritimes + Newfoundland, has 32 seats for a poulation of about 2.3 m, whereas it should have 20 - 22, really, but don't say that or people will get angry.)Saskatchewan and Manitoba each have 14 seats, and have had for years and years, with populations hovering about the 1m mark.(d) We try not to make really big changes all at once. Therefore, although Ontario is probably entitled to 112 - 115 seats, or more, it only has 106. BC has 36 and Alberta has 28.Finally, in the 1980's (I might be mistaken about this, just going by memory here) there was a court case involving redistribution in Saskatchewan. The Surpeme Court of Canada held that it was impermissible to have any seat that had a popoulation more than 15 % from the mean population of seats in that province. This has had a very beneficial effect in subsequent redistribution, since this precedent is correctly assumed to pertain to all jurisdications.So the net effect is that Ontario, BC, and Alberta get short changed a bit because of the lag in the census data and the special rules.On Quebec, glad Charest squeaked home. Wish it were a larger margin, but you can see that already we have the "loose lips sink ships" effect. Some genies are better off left in their bottles. Wed 10 Dec 2008 03:10:51 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=95#comment276 276 Gary_A_Hill:I believe the short answer is "yes", but I'm sure Interestedforeigner" will be more than happy to enlighten you! Tue 09 Dec 2008 17:36:51 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=95#comment275 An interesting fact about the Canadian Parliament that I don't understand is that Quebec seems to be overrepresented. Is that correct? Ontario has about two-thirds greater population than Quebec, yet has only 40 percent more seats. BC has 55 percent the population of Quebec, but fewer than half the seats. Population figures are recent (2006). How often are districts (ridings) recalculated to adjust for population shifts? Is there a built-in bias favoring Quebec even when adjustments are made? Tue 09 Dec 2008 16:39:19 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=95#comment274 262 and seeing as you are the one who HIJACKed this conversation to the africa topic with a thinly veiled racist taunt, could you explain what the hell this has to do with canada, obama or anything?261 what you writings here say is that "they left from"we were not concerned with their travel arrangements ."I didn't 'sidetrack' the discussion on Canada, it was jokers like you who did"you said to me.Wrong AGAIN.Q to the canadians, rumour has it there are easy to get visa for certain trades, is that true?260I was busy Point you missed.You write like a racist.Your write deceitfully.And this is not a discussion about how much you hate africans that just happen not to be white.It is meant to be a discussion about Canada.And how the heck I can get out of the states to live there;) PS Both of you ,did you hear that in Rwanda there are 55% women in power running the country. Seems pretty progressive to me compared to most western "White" folk countries. Tue 09 Dec 2008 16:24:29 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=94#comment273 InterestedForeigner (#270), that was another informative and interesting post. Thank you.I don't understand this "first-past-the-post" term that parliamentarians like to use. Doesn't it just mean "plurality." Election to single member districts doesn't require that a plurality be sufficient. In some jurisdictions a majority is required, which is sometimes arrived at by a runoff between the two leading candidates.Denmark is an interesting case where PR works relatively well. Their system goes to such great effort to ensure that everybody is represented fairly that they need a mathematician to figure out the election result. Apparently, the Danes are all happy with it, but then they are the happiest people on earth, so of course they are! Even in Denmark, however, they have had their periods of frequently changing governments. Not, certainly, to the extent of the Italians. Nobody over here (US) notices when the government of Denmark changes, because there are no consequences. The Havarti cheese still arrives in the supermarkets.I think that Canada has the same problem whether seats in parliament are awarded by district or proportionally to parties, because the concentration of BQ voters gives them a significant number of seats either way.I agree that the US system is somewhat ossified. It is difficult to "throw the rascals out." That is why term limits have grown in popularity. (These don't apply to Congress, however.) I'm not in favor of term limits; I think if someone deserves another term, we should be happy to have them stay on. What's wrong with experience? Tue 09 Dec 2008 16:19:10 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=94#comment272 272 Simon ""The abyssmal State" No I didn't. SOuth Africa was ruled byone of the worst regimes of the the lates twentieth century, often supported by the US and Israel.The black majority have shown astonishing restraint in the rlight of decades of systematic injustice and brutality. They are a remarkable people.Maybe you missed that?"He missed it all Tue 09 Dec 2008 16:08:24 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=94#comment271 262. At 10:24pm on 08 Dec 2008, TrueToo 248. Simon21, I'm not sure I see the logic in blaming the right for Mugabe. He's not that atypical for an African leader. Think Idi Amin and a host of other brutal dictators who couldn't give a damn about their people.The abysmal state of South Africa has been clearly and comprehensively outlined by robloop. Maybe you missed that."Let me make it clear to you then. it was the right who beleived in aparthied and the natural supremacy of white rule.It was the right who helped break Rhodesian sanctions and helped Ian Smioth estalbish his regime.Not sure what you mean by "typical" African leader. Think Ceaucescu, Franco, Hitler, Stalin, Pinochet, Sharon, Stroessner etc etc.Are these typical white leaders? Remembering none of them come from years of rapacious rascist colonial government, but had nice white middle class (excepting Stalin) upbringing."The abyssmal State" No I didn't. SOuth Africa was ruled byone of the worst regimes of the the lates twentieth century, often supported by the US and Israel.The black majority have shown astonishing restraint in the rlight of decades of systematic injustice and brutality. They are a remarkable people.Maybe you missed that? Tue 09 Dec 2008 15:00:41 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=93#comment270 Take on the Quebec Liberal Majority anyone?The voters fled the ADQ for their home ports. Unfortunately many were insulted by Harper's comments and backlashed with a PQ vote. 265 Interestedforeigner: You do amuse me!"Of course, after the "wild spending socialists" were booted out in 1981, the fiscally prudent Conservatives came into power and promptly spent the province into bankruptcy."269 dbithead:Not sure what you mean. A Scot by ancestry? Tue 09 Dec 2008 14:10:39 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=93#comment269 266 Pinko.Yes, he really was.251. dceilarYes, that's exactly the point.In our Parliamentary system the Executive and the Legislative branches are merged. In the age of TV we now have "Presidential" Prime Minsters, and power is concentrated in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to an extent that would surprise Americans. In essence, a majority government in Parliament is fairly close to a time limited (5 years maximum) quasi-dictatorship. However, when everybody accepts long established practices and customs, it usually works ok. If the government behaves badly, then they're out at the next go. One of the problems with the present bunch is that they seem to have a much rougher and nastier idea of how the game is played. It's American hardball politics, and that isn't consistent with the more strongly consensus based Canadian culture.That a PM in a minority Parliament can now run away from a vote is not a good precedent, and several sommentators have raised the very same point you raise.252 & 253. Gary:There used to be a joke in Canada that you could tell an election was coming when Stanley Knowles took his old car in for an oil change.(A wonderful, decent man. Sorely missed.)The point is that the typical cost of running for public office in the US is very high. This and the inherently related problem of redistricting explain why an elected member of congress faces a greater risk of dying in office than of being thrown out by the voters.This year provides a particularly good examplied of how ossified the US electoral system has become. The last eight years have been one disaster after another for the US. In most countries you would expect the incumbent gov't to be resoundingly thumped. But only 19 seats changed hands in a House of 435 members. That is miniscule compared to the large swings that can be caused in Westminster Parliaments by small changes in the popular vote.Compare Nov. 4 with the Wagnerian Gotterdamerung that ended the Mulroney era in Canada: the (then) PC's were reduced from 155 seats to ... 2! (Elsie Wayne and some other guy from Sherbrooke named Jean Charest. I wonder whatever happened to him?)First-past-the-post (FPP) works pretty well to yield stable majority goverments in two-party systems. However, it makes starting a third party difficult. It rewards geographically compact parties (i.e., separatists) and aggravates regional tensions (Not that Canada has ever had any problems with regional tensions. No, hardly at all .) Not good in a country that has "too much geography, and not enough history".On October 14, the combined total of Liberal votes (24 %, surprisingly low) and Conservative votes (22%, surprisingly high) in Quebec was greater than the BQ vote (38 %, rather lower than th 40 - 41% they had in the pre-election polling). Yet the BQ won 49 of 75 seats in Quebec. But for the voter ID law, the BQ would have won 2 more seats, possibly 3. FPP just doesn't work for a multiplicity of parties: in Gatineau a candidate won with 27 % of the vote.This is why Australia has gone to the single transferrable vote. That seems a much better system.Not thrilled with PR, either. In France the 3rd Republic had the same problem as Italy after the war. PR works well in some countries, not in others. And then there are the Swiss: PR + referenda. It works a treat. But, or course, the Swiss are, well, Swiss. Tue 09 Dec 2008 14:02:34 GMT+1 dbithead http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=93#comment268 #261 Robloop:Did anyone else get that clue? Anyone? Tue 09 Dec 2008 04:20:22 GMT+1 dbithead http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=92#comment267 #247 Tue 09 Dec 2008 03:58:18 GMT+1 dbithead http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=92#comment266 nevinc #246:The logic seems hazy. The MDC is, at least, as bad as ZANU/ZAPU because they have not proved themselves to you?Seems to me they attained credulity merely by the fact they have not severely injured or mudered hundreds or thousands of citizens, starved thousands and sent so many others to a rapid and ignominious grave. Tue 09 Dec 2008 03:54:21 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=92#comment265 It is only fitting that a discussion of Canadian politics should eventually get 'round to Tommy Douglas. I said in a previous post that J.S. Mill should be the patron saint of Canada. Well Tommy Douglas is the spirit made flesh. I'm almost serious about this. I saw him speak in the early to mid-1980's, I think it was, when he was an old warrior, no longer in the political fray. He took to the podium in a big, packed hall, and suddenly realised he had forgotten his speaking notes. He apologised for his 'senior moment,' and began speaking, off the top of his head, for over an hour. He was wise, funny, generous, and kind. A truly great man. Not long ago, the CBC had a rather silly viewer vote in contest to name the greatest Canadian. Tommy won it easily. He represents, I think, how we, in Anglo Canada, at least, like to see ourselves. A bit Methody, perhaps, but with a genuine and earthy commitment to principles of social justice. His trademark parable of 'Mouseland,' the tale of why mice elect cats to govern them, text here, audio (with an intro by his grandson Kiefer Sutherland) here.Yours,Canadian Pinko Tue 09 Dec 2008 03:09:10 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=91#comment264 ookpik 244 & 245.Please go easy on our foreign friends. We don't always know everything about their issues, either, so cut them some slack.The media is not responsible for the perennial state of the NDP.The NDP as a federal party has consistently received between 18 and 21 % of the vote for a very long time, in good years and in bad. It doesn't seem to matter what the issues are, who the leader is, whether it rains or shines. Not sure why, but that is how it is.Part of the reason it did relatively poorly this time was the new voter ID law, which works most strongly against the Liberals, the Bloc, then the NDP, and the Greens.In a normal distribution, the NDP is always more than one standard deviation to the left of the mean, there is a broad-church centerist party between it and the mean, and there is another usually relatively centrist party a bit to the right of the mean. Inherently that means the NDP is fishing from a pool that is substantially less than half full. It will always be tough to get more than 20 % of the vote under those circumstances. But to fish in a larger pool means ditching some of the policies that the federal NDP holds closest to its heart.You might look at why the CCF was successful out West, where they established themselves as one of the main parties, not the third party. Between 1944 and 1981 the CCF/NDP formed the goverment of Saskatchewan for all but 4 years (Ross Thatcher, 1967 - 1971) In that time they had "the most socialist government in North America" by some accounts. How socialist? Well they ran a balanced budget or a surplus every year they were in office except one. In many ways it was a small-c conservative government in terms of personal financial responsibility, with highly progressive social policies. Tommy Douglas established the principle that they were going to have as much socialism as they could afford, but they would not borrow money to do it. Borrowing money would make them beholden to the banks, and if they were beholden to the banks they would no longer have freedom to choose policy. So they made do with what they had. It took a lot of self-discipline. Nonetheless, they introduced public health care. It became the model for Canada. But they kept a very close eye on the accounts the whole time. Of course, after the "wild spending socialists" were booted out in 1981, the fiscally prudent Conservatives came into power and promptly spent the province into bankruptcy. The NDP has been less successful in BC, and the freak event of an NDP governement in Ontario was not an happy experience. If the federal NDP could make a credible promise of fiscal prudence and personal self-discipline the way the NDP can on the praries, it would get more votes. But it can't because of the desires of some of its core constituencies to "make the rich pay". Trust Jack Layton to manage the till? Not a chance. And that is the enduring problem at the federal level, not the media or anything else. Tue 09 Dec 2008 02:07:26 GMT+1 BrianDMerritt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=91#comment263 I'm not surprised at the ignorance of some of the American bloggers about Canada itself, let alone its politics. But then how can you find fault with our southern neighbours when a good portion of them couldn't even find the United States on an unmarked map of the world!Stephen Harper is a "Bush-lite" leader, who doesn't believe in the Kyoto Accord on global warming and who takes pre-emptive strikes against the opposition in the Canadian Parliament.The Honourable Michelle Jean, our GovernorGeneral, has an excellent fashion sense and has been touted to help Michelle Obama (Barak's wife) in upgrading her wardrobe. Mon 08 Dec 2008 23:45:56 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=90#comment262 261 robloop:I find family histories intriguing and yours sure is! So many Scots all arriving in SA. I was also wondering why SA? Had you been Dutch - which we all know you are not! - I would not have asked.It sounds like you are talking about perhaps the '20's? Around the time my own maternal grandparents left Wolverhampton UK. I believe Canada had "a special" on that year! Although my grandmother's original intention had been New Zealand. So instead of being a Kiwi I find myself out in -13 C weather voting in the Quebec election for a candidate who will hopefully help keep this country together. To bring us back to Canadian politics!As I said, just curiosity Mon 08 Dec 2008 23:36:41 GMT+1 TrueToo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=90#comment261 People might be interested in tonight's World Have Your Say programme, which dealt with sanctions or possible military intervention in Zimbabwe. The health minister came on and got a bit frantic about the prospect of the latter. Debate got a bit heated:http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/whys/whys_20081208-1900a.mp3248. Simon21, I'm not sure I see the logic in blaming the right for Mugabe. He's not that atypical for an African leader. Think Idi Amin and a host of other brutal dictators who couldn't give a damn about their people.The abysmal state of South Africa has been clearly and comprehensively outlined by robloop. Maybe you missed that. Mon 08 Dec 2008 22:24:08 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=90#comment260 #255 AngloQuebecer Yes, we sure have veered off course. A slightly curious question you put to me, but I imagine that like your own forebears who emigrated from somewhere, so did mine. My mother's father left Stirling, Scotland, at the age of three. My grandmother on that side left Dublin, but was of Scots descent. My father's parents left from England, but that grandfather's origins were also Scot. My father and mother got together one day and in a flash of excitement that for me was it - about 50 kilometers from Cape Town in the shadows of the Hottentot Holland Mountains! I hope this helps. Mon 08 Dec 2008 21:24:34 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=89#comment259 #259 Well, happyglaze, I must acknowlegde that you've been busy. And you were saying.....? Mon 08 Dec 2008 20:56:22 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=89#comment258 100"Yes, the border situation today is a shame, but then the side to the equation you haven't presented is that if Canada (much like the U.S. with its Mexican border) had not become so utterly and shamefully sloppy about who it has allowed into the country without screening or security checks; had not allowed terrorists - even al Qaeda and Tamil Tiger members, and families of Somali's warlords - to make Canada their home, and has such poor control over the whereabouts of foreign criminal elements still loose in the country, the U.S. might not have resorted to passports and other border checks"I'd question the motive behind this129 "but to them he has proven a dismal failure in regard to abortion, recently emphatically making it clear that he will not permit members of his own party to re-open debate on abortion. Then he seems to lack the stomach to do anything about Canada's rogue Human Rights Commissions and their obsessive preoccupation with promoting a homosexual agenda"again not someone into all inclusive societythen we have this telling phrase from 162"Yes, Canadians are very tolerant, subdued and politically correct while watching'their' country,"followed by " the country into which they were born and grew up, disappear under a wave of immigrants who too often really don't respect their ways, culture or traditions while demanding that Canada become at least a reflection of the failed societies from which they emigrated - to find a better life in Canada (which then is not quite good enough because it's not enough like the mess from which they departed!) So much for multiculturalism"Well after this I could hardly be expected to think "Wow this guy is a real nice guy, what a beacon of cultural understanding."having started q a post with Your comment about me, "your nationality is shifty, at best" gave me a smile. I'm South African, "I took it into my head hat you are South African. Because I can understand what I read.I noticed that your name here (obviously not your real name) is ROB Loop which I knew to be a Dutch word, replied with a pretty easy to make assumption. I am sorry I did not mean to state you were a Boer I asked if you were.having quoted some of those real sensitive words."Sure they tolerate each other, make themselves understood, often in broken English,""Encourage immigrants to become American, or, as is happening in Toronto and surroundings, find yourself a minority in your own country."simple question,no implication.Now you weren't a Boer were you?You said No, Ok, but why did you pick a name like Rob LOOP then?Not an accusation just a question.All your writings do not show a very culturally tolerant person.There are a few QUOTES here.Now you probably see nothing in them, but again surely as a White person brought up in South Africa you have become aware of how these words could by many be seen to be an indication that you are not so happy with all races.comments like " I have a few 'boer' friends who did not." imply there were a few but not many or a majority.given the careful wording of you reply I saw the old doublespeek coming out."I didn't take offence from your comments.Pole, Ukranian, Turkish Kurd, in all honest not the diversity obstacle I was thinking of,"(it were the other ones)Oh is this like the Christian east Muslim east thing that your buddy 193( the one who brought up Africa) is into?the one who refers to the "Rainbow Nation" dreamed of by Nelson Mandela, with a little scorn it seems.I reply to you in 203 and 204 at which point you are writing the lovely post205. At 3:09pm on 07 Dec 2008, robloop wrote:#193 TruetooThe sad part is that Mandela's "Rainbow nation" has become a 'Rambo nation' (as one publication coined it), with crime and corruption absolutely ballistic. Murder, rape and robbery are at 'world-class' levels. You can be murdered for a cell-phone or get a bullet through the brain for not exiting your car quickly enough during a car hijacking. This particularly crime is far worse in some parts of the country than in others.And yet, despite that, if lucky you don't run into any trouble, but constantly take precautions and make your home a fortress.Apartheid racism has been replaced by ANC racism with a huge dose of amazing incompetence and ineffeciencyt thrown in for good measure. The harsh reality is that the astronomic levels of crime and corruption began when Mandela was president, and while I doubt he was behind it or that he wasn't concerned, he did nothing about it, not least, it has emerged, because he left running of the country to Thabo Mbeki.If South Africa "begins a practically irreversible slide down the drain", and there are ominous signs, I don't believe the'international community' will do anything until utter chaos reigns - as is happening over Zimbabwe. Even now it's action over Zim are tepid and ineffectual. It's more of the hand-wringing, 'what can we do?' variety! Pathetic!Jimmy Carter's comments about the situation are laughable. What he has 'discovered' existed weeks ago, and Mugabe is still in power, driving around like royalty in luxury cars surrounded by a large troop escort while everything around him falls apart. He has got to be insane - but no less than Idi Amin! The 'international community' has had years to do something constructive about Robert Mugabe, but chose to leave the matter to the Southern African Development Community - that left the matter up to the utterly useless Thabo M'beke, who simply created a totally unworkable compromise solution in an effort to save an old Marxist chum from ignominious surrender of power.The results are there for all to see, people starving, being murdered, dying of dysentry and cholera, and fleeing into neighbouring countries. Yet another African tragedy! Meanwhile the wondrous 'international community' has done nothing about issuing an arrest warrant for Robert Mubage for the genocide he perpetrated against the Ndabele people in Matabeland where his army's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade murder about 20,000 people, let alone the murders of white farmers, their labourers, and political opponents. Those butchers from the Balkans who landed up facing the World Court were not responsible for nearly as many murders as is Robert Mugabe, but evidently the 'international community's' rules for Africa differ from those they apply to Europe.So pardon me if my faith in the'international community' - with its selective 'concerns' - is zero should South Africa follow the Zimbabwe route.Now that seems a little Boerish to me not that anything else didn't.I did have to reply on the africa topic in 207 and 209 but you will see that 205 is rather lengthy and rather concentrating on africa.and it continues.How about we all leave SA and ZIM out of this and concentrate on why Maple sugar is the best damn sap in the world Mon 08 Dec 2008 19:09:03 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=89#comment257 56. At 1:06pm on 05 Dec 2008, lochraven wrote:Now, if you want me to tell you what's wrong with the US, well, let's start with health care . . . Yours,Canadian PinkoWhen we get national health care here, which we surely will, (but why does it matter to you one way or the other?), what will your next gripe be? Are you keeping a list? Merry ChristmasDEATH PENALTY Mon 08 Dec 2008 18:10:13 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=88#comment256 252 Gary I as a total left bent twisted guy strangely have no problem with the monarchy or the house of lords even before the changes.there was something nice about watching the old lords and ladies bring reality into debates. they turned down the Criminal Justice Bill , twice didn't they(can't remember)Bunch of tory lords against it. Why they didn't care about getting elected so they dared to say taking away rights to protest or worse to take away the right to have a 21 st party for trixibellpottet.That was before reform though. Or the old lord who when debating the right to spit, asked if he was to be expected to keep phlegm in his mouth or swallow it until he got home.If he did spit and a copper was near would he be accused of spitting at an officer.Great freedom for the lords,a bit like the Justices on the Supreme court who sometimes seem to say "I'm here so stuff them all ,i'm going to do what's right" Mon 08 Dec 2008 18:03:51 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=88#comment255 254really is this an argument? Mon 08 Dec 2008 17:56:13 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=88#comment254 249 robloop:Having veered off course from Canadian politics and leaving Obama in the dust - I was wondering if you would mind telling us how it is that you are South African. Just out of interest and curiosity. Mon 08 Dec 2008 17:21:24 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=87#comment253 248, 250 Simon21 You are an unhappy, angry, empty bag of wind as these mostly stupid postings once again show. You must be permanently in excruciating pain, or derive some sick pleasure from being a pain in the rear? Your comments about South Africa are worn out. Your knowledge of democracy evidently zero. Mon 08 Dec 2008 16:33:48 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=87#comment252 InterestedForeigner (#225), " ... Keep in mind that to run for the US Senate you have to be able to raise about US $ 20,000/week. ... "Not necessarily. In 1982, the late Senator Proxmire of Wisconsin reported $145.10 in campaign expenses and received 64 percent of the vote. Mon 08 Dec 2008 16:25:55 GMT+1 Gary_A_Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=87#comment251 It's puzzling to me to read Canadians (and Brits) complaining about their "antiquated electoral system," as some do. The Westminster system is rather old, and it survives because it works well. The characteristic (shared with the US system) of electing members of Parliament (or Congress) to represent districts, rather than parties, leads to relative stability in government.Consider, as an example, the alternative systems used in Italy, which are mostly proportional, and which tend to give small minorities a piece of the action:http://www.electionresources.org/it/Italy has had approximately 60 governments since WWII, about one per year. Who wants that? Mon 08 Dec 2008 16:15:45 GMT+1 dceilar http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=86#comment250 InterestedForeignerThanks for your interesting posts.Isn't Parliament sovereign? So can't it refuse the Governor-General's decision? I know the Queen can dissolve Parliament and, in the case of no overall parliamentary control, ask the leader of the largest party in the lower house to form a government; but I didn't know the Queen could temporarily close Parliament. History tells us that this is a path to civil war - people will choose Parliament or the Monarchy and the latter will lose big time. I say let Parliament speak. Mon 08 Dec 2008 15:38:17 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=86#comment249 249. At 12:51pm on 08 Dec 2008, robloop wrote:"However imperfect, I hope it remains at least a semblance of a democracy, but the fact is that till now the ANC's overwhelming majority has given it a rubber stamp to do as it pleases. "Yes that is democracy for you. How odd that the ANC should act like any other party in government!"Thankfully there have been moderate voices such as that of Trevor Manuel to temper its actions, and the new stand-in president seems to have a level head. However, there are now also ANC M.P.s who demonstrate the instincts of a totalitarian dictator like Mugabe. Not only that, they are thorough racists."Are they? At least they haven't passed laws forbidding black and white marriage have they?At least they haven't turned the armed police on demonstrating schoolchildren.And they haven't bulldozed any white townships and ordered the people to leave.That's the rascism the majority of South Africans had to live under before ANC rule."Let's hope that the ANC-COPE split saves the country from that eventuality, but the reality is that it is these type of concerns that constantly keep South Africans on edge. ""f Zuma becomes president we will have to see whether his considerable support from COSATU and the South African Communist Party doesn't force his hand in the direction of something like the old 'German Democratic Republic' which, despite the name, was nothing more than a thoroughly repressive communist dictatorship in East Germany. Let's hope that the ANC-COPE split saves the country from that eventuality, but the reality is that it is these type of concerns that constantly keep South Africans on edge."Some South Africans."Yes, there is corruption everywhere, not least in Canada, but that in Canada doesn't even nearly compare with what incessantly occurs in South Africa. It's like a daily event to read about yet another scandal."Did Canada undergo over 40 years of racial government?No yet it still has considerable corruption.Not to mention who exactly does the corruption.Maybe those in glass houses... Mon 08 Dec 2008 14:20:18 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=86#comment248 246 Nevinc If you look back at your 216 I think you'll realize that your language was "too strong", but thanks for acknowledging that. Being told that I "have no idea what you are talking about" re Zim and SA didn't sit too well. As a matter of interest my 242 was for your reading. It contained a recent letter from Zimbabwe describing frightening events unfolding there and graphically conveying the fears of the writer who asked that people "everywhere" round the world pass on his letter to everyone they could. The South African who forwarded the letter, from his Zim friend, stated that the SA media (state-controlled SABC) is not telling South Africans the full extent of the mess in Zim. I'm not sure why the moderator wouldn't allow it, but I think you might have found it informative and troubling. There's nothing "outlandish" about my position on SA. However imperfect, I hope it remains at least a semblance of a democracy, but the fact is that till now the ANC's overwhelming majority has given it a rubber stamp to do as it pleases. Thankfully there have been moderate voices such as that of Trevor Manuel to temper its actions, and the new stand-in president seems to have a level head. However, there are now also ANC M.P.s who demonstrate the instincts of a totalitarian dictator like Mugabe. Not only that, they are thorough racists. If Zuma becomes president we will have to see whether his considerable support from COSATU and the South African Communist Party doesn't force his hand in the direction of something like the old 'German Democratic Republic' which, despite the name, was nothing more than a thoroughly repressive communist dictatorship in East Germany. Let's hope that the ANC-COPE split saves the country from that eventuality, but the reality is that it is these type of concerns that constantly keep South Africans on edge. Yes, there is corruption everywhere, not least in Canada, but that in Canada doesn't even nearly compare with what incessantly occurs in South Africa. It's like a daily event to read about yet another scandal. Mon 08 Dec 2008 12:51:50 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=85#comment247 247. At 08:54am on 08 Dec 2008, TrueToo wrote:246. nevinc wrote:My point regarding change in Zimbabwe was simply that it needs to be other African countries that bring it about (and that there needs to be a viable government from within Zimbabwe, which there clearly is in the MDC).I'm afraid there ain't nothing clear about that at all. As I pointed out at no. 223, calling a party the Movement for Democratic Change is hardly evidence that the party will in fact be democratic. And opposition to Mugabe is hardly evidence of democratic intent, no matter how justified that opposition is. In an African context, it is far more likely to be evidence of a push for power by the next budding dictator. Back in the eighties, Mugabe started off as the great revolutionary hope for starry-eyed Western "liberals," and look how he turned out."Well the eighties heroes of the right - Saddam Hussein, Pinochet, Pik Botha, Nicolas Ceaucescu were hardly great successes either.It is important to remember that had the right-wing appeasers of the West not supported RSA and Rhodesia ("our friends in the north") then Mugabe might not have got into power in the first place."I am completely pessimistic about a positive outcome for Zimbabwe and deeply concerned both about the current abysmal state of South Africa and the almost certain prospect of future deterioration."Not sure what "abysmal state" of SA is supposed to mean. It faces problems, certainly. Its government has feather bedded the whites for far too long. But the country has considerable strengths and has risen from the ashes of aparthied remarkably smoothly.As regards Zimbabwe. It is hilarious to hear the newly pious, black-rights converts express such compassion for the country. Abuse of various African states for not sending in troops is hilarious.Nice white countries like the UK and US etc have sent their soldiery in to Kossovo, Bosnia, etc and apart from Sierra Leone in each instance there has only been limited, extremely limited success. Indeed in the case of Iraq and Afghanistan matters have not improved. In Kossovo ethnic cleansing was carried out under Nato's nose.So not surprisingly many African leaders are reluctant to follow the western examples. Mon 08 Dec 2008 11:33:18 GMT+1 TrueToo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=85#comment246 246. nevinc wrote:My point regarding change in Zimbabwe was simply that it needs to be other African countries that bring it about (and that there needs to be a viable government from within Zimbabwe, which there clearly is in the MDC).I'm afraid there ain't nothing clear about that at all. As I pointed out at no. 223, calling a party the Movement for Democratic Change is hardly evidence that the party will in fact be democratic. And opposition to Mugabe is hardly evidence of democratic intent, no matter how justified that opposition is. In an African context, it is far more likely to be evidence of a push for power by the next budding dictator. Back in the eighties, Mugabe started off as the great revolutionary hope for starry-eyed Western "liberals," and look how he turned out.I am completely pessimistic about a positive outcome for Zimbabwe and deeply concerned both about the current abysmal state of South Africa and the almost certain prospect of future deterioration. There's an old joke:If you can see the light at the end of the tunnel in South Africa, you're facing the wrong way.Except it's not funny. Mon 08 Dec 2008 08:54:57 GMT+1 nevinc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=85#comment245 robloop:Perhaps my language was too strong; what I meant was simply that if you mean to imply that South Africa is not a democracy, or is heading in the same direction as Zimbabwe, I simply disagree. You don't have to tell me how bad things are in Zimbabwe, or in South Africa. I don't have the same firsthand knowledge of the latter that you do (I have South African friends in Canada, but I haven't talked to them about the country recently; I get most of my news on it from the BBC), but my family regularly gets E-mails from friends in Zimbabwe and we actually have a white Zimbabwean living with us right now (his family is friends of ours and we were able to sponsor him to come to Canada and go to school here). So I'll thank you not to assume I know nothing about what's going on there. I am fully aware of the terrors of Mugabe's regime, and of the failures of Mbeki and SADC. I absolutely agree with you that other countries in the region need to remove Mugabe, by force if necessary. You seem to want to quarrel with me over matters I agree with you on. My point regarding change in Zimbabwe was simply that it needs to be other African countries that bring it about (and that there needs to be a viable government from within Zimbabwe, which there clearly is in the MDC). Not commenting on the rightness or wrongness of that, just trying to be realistic.As for your accounts of the problems of South Africa, I don't doubt any of those either. My primary point is simply that all of those don't make SA any less of a democracy. A country being a democracy doesn't mean it doesn't have problems, or that's a nice place to live. India was a hell of a country to live in for most of its independence, but it was still a democracy. South Africa is, and I believe will remain, a democracy. The fact that there was not until recently a credible opposition doesn't make it a "dictatorship." Canada quite recently had one-party rule (by the Liberals) for just one year less than SA has had it now. It's not whether there's just one party in power, it's how that party operates and whether its leaders have some measure of accountability to the people. Of course the ANC had and has an enormous amount of corruption, but again so do parties everywhere (including Canada), and if it is more there than many places it is still nowhere near the level of Zimbabwe. I don't really think any of this is particularly controversial. I don't know of any credible organization that studies global trends that would not classify SA as a democracy, whatever its other problems. Freedom House and the Economist's Democracy Index, for instance, both rank it as a liberal democracy, albeit an imperfect one. Maybe you disagree with these classifications, but at makes you the one taking the outlandish position, not me. Mon 08 Dec 2008 05:17:09 GMT+1 Ookpik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=84#comment244 MarcusAureliusII wrote: Canada...I've heard of it...It surprises me that there have been so many contributions to this site from people in many countries since Canada usually has very little visibility on the international scene.It strikes me that a contributor from the United States would show so little awareness of my country (perhaps it was toungue in cheek and I missed the humour). After all, Canada is the United States single biggest trade partner (much bigger than China, Europe,Japan,...); for more than 40 states it is their biggest customer; daily cross-border traffic is the busiest in the world. Despite this, most of its people and many of its politicans haven't a clue as to where we are, how we are governed (whoops! recent events show that a lot of Canadians don't either), what our cities are like, our how we impact on their lives, etc. We don't exist in their media except for hockey, basketball and baseball teams. Mon 08 Dec 2008 04:13:37 GMT+1 Ookpik http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=84#comment243 Robloop wrote:The mess they are now in simply reflects what occurs when a largely left-wing media does everything in its power during an election to ensure that a Conservative government does not regain power. What an interesting view of Canadian media. Not one significant newspaper, radio station, magazine or television station across Canada endorsed the only left of centre party, the New Democratic Party, in any of our federal elections. In fact, they rarely give much coverage to the party's policies and leader. Most media in Canada tend to take centrist or right wing stands in their daily and election coverage. If even a small number of outlets gave balanced reports, the party would probably grow significantly from its consistent 18-20% of the popular vote which in our antiquated electoral system only generates about 10% of the seats in Parliament. Mon 08 Dec 2008 04:01:44 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=84#comment242 #241 dbithead Sorry if I gave you the impression of regarding you an adversary. I didn't, but thanks for pointing that out. I honestly have absolutely no recollection of there ever being a "liberal white superiority" in the 1980s and don't think you are right on this score. At the time I was very much under the scrutiny of BOSS for writing the things I did in newspapers, so felt very much part of a minority and have no recollection of there being any evidence I was anything but. In 1986 Van Zyl Slabbert, then leader of the Progressive Federal Party, left his parliamentary position out of frustration and the feeling that the opposition 'liberal' Progressive Federal Party was almost irrelevant under the weight of the National Party majority and political events in South Africa. If his party, and individuals of kindred thought, had been in a majority I doubt he would have so dramatically quit politics. As a matter of interest, I met and chatted with both Van Zyl Slabbert and Helen Suzman. So by all means send the Google link. I'll be interested to see what it says. Mon 08 Dec 2008 04:00:59 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=83#comment241 This post has been Removed Mon 08 Dec 2008 03:31:22 GMT+1 dbithead http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=83#comment240 Re: 240 robloop:I remember it well Rob. However your argument over liberal white superiority in South Africa in the 80s remains without evidence. The fact of the matter is evident, or do I have to post links in this age of Google?Methinks you view me is an adversary. Nothing is further from the truth, merely an educated observer and a friendly voice amongst much ignorance. Mon 08 Dec 2008 03:05:29 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=82#comment239 #237 dbithead Of course P.W. Botha, who definitely was no whimp, brought about changes out of fear for the future. It was he who said that change was necessary or the future would be "too ghastly to contemplate", but you are wrong about English-speakers ever forming a white majority or threatening to take over parliament. At best we formed 40 percent of the white population, but it is a fact that more and more Afrikaners took to reading English-language newspapers to find out what was going on in the country and the world outside. Actually, after getting rid of, I believe, 187 pieces of apartheid legislation, P.W. (as he was called) froze, which is roughly why F.W. de Klerk emerged as the man to bring an end to apartheid and minority white rule. Mon 08 Dec 2008 02:46:13 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=82#comment238 #231 AngloQuebecer I'm not sure if Desmond Tutu's words carry much weight with the ANC, but suspect they don't. I think they now resent him too deeply. They've come to hate his guts over criticism of rampant corruption in their ranks, failure to effectively address the massive crime issue, and failure to attend to the needs of millions of poor black South Africans while enriching themselves. Telling the ANC leadership, which included Mbeki, that he didn't fight "apartheid tyranny" only to see a new form of tyranny emerge, didn't go down too well - as you can imagine! Then he has told the ANC that housing built for blacks during the "apartheid era" was far superior in construction to those now being built. The latter he said were already crumbling. All the same, maybe in a reluctant way they listen and in time someone who is smarter and more moral than the present lot will take heed. One can only hope. Mon 08 Dec 2008 02:26:39 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=82#comment237 #219 Chronophobe If you go back to my 185 I think you'll understand why I'm not sure what your point is to me re Mark Steyn. I believe that originally I simply pointed out the tyranny of Canada's Human Rights Commissions as they related to Steyn, but without any reference to his conflict over Islam. Concerning this matter Rex Murphy was particularly good - although to be frank, I haven't actually watched Murphy for years, but I have read his comments on Google. When, as Steyn has done, an individual gets caught up in a struggle of an ideological nature, or one of the nature that descended on Steyn, the danger is that of becoming so consumed by the 'struggle' that balance and perspective is lost, and with that also the fun side to them that made them attractive. Bitterness has a warping effect on a personality. Steyn won in the end, so should take a step back and focus on regaining the side to him that he evidently has lost. I do take my hat off to him for having 'guts'. Mon 08 Dec 2008 01:54:57 GMT+1 dbithead http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=81#comment236 #228 Robloop:Yeh but comeon Rob, PW was like Bush. He only understood Afrikaaner society. His concessions were a matter of survival. The liberal media had at that point in time achieved dominance, the majority white english south africans were threatening to take over parliment. Mon 08 Dec 2008 01:32:20 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=81#comment235 Interesting analysis of the recent Canadian political events by Jeffery Simpson of the Globe and Mail here.Off topic, but I also came across this interesting set of interviews with members of the taliban here on the Globe and Mail site. You have to look a bit to find them, but worth it. It's a kind of poll done with a couple dozen taliban. Very chilling. Yours,Canadian Pinko Mon 08 Dec 2008 01:27:59 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=81#comment234 #196 Interestedforeigner It's a very long time since I watched Fox News, but many times have watched CCN with Wolf Blitzer and his "best political team on television." If they are, then God help us all! Then they have Jack Cafferty, Rick Sanchez, Campbell Brown .... and the list gets worse. I did at one stage get McNiel and Lehrer, and considered them believable and thorough even if a bit droll. I remember one British commentator describing Lehrer as "paralyzingly boring". To be fair, the fact is that he is believable - which CNN is not. Your comment about CBC and "parochialism-R-us" gave me a smile. Too true. Boring beyond imagination most of the time.Re BBC and international news coverage, you are right, there is no better. Mon 08 Dec 2008 01:25:24 GMT+1 dbithead http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=80#comment233 Re: #225 Interestedforeigner:Poignant observation. Not sure the relevancy to my point though. I refer to public funding.Care to endulge? Mon 08 Dec 2008 01:21:40 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=80#comment232 225 InterestedforeignerThanks and I agree. With a viable (in my humble opinion) alternative, why not ask the opposition to form the next government. I learned of the Ontario coalition last week, along with many, many other things. Thanks re: tomorrow. Polls are saying Charest will win but.... I was amused by a quote I read awhile ago from a Frenchman (France) saying, "All we ever do is vote! and vote and vote!" I feel the same. So off I go tomorrow to yet another school gym! Mon 08 Dec 2008 01:17:23 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=80#comment231 209 Happyglaze I didn't 'sidetrack' the discussion on Canada, it was jokers like you who did. I think it was Chronophobe who said my nationality was 'suspect' (or something to that effort). I told him and that immediately drew idiotic attacks based upon stereotyping, and then stupid speculations and assumptions to which I had no intention of giving satisfaction. Mon 08 Dec 2008 00:59:14 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=79#comment230 226 robloopI distresses me no end to read what you have written. I will make no comment on what is happening in SA or Zimbabwe as my knowledge is limited (other than what I read in the press). It must be extremely difficult to see this happen to your country. Do Desmond Tutu's words carrying any weight? I heard him speak out against Mugabe the other day.As you know we have our own problems in Canada but they pale in comparison to yours.I offer you my condolences. Which is about all I can offer right now. Writing to Harper would be a complete waste of my time. Hell, he's not even at home! If only Stephane Dion had come across better, I would be bombarding PM Dion with letters. Mon 08 Dec 2008 00:57:10 GMT+1 DougTexan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=79#comment229 I thought ya'll thought that Canada was perfect? ... and corner gas.... Mon 08 Dec 2008 00:53:10 GMT+1 Robert Bennett http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=79#comment228 Canada like America is filled with people who are no longer traditional. nationalists---anything goes for them it appears to get some form of international socialist world government started. They, of course, have no idea where this all may end up? This is what the rest of us really fear the most, plus the loss of our rightful national identities. Being your British I found it strange they way you put these Canadian facts, as...Mr Harper "persauded" the "acting" head of state----We all KNOW or should--- the Canadian, Head of State is... HM Elizabeth II. Mr. Harper asked the "permission" of the Govenour General, HM the Queen's personal representative what the Prime Minster wanted done, to suspend Parliament for a short time for talks to take place... because he does not see dealing with "separatists" , maybe even terrorists, as a legal, viable answer to Canadian unity as a nation. Where you get any link to Obama is strange to me, unless you believe we all should just go to world anarchy without traditional law because it often is "dull"? Where did you get this from? The world is a very dangerous, unsettled place today...the last place citizens need more unsettled conditions are in British Democracies---From the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zeeland and many more working countries. I feel we have the right to choose our own national life and not be swept away with some world tide of any politics or mass of people. There is some very faulty thinking going on right now that through "silient assertion" is claiming some form of Majority Rule without borders...in the USA and Canada. I do not see where people think this is right or legal, but many people are supporting this new "world" state view. When push comes to shove it will be anything but DULL as citizens of many nations DEMAND their rights.P.S. Many citizens in the USA are not even sure that Mr.Obama is a legal candidate today----more to come next week. Mon 08 Dec 2008 00:43:10 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=78#comment227 #213 Simon21 "But you no longer get a bullet in the back of the head for being the wrong colour..." How little you know! In fact, you do - for being white, coloured, Chinese or Indian."... and you can no longer get arrested for marrying the wrong colour." In fact that ended back in 1985 or 1986 when then President P.W. Botha ended the Mixed Marriages Act (or an act to that effect) and more than 180 other pieces of apartheid legislation. That happens to be why Thabo Mbeki offered the Botha family a State Funeral for P.W. Botha, out of recognition that he had started the ball rolling. And, as a matter of interest, one the states in the U.S. continued that law after it had ended in South Africa. Mon 08 Dec 2008 00:24:35 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=78#comment226 #210 Nick Gotts. Why do you find it necessary to begin your posting with such utter drivel and, as a matter of interest, totally erroneous assumptions? You have not the slightest idea of what I stand for, yet through mindless prejudice write the inflammatory crap you do! Mon 08 Dec 2008 00:07:01 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=78#comment225 #203, 204 happylaze Indulge in whatever silly speculation you choose, my surname is not Loop and I'm of Scots descent. That aside, your ramblings are pathetic, and you can't even spell, not least 'apartheid'. AsaScot and Simon21, from you just the usual old irrelevant piffle! If because I'm a white South African you and happyglaze think you can intimidate out of discussing race or Africa's continuing dismal failures, think again. My reaction to your comments was one of: "What a couple of phonies!"#216 & 216 Nevine. Don't be so quick to make silly comments about me having "no idea what you are talking". Evident to me is that you don’t. And agreeing "with others" whose half-baked and prejudiced comments expose their ignorance is even less impressive. Regardless of growing up in Zimbabwe it’s evident you’ve been away too long to comment with any authority. I've been in and out of South Africa for the last ten years, again just recently, have discussions with family and friends, business people and school teachers, read newspapers, observe and gauge the mood of people. The latter is like a barometer, hopeful one minute, despondent the next. I'm very aware of declining standards that are common knowledge there, even if not to you, and the deep political uncertainties. I love the country and would prefer it to anywhere else, but like many others am very trouble by the political uncertainties and what this portends. And then there are the astounding levels of crime, now among the highest in the world, the rape-rate second to none – even girls of six and nine months! If you dismiss that too, you are totally uninformed. As to Zimbabwe, just this last week an ex-Zim friend, now living in the U.S., forwarded me two letters, one from a friend who lives in Harare, and another who from South Africa just last week visited Zim to take supplies to beleaguered friends. Shops are almost empty and the currency worth next to nothing. Both men told of terrible conditions, people starving and dying of cholera and dysentery. Now even municipality-supplied water is contaminated and undrinkable. One told of Mugabe’s thugs arriving with AK47s at a largish house near the airport, kicking the inhabitants out at gunpoint and then bulldozing the house to the ground. The fear of that occurring again is now widespread. The rest of what I told you is also true and if you simply dismiss it then I question your knowledge of what is going on in Zimbabwe. I have seen first-hand declining standards in South Africa and if you don't know about the levels of crime, now among the worst in the world, then you are simply out of touch and in no position to comment as you did. As to the recent split in the ANC between it and COPE, it is too early to tell what will eventuate. It's not yet certain that behind it is not simply self-interest. That aside, for the last fourteen years South Africa has had a virtual one party dictatorship. Will the split change anything? I don’t know and neither do you, but if what has existed till now adds up to your idea of 'democracy', dream on. For a long time I've watched the SADC and Mbeki's utterly useless efforts at creating a political settlement in Zimbabwe while the international community sat idly by, even when abundantly evident that whatever Mbeki was cooking up was intended to save Mugabe's bacon rather than address the needs of desperate and dying Zimbabweans. I agree that Western powers need to keep out of Zimbabwe, but then the SADC and particularly Mbeki needed to step in and one way or another force Mugabe out of office. They didn't and seem morally destitute. Talk about change in Zim 'needing to come from within' is worn out and totally unrealistic. Any attempt at opposition results in threats, severe beatings, imprisonment, even murdered. The other neighbouring countries in the region have proven utterly useless at doing anything constructive for the people of Zim, the best call so far (in my estimation) recently coming from leaders in Kenya who want Mugabe“removed”, and, if necessary, I don’t think they intend that the removal be gentle. Sun 07 Dec 2008 23:50:00 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=77#comment224 208 dbithead.The public funding formula was a quid pro quo for the elimination of corporate and trade union donations.Keep in mind that to run for the US Senate you have to be able to raise about US $ 20,000/week.Canada may have wasted C$ 300 M on the unnecessary October 14, 2008 election, but that is all-in, for everybody. In the US one well known candidate raised over $ 1/2 B. Mind boggling. Does Canada really want to go down that road? C$ 1.95 / voter seems a pretty inexpensive way to guarantee that voices from all across the political spectrum will be heard. If they made it C$ 10.00/voter, I'd still think it a bargain. Of course, when Revenue Canada see this admission, they will want to raise taxes: When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems tend to look like nails.As you may note, US campaign funding has become a significant problem in the US - one of the things John McCain tried to clean up.201 Anglo Same here. People were frantically trying to vote against Harper. And then the turnout was lower, and there were all sorts of stories on the news about people being prevented from voting. The national print media (e.g., the G+M) and the CBC have ignored this story, and I don't know why. Maybe someone is making a close analysis of the data. In any case, on the referenda, I hear you. Yet there is Harper, a walking, breathing, two-legged advertisment for separation. Every time he appears on the Telejournal, or opens his mouth, the separatists gain another thousand votes. Or more. It took forty years to get a lid back onto that Pandora's box of troubles (with thanks to Stephane Dion, ironically), and now he's re-opened it. Oh, what fools these mortals be. I was a bit sharp with junkie last night on this point, and afterwards wished I'd been more temperate. He wanted to get rid of the whole lot. That seems a bit unfair to me, because the bulk of the blame for this situation clearly rests with Mr. Harper, and Dion is going anyhow. Harper overplayed his hand, and it blew up on him. Time to take responsibility for that. The other thing is that none of the other leaders, simply by retaining their position, aggravate the National Unity problem the way the continued presence of Harper does. Here's hoping Jean Charest wins big tomorrow.211 Anglo I think the reason they did it was to forestall an attempt by the Prime Minister to request dissolution on a vote of non-confidence. They want to have evidence in place that there is a viable alternate government in place. I believe that the precedent for this was the fall of the Miller government in Ontario in 1985. Then David Peterson and ?? Floyd Loughren? Some guy named Bob Rae? My memory fails me. Anyhow, they had an agreement in place, and made sure that the Lieutenant Governor was aware of it. In this case, the opposition are probably in a stronger position, too. The October 14, 2008 election was called at Harper's request. The previous Parliament had been working (in large part due to a supine opposition), and there was no compelling reason for having an election. For him to request dissolution again for the third time in a little over two years and not to allow the other parties a chance would be pretty high handed. There just isn't any compelling reason to go to the polls again. Good luck tomorrow. Sun 07 Dec 2008 23:26:24 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=77#comment223 214 happylaze:If it is of any consolation to you, I never shop at Wal-Mart. I will not support their dismay treatment of employees. They do stand out in the Canadian market place as poor employers, so that should help answer your question. Sun 07 Dec 2008 22:53:38 GMT+1 TrueToo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=77#comment222 205. robloop,I agree completely with your comments. Those who scoff at anyone who criticises South Africa and Zimbabwe should take a closer look at what is going on in those countries.216. nevinc,Yes, South Africa is not Zimbabwe but you contradict yourself when you say that democracy would never happen in Zimbabwe and then say that it is likely to happen. Where is the evidence that Morgan whatshisname will be any better than Mugabe? Because he calls his party the Movement for Democratic Change? How democratic is the Democratic Republic of Congo these days?While the ANC split is an interesting phenomenon, there are very worrying signs in SA, in addition to the comprehensive list robloop provided. The ANC has already tried to fiddle with the constitution for its own benefit.African countries look to a strong man to lead and have little acquaintance with democracy. Where is the evidence that this is likely to change? Sun 07 Dec 2008 22:49:08 GMT+1 Over_40_Crowd http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=76#comment221 To Happylaze...Yes, there is a nationally mandated amount of holiday time given to every employee, part-time or full-time. The law states that everyone is entitled to 4% or 2 weeks paid vacation per year. However, most companies pay more then 4%. Employees can negotiate a higher percentage as a sign on bonus. I started my last job at 10% or 4 weeks. Then there are the laws for working statutory holidays. Generally, the employer must pay the employee 1 1/2 times their hourly rate if they work on a statutory holiday but, in some professions such as health care, they earn 2 times their hourly rate. Sun 07 Dec 2008 22:25:50 GMT+1 gwaine69 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=76#comment220 Being a proud Canadian from Vancouver Canada, I am very happy with my political system. It may be bland most of the time(with the occasional interesting thing happening once in a while) but we always pull thru.And I highly doubt it they'll be coup attempts in Canada.The seperatist movement too in Quebec is unpopular even in Quebec. Sun 07 Dec 2008 22:18:09 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=76#comment219 This post has been Removed Sun 07 Dec 2008 20:30:04 GMT+1 chronophobe http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=75#comment218 Re: 185 robloopAm I correct in assuming you are getting 'round to a Mark Steyn-ish argument concerning Islam? I used to think Steyn was the only readable columnist back when Connie Black owned the National Post. He was caustic, but funny as well. Now he just seems sad and angry. The stuff on his blog is nigh well incomprehensible. He is so caught up in a running battle with the leftish opponents he has stirred up (a must see is the very readable blog of his best nemesis, Warren Kinsella)that, unless you're into that kind of intellectual bun fight, there is little to be gained from reading him. Yours,Canadian Pinko Sun 07 Dec 2008 18:28:55 GMT+1 dbithead http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=75#comment217 Re: #187:"Boer" is farmer in Afrikaans. The term used to describe the Apartheid era followers is "Afrikaaners".Rural Afrikaaners, like rural Americans, could (or can) speak little English and their spelling was equally atrocious. They are also rabidly religious as part of the Dutch Reformed Church, a fundamental branch of the Lutheran church if memory serves.The vast majority of whites in South Africa were known as "English". Consequently people from England were known as "British".The "English" South Africans were liberally minded people who would pay their maid and gardener well, help their servants out where-ever they could without invoking the wrath of the Afrikaaner and promoted the liberal media. There were exceptions to this in those who only cared about having their oak tree polished properly but over-all one should be very very careful about making presumptuous comments about which they have very little knowledge.(Did anyone get that? All I understood was: "very") Sun 07 Dec 2008 18:21:26 GMT+1 nevinc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=75#comment216 Oh, and additionally, neither the U.S. nor Britain (nor even the U.N.) is in a position to go in and forcibly remove Mugabe from government. We've tried doing that kind of thing before, and it doesn't work. Just look at a list of countries the West has gone into and look at how well they're doing today; if anything, they're doing worse than other countries that were in similar situations to theirs. Unpleasant as it may be, it has to be SADC that does something about Zimbabwe. Now perhaps the West could have put a bit more pressure on Mbeki and not tolerated his "quiet diplomacy" nonsense, but that itself might have backfired and made it take longer for African leaders to speak out against Mugabe, which is finally happening now. Change in Zimbabwe needs to come from within Zimbabwe, supported by other countries in the region which can claim some legitimacy. Rightly or wrongly, too much Western interference runs the risk of being seen as imperialism. Sun 07 Dec 2008 18:18:01 GMT+1 nevinc http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=74#comment215 205 robloop: As a Canadian who grew up in Zimbabwe, and with many white Zimbabwean friends, I must agree with others that you have no idea what you are talking about. South Africa, for all its problems, is not Zimbabwe, and probably will not be. Detestable as Jacob Zuma is, it is highly significant that his election was opposed by Mbeki and other ANC higher-ups--but he won anyway. That only happens in a democracy. It certainly would not happen in Zimbabwe. And now the ANC has split, and it looks like there may be a real opposition in South Africa (which is more than we can say in Canada at the moment!). Sounds like good democracy to me. Of course, it's always possible that someone will come along and try to change the constitution and stay in power indefinitely, but I doubt South Africans would let it fly--the civil institutions in the country are too strong. As Nick-Gotts pointed out, Zimbabwe is probably headed towards real democracy itself, and if you look at global trends, many more countries are moving from autocracy to democracy than the other way around. Sun 07 Dec 2008 18:06:20 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=74#comment214 "There is seldom honest discussion, instead a lot of dishonest pretence."Too true.So try startingdishonest pretence would be denying your heritage to win an argument . Sun 07 Dec 2008 16:08:41 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=73#comment213 211 angloQuebecer they are for many companies but if you say worked construction , landscaping, welding you better be working for a "big Boy" outfit,or a generous boss.If you are a state employee you get them. if you are a federal employee you get them.If you work for smith food processing lets say you will notI have not been paid for 1 hour of time that I did not work in the US .That is why I support Unions. the rights of unorganised workers here suck.On the holiday pay that you can decide when to take , again no company has to provide anything. In the UK and europe Law says pay the guy his vacation time.That is what I wonder about Canada . Is there a nationally mandated amount of holiday that has to be given to employees. Sun 07 Dec 2008 16:00:35 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=73#comment212 205. At 3:09pm on 07 Dec 2008, robloop wrote:#193 TruetooThe sad part is that Mandela's "Rainbow nation" has become a 'Rambo nation' (as one publication coined it), with crime and corruption absolutely ballistic. Murder, rape and robbery are at 'world-class' levels. You can be murdered for a cell-phone or get a bullet through the brain for not exiting your car quickly enough during a car hijacking. This particularly crime is far worse in some parts of the country than in others."But you no longer get a bullet in the back for being the wrong colour, and you can no longer get arrested for marrying the wrong colour Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:58:21 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=73#comment211 192. At 05:10am on 07 Dec 2008, robloop wrote:#187 AsaScotA half-baked question followed by a comment that doesn't exempt you from appearing a provocative ass for no good reason! Back to the same old rubbish Asa! You've picked up on happylaze's irrelevant question in 166 and I have no intention of answering for the actions of others. Rob LoopHow is it irrelevent to your comments that included many comments about other races?Is it irrelevent to consider that maybe someone brought up in a country where blacks were third class citizens and treated like cattle, that fought against the freedom for these people so hard, might not be the most impartial racially tolerant person when they are making the comments You make.You appear not as a "provocative ass"but you do appear to be a racist ass.Oh and at what stage did I say Boers were racists?Are they not" Farmers".You took offence quickly.Then you certainly did nothing to suggest you were not. Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:53:41 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=72#comment210 Interestedforeigner:I think what is "confusing" to some voters is the fact that instead of the three opposition parties looking at each other, saying "this Economic Update is an outrage" and voting it and the government down - then forming a coalition to present to the GG, they instead did it the other way around. I believe they reasoned this would be more upfront and not viewed as back room dealing. Bit ironic that's what they are being accused of.Sounds honourable to me.What is your take on the order in which this was done? 202 happylazeDo you mean to tell me that all the American holidays we hear about - President's Day, Memorial Day, two days off for Thanksgiving, etc... are not nationally paid holidays??? Here I was sitting in the Great White North thinking, Wow if only we had as many holidays as the States. Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:49:55 GMT+1 Nick-Gotts http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=72#comment209 "So pardon me if my faith in the'international community' - with its selective 'concerns' - is zero should South Africa follow the Zimbabwe route." - robloopYou're clearly longing for it to happen, because you think that would prove your racism justified. Wrong. Mugabe's crimes do not retrospectively justify Smith's; Mbeki's spinelessness over Mugabe and idiocy over Aids do not retrospectively justify apartheid, nor would the appearance of a Mugabe-style tyrant in South Africa.Both South Africa and Zimbabwe have long histories of violence, oppression and gross racial inequality which may take generations to overcome, as do most southern African states. However, all is not bleak. Mugabe is opposed by a coherent internal political force - in other words, there is an alternative, and his rule is probably nearing its end: the army itself is now suffering the consequences of economic breakdown. South Africans will get another opportunity to freely elect their government next year. Most of the countries of southern Africa are now functioning democracies, although still with many and serious problems. Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:47:39 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=72#comment208 205 So where are the squatter towns for white these days?Are whites allowed to the same schools?Are whites systematically beaten up by Black cops? Where is the white leader in jail?Well sad to see a discussion on Canada has been sidetracked all the way to Zim by people who both claim to not be racists.But really do seem to have some issues on race.Back to the discussion guys. And leave off the immigration hating rhetoric.That was all I was saying.Border security got more strict between America and EVERY nation.that was the result of 9/11.At some stage the Homeland people finally figured out that the N and S border were porous and that having extra security for plane travellers just meant future terrorist might try getting over the border.Thus they set about trying to tighten that up.Nothing to do with Mexicans or people living in Canada not fitting in and all wearing maple leaves and saying EH?But carry on looking for nice things to say about other cultures guys, "No bigots here" Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:44:12 GMT+1 dbithead http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=71#comment207 While Canada seems to hold more elections than Italy per year it is good to keep politicians on their toes. That being said, this constitutional crises is really a media circus and nothing more.The real issues are: do we really need public funding for politicians? Allowing the public sector the right to strike, is in essence, giving them free-reign to screw up our daily lives whenever they wish. Nobody but the general public is victimised by such strikes.MA: Your wonderfully high-brow contribution in #27 has enlightened me to your rapier wit and cunning charm. Unfortunately there are no discussions on guns, religion or American cars here. There is a story on the Detroit big three budget crises on this very site though - deadhead Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:33:54 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=71#comment206 193. At 07:57am on 07 Dec 2008, TrueToo wrote:Question is, will the wonderful New South Africa, the "Rainbow Nation" dreamed of by Nelson Mandela, be able to arrest its own steady deterioration, or will it turn out to be yet another failed experiment in African self-rule? And if it begins a practically irreversible slide down the drain, at what point will the 'international community' sit up and take notice, as it is now belatedly doing regarding Zimbabwe?He say's he is not a boerPS failed African experimentS Africa under AparthiteZim under Brit rule.They failed because they are no longer there. If they had not failed they would still be there.Well how good did all those white folk do running the USA and Britain . Why is it another failed African experiment.What about the whole world going down at the moment.Failed african experiment indeed. Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:33:33 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=71#comment205 "#159, 164, 165 happylazeAt this rate you'll do yourself an injury! You demonstrated admirably the all too often Canadian-type neurosis toward criticism that I described earlier. I didn't say"Canada's a bad place", you did. You even ignored my comment about U.S. sloppiness over border security in the south."Let me address that then in a manner more obvious for you to understand.Which border did the 9/11 terrorists enter through and would heightened security at either of these borders have stopped the attacks?What the hell does Canada's acceptance of other people have to do with the attacks on the trade towers?How did sloppy border security with Mexico encourage 9/11.Why is it that Canada's (alledged) open attitude to people is responsible for terrorist attacks within the USA.What is the point in you post if not to make people think that there may be some fault attributed to the immigrants.Ahh you are in good company eh?"or will it turn out to be yet another failed experiment in African self-rule? " Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:27:48 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=70#comment204 #193 Truetoo The sad part is that Mandela's "Rainbow nation" has become a 'Rambo nation' (as one publication coined it), with crime and corruption absolutely ballistic. Murder, rape and robbery are at 'world-class' levels. You can be murdered for a cell-phone or get a bullet through the brain for not exiting your car quickly enough during a car hijacking. This particularly crime is far worse in some parts of the country than in others. And yet, despite that, if lucky you don't run into any trouble, but constantly take precautions and make your home a fortress. Apartheid racism has been replaced by ANC racism with a huge dose of amazing incompetence and ineffeciencyt thrown in for good measure. The harsh reality is that the astronomic levels of crime and corruption began when Mandela was president, and while I doubt he was behind it or that he wasn't concerned, he did nothing about it, not least, it has emerged, because he left running of the country to Thabo Mbeki. If South Africa "begins a practically irreversible slide down the drain", and there are ominous signs, I don't believe the'international community' will do anything until utter chaos reigns - as is happening over Zimbabwe. Even now it's action over Zim are tepid and ineffectual. It's more of the hand-wringing, 'what can we do?' variety! Pathetic! Jimmy Carter's comments about the situation are laughable. What he has 'discovered' existed weeks ago, and Mugabe is still in power, driving around like royalty in luxury cars surrounded by a large troop escort while everything around him falls apart. He has got to be insane - but no less than Idi Amin! The 'international community' has had years to do something constructive about Robert Mugabe, but chose to leave the matter to the Southern African Development Community - that left the matter up to the utterly useless Thabo M'beke, who simply created a totally unworkable compromise solution in an effort to save an old Marxist chum from ignominious surrender of power. The results are there for all to see, people starving, being murdered, dying of dysentry and cholera, and fleeing into neighbouring countries. Yet another African tragedy! Meanwhile the wondrous 'international community' has done nothing about issuing an arrest warrant for Robert Mubage for the genocide he perpetrated against the Ndabele people in Matabeland where his army's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade murder about 20,000 people, let alone the murders of white farmers, their labourers, and political opponents. Those butchers from the Balkans who landed up facing the World Court were not responsible for nearly as many murders as is Robert Mugabe, but evidently the 'international community's' rules for Africa differ from those they apply to Europe. So pardon me if my faith in the'international community' - with its selective 'concerns' - is zero should South Africa follow the Zimbabwe route. Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:09:48 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=70#comment203 Mr Loop why do you persist in trying to hide the truth.How on earth can you say the man is"unique" - in a special sense - when he hasn't yet in all his years in politics achieved anything of note - other than win the U.S. Presidential election .Well that is a pretty big achievement for a half black guy in America. I never heard of another one. Just before he ran so many said "no black guy is going to win the election".but he did.Good on him and Good luck he deserves it . As to" unique- in a special sense"He is the only Black(or half) American President.IN History.ONLY and Unique are pretty close. Sun 07 Dec 2008 15:06:17 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=70#comment202 187. , AsaScot wrote:#162 Robloop:"No, I'm not a "Boer", and if you alluded to all 'boers' being racists and supporting apartheid, you need to re-think your stereotyping. I have a few 'boer' friends who did not."And loop is not a dutch name either.LoopDutch: habitational name from de Loop (meaning ‘the watercourse’), in the province of Antwerp.So that would make him a" Boer" but really I had it wrong I meant Bore but my typing is not so good.I especially like the like misdirection in the I'm not a "Boer" comment because it does not deny that he is in fact a boer just that he is not a "boer" Not seeming to have much of a different attitude to other races as I started by quoting. Sun 07 Dec 2008 14:56:54 GMT+1 happylaze http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=69#comment201 186 yes I am saying there is no pay on Christmas day for many many employees. It is just a day when there is no work. that is the reality of america where there is NO guaranteed holiday. That is up to the boss. Sun 07 Dec 2008 14:45:41 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=69#comment200 197 Interestedforeigner:Thank you for your explanation re: IDI now realize I have no one but myself to blame. When Harper called his snap election I was so disgusted I did not pay close enough attention (as I normally do) since I did not have the stomach for it.I voted Liberal in an attempt to prevent a majority conservative government and did what I could to encourage others to do likewise. I even asked BQ voters which I thought was rather brave of me! It would appear not many took my advice!Having lived through two referendums I am well aware of voter intimidation and should have seen this for what it is. Thanks - you are a wealth of information.199 ukwales :Thank you again. It must be my approx. 1/64th Welsh blood! Sun 07 Dec 2008 14:26:36 GMT+1 Nick-Gotts http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=69#comment199 "While I mix very easily with most nationalities and races" - robloop@162Right. And I'm the God-Emperor of Xanthan Beta. Sun 07 Dec 2008 14:20:51 GMT+1 hms_shannon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=68#comment198 #186 Anglo Quebecer..You are not "nice".Just decent folk setting a high standard.Dont stop.. Sun 07 Dec 2008 14:17:27 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=68#comment197 194. Daniel: You write:"The opposition's attempt to overthrow the govornment comes less than two monthes after a federal election too, wher they suffered a humiliating defeat and the leader of the opposition planned to resign... now this. It is only logical that the opposition is desperately trying to grab power because they know that they can't get it demovratically; they would rather waste time in a crisis to gain power than save the people by backing down"Can you explain to me how the conduct of the Liberals and NDP is any less democratic than the conduct of the Conservatives?Were the Liberal and NDP members not also elected to Parliament?Do they not have the same right to vote in the House as the Conservative members?Has the rule been changed that requires the government to have the confidence of the House to govern?If you consider the previous comment on the voter ID law, you will see that Dion didn't actually do all that much worse that Paul Martin in 2006 once the effect of the ID law has been accounted for.Humiliating defeat, or not, they still have their seats and are entitled to vote the same as any other members of the House.188. Junkie.You write:"It looks to me as if the government have slightly more than half the voting population. ... "This is something run by Elections Canada with scrutineers ? In the last election run by Elections Canada, the parties of the coalition received substantially more votes than the Conservatives (44.4 % v. 37.6 %). If you add the Bloc on confidence motions it is 54.4 %, which is more than the Liberals got in 1992 when the PC's were reduced to 2 seats. If you add the Greens (who have also indicated support, but to what end other than making people feel warm and cuddly, I'm not sure) it is 62 %."Even looking at it from a neutral viewpoint, how can the coalition leaders say they have a mandate?"If that is a "neutral" viewpoint, I'd be afrad of your definition of "partisan".Be that as it may, they have just as much of a mandate as Stephen Harper. Maybe more.Neither Stephen Harper nor anybody else has the right to form a government unless they have the confidence of the majority of the members of the House. It's a really basic rule. It has been the Rule for a long, long time. Are you proposing to change the rules, and replace them with an unsupervised, ad hoc on-line petition?None of the parties in a minority House can govern unless they obtain the co-operation of other members. In the previous Parliament Harper often relied upon the co-operation of the Bloc. Given that the Liberals and NDP purport to have formed a coalition, the only way Harper can stay in office is with the support of the awful boogie-men S-E-P-A-R-A-T-I-S-T-S !!!! They're evil. Stephen Harper told me so.Did anybody "vote for" a Conservative government propped up by the Bloc? No more or less than they voted for the Liberals and NDP to work together and be propped up by the Bloc. It's the way Westminster Parliamentary systems work. Do you have a problem with that?"They can argue that they have a right to topple the government in a non-confidence vote in January, steal "the best bits" from Harpers budget and begin governing, but there will be still be angry people out on the streets saying that they didn't vote for a coalition.""Best bits"? What "Best bits"? LOL.I am a bit curious about what you define as the "best bits" of the Flaherty offerings. You wouldn't think there would be much demand for them. A basic proposition in a society governed by the rule of law is that we do not have mob rule. What about the 60+ % of voters who did not vote for the Conservatives? Should they take to the streets? Is that your idea of a rational approach in a democracy?When Pierre Trudeau was governing, there were an awful lot of angry people. When Brian Mulroney was governing, there were even more angry people. What do you propose as a better alternative than Parliament?"Bob Rae is having to embark on a tour to basically electioneer for support."And Stephen Harper isn't straining his every last fiber, the war chest of the Conservative party, its advertising organs, and any available resources of the federal government to do the opposite? What's your point?"I personally feel something is missing here. We know what platforms Harper ran on in September, but no-one knows the future policies of the coalition."Well, that isn't actually accurate. He didn't run on any platform in September. Harper didn't unveil a platform until October. He tried very hard not to be pinned down to any identifiable platform, but did put a great deal of effort into distorting the platforms of others, as pointed out most bluntly by Ms. May of the Greens, among others."It would also be good if all the leaders stood down, because they have lost all perspective and are blind with rage."The issue here is Stephen Harper's ego and career, nothing else. Another senior minister in the cabinet could step in and the crisis would be over. He needs to be a man and stop being so selfish.If you watched the debates in French and English, you will know that there are five leaders. Four of them get along and treat each other with respect. The fifth one needed to be sent to the Principal's office. Oh yes, he was there on Friday, and She let him off easy. You know the one - the guy who turtled. Squak, buq, buq, buq, buq. Squak ! There was a big demonstration of several thousand people in Toronto today, in favour of the coalition. At the same time, half a dozen blocks away there was a scraggly demonstration by less than 500 anti-coalition protesters (numbers estimated by the police, apparently). Does anyone believe that either event was (a) a clinical statistical sampling of public opinion; or (b) a basis for not adhering to the rules governing our Parliamentary system?Junkie, or Stephen, if that's your name, either you believe in democracy, or you don't.If you believe in democracy, you play by the Rules, and you play fair.You don't try to prevent other people from voting by rigging the Elections Act to require voter photo ID. You don't shout other people down, which is what happens when only one party has money to advertise. You don't engage in character assassination, whether of Joe Clark or Stephan Dion, or anyone else. You don't distort facts and count on most voters not knowing any better. You don't sceam about coups or seizing power, or undemocratic ploys or "illegal" acts when you know very well that they are nothing of the kind. You don't impose a gag rule on candidates running for public office. You have respect for others. Because sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. If you expect others to abide by the law when you win, you have to abide by the law when you don't win. We believe in "Peace, Order and Good Government", and you can't have any of those things without fair play. It may seem silly to you, or naive, but some of us value those things rather highly. There's a really good book you might read. Its called "The Government of Canada" by R. MacGregor Dawson. U of T Press. The issue this week was about the strength of the institutions of Canada's democracy. That's what Prof. Hogg spent Friday morning trying to defend. Its what Robert Sharpe, Brian Dickson, Bora Laskin, Antonio Lamer, Stanley Knowles and many others have dedicated their lives to defending. Perhaps you might think on that. If you don't know who these people are, and were, perhaps you might look them up. You won't be sorry for having done it. Sun 07 Dec 2008 09:43:58 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=68#comment196 186. Anglo: The photo ID lawThere were people turned away from the polls this time because of the new photo ID law, even when there was no doubt that they were who they purported to be. Voting is a basic right in our society, it defines citizenship in a democracy. It's in the Charter. And yet it can be denied without any bona fide cause at the whim of the miserable bitter little woman appointed by the Conservatives as a scrutineer, who was determined to force every voter at the poll to show her their ID.There has not been a single documented instance of voter fraud in Canada. Both the current head of Elections Canada, Marc Mayrand, and the former head of elections Canada, Jean Pierre Kingsley, have confirmed this.In a democracy, we usually try to decrease barriers to voting, particularly given the long term trend toward low voter participation. We want citizens to take part in the democratic process. That participation, in and of itself, strengthens the institutions of a democracy. We genuinely want a government that reflects the "will of the people" as nearly as possible. We want to raise voter turnout, not curtail it.Yet Canada introduced a voter photo ID law "to prevent voter fraud".This is a direct import from the US. 24 states have such laws. They are the modern echo of Jim Crow laws. They are deliberately intended to increase the liklihood that poor people, immigrants who have difficulty speaking English, University students, people who move frequently, internal migrants, physically handicapped people, and anyone unlikely to have a driver's license, from voting. There are interesting local variations: in Alaska hunting or fishing licenses are adequate ID.They are deliberately designed to prevent or discourage people from voting. Why? Because the groups most likely to be prevented from voting overwhelmingly don't vote Republican. It has absolutely nothing to do with "voter fraud".The Conservatives copied the idea.Does it work? Well, if you go to this website, you can judge for yourself:http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/elections/polls.htmlThe actual election results were Conservatives 143 (37.6%), Liberals 77 (26.2%), Bloc 49 (10.0%), NDP 37 (18.2%), Independents 2, Greens 0As you will note, the errors from the actual results are, in a statistical sense comparatively rather large. They fall well outside the usual statistical error ranges. They all fall to one side of the actual result. They are typically off by more than 10 seats for both the Liberals and the Conservatives. The usual error is less than 3 seats, and it should be random, not all to one side.In Saskatchewan, the last big poll before election day had 800 respondents, five days before the poll. It should have had good accuracy. It gave the Conservatives 40 % support, and the NDP 35 % support. The actual result on October 14 was 53 % to 25 %, or roughly 4 times the standard 19-times-out-of 20 range. Subsequent smaller polls by Ekos were closer, but still a fair way off, and Ekos, in my view, tends usually to overshoot on Conservative support, and undershoot on Liberal and NDP support.The Conservatives gained 18 seats in the election on October 18, 2008. How much do you bet that the margin of victory in most of those seats is smaller than the 4 or 5 % relative bump (of those votes actually cast) the Conservatives appear to have obtained? People point to the low turnout, and blame those who didn't vote. Do you believe that a reduction in voter turnout from 2006 to 2008 of almost 5 % was probable as a random event? Do you believe that people were apathetic about the October 14 election? It sure didn't seem that way.Yet the decrease in voter participation (4-5 % of all eligible voters, roughly from 66 % to 61+ %) is entirely consistent with the object of introducing the voter photo ID law, and appears to bear out a study by at least one set of researchers. This is dirty pool. The voter photo ID law needs to be repealed, or struck down on a Constitutional challenge. Sun 07 Dec 2008 09:24:57 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=67#comment195 76. Robloop.Your point cites the Toronto Star and the CBC.First comment: Ever watch US News? Fox and CNN are the worst, but if you are waiting to see or hear non-US news, well, you better not blink. But if you want endless wall to wall coverage of events of earth shattering importance like Michael Jackson's trial, or Britney Spears or Paris Hilton, ...I'd say the best US news service, by a mile, is MacNeil Lehrer.Second: Note that your two examples are both based in Toronto. Need I say more? One the first day of WWII, the main headline in the Toronto Star was about a three-alarm fire. Parochialism-R-Us.The CBC actually does not a bad job of serving its national mandate as a public broadcaster, particularly when compared to the commercial networks. For example, the local CTV presenter always reminds me of Kent Brockman, except worse. But for international news there's nothing like the BBC World Service. Sounds like shameless kiss-ass pandering, doesn't it?Enough of that. Sun 07 Dec 2008 09:20:08 GMT+1 lorcanlea http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=67#comment194 It is interesting to note that the same conservatives that now condem the Liberals for joining with the NDP and Bloc are the same conservatives that did exactly the same thing with exactly the same people for exactly the same purpose in 2000 and 2004. Today the conservatives quietly say that was different. They are exactly right, the difference, the Liberals were the government.On President Obama, he appears to be a statesman like person and if I were an American I would likely have voted for him. As far as wanting an Obama for Prime Minister, at my age I caution, be careful what you wish for. Sun 07 Dec 2008 09:01:47 GMT+1 DanielKostov http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=67#comment193 For those who look at Canada from outsides and think of the situation as "interesting" or something of the sort, keep in mind the Canadian perspective: This is downright scary! Nothing like this has happened for a long time, this situation is a threat to our national unity, democracy, civil order, and peace in general. It is wasting alot of time during testing times as well. The opposition's attempt to overthrow the govornment comes less than two monthes after a federal election too, wher they suffered a humiliating defeat and the leader of the opposition planned to resign... now this. It is only logical that the opposition is desperately trying to grab power because they know that they can't get it demovratically; they would rather waste time in a crisis to gain power than save the people by backing down. Sun 07 Dec 2008 08:45:47 GMT+1 TrueToo http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=66#comment192 Question is, will the wonderful New South Africa, the "Rainbow Nation" dreamed of by Nelson Mandela, be able to arrest its own steady deterioration, or will it turn out to be yet another failed experiment in African self-rule? And if it begins a practically irreversible slide down the drain, at what point will the 'international community' sit up and take notice, as it is now belatedly doing regarding Zimbabwe?(No, I'm not a Boer.) Sun 07 Dec 2008 07:57:26 GMT+1 robloop http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=66#comment191 #187 AsaScot A half-baked question followed by a comment that doesn't exempt you from appearing a provocative ass for no good reason! Back to the same old rubbish Asa! You've picked up on happylaze's irrelevant question in 166 and I have no intention of answering for the actions of others. Sun 07 Dec 2008 05:10:44 GMT+1 AngloQuebecer http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=65#comment190 189 Ptrsln:I'm a Montrealer.It is one thing to make the effort to understand the position of the Nationalists in this province, but the irrational rants on the CBC site from Conservatives - I find very discouraging. What can we do, other than vote on Monday and "take to the streets" in true Quebec fashion, when necessary. Sun 07 Dec 2008 02:57:32 GMT+1 Nerroth2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=65#comment189 John-in-Dublin:Hi.As an Irishman myself, one who has become a landed immigrant here in Canada (and thus not coming from a country which seemingly isn't good enough for some here to want to have people arrive here from, it seems... nowadays, at least) I figured it might be worth noting one significant difference between how the current system here is compared to back home - the lack of PR-STV.We're used to governing coalitions and such in Ireland because we actually have a reasonably fair system of proportional representation - so even if I don't agree with a given choice of government (I'm not a fan of FF, personally) I can't argue that they, along with their current coalition partners represent, more or less, a fair proportion of the Irish voting electorate. However, in Canada, both federally and provincially, the first-past-the-post system they use at Westminster (but not at Holyrood or Stormont, thankfully - both use STV) is echoed here - so not only can certain parties end up with an unfairly large number of seats in the Canadian House of Commons, but smaller parties often end up squeezed out altogether.(For example, with a not-overly-dissimilar percentage of the vote, the Irish Greens have 6 TDs out of 166, the Canadian Greens have no MPs at all. Even larger parties like the NDP are relatively constrained, in contrast to the share that their counterparts in the Irish Labour Party usually get at election time.)Hopefully, one day, there will be STV, or another PR system introduced over here. Indeed, BC had a referendum on STV which passed, but 'not by enough', and thus will have a re-run this May during the provincial election - and with luck, if it passes, it just might help spread the idea here that STV might actually be a good idea.Oh, and another thing worth noting is how poor a job the various media outlets (in English Canada, at least - not so sure on the French ones) do regarding informing people of what could be used as bases of comparison from outside of the United States. So, the chances that most people will hear about the examples of PR used elsewhere (including in our own generally Westminster-style Dáil Éireann) are, to put it mildly, slim on he ground... ...as is the part about how nationalist parties from places like Catalonia and the Basque country get themselves elected - and holding a degree of influence - in the Spanish Cortes, yet without the sky falling all around them.But then, when I was living in Ireland, I was bothered by how few other people knew, or cared, about Canada, so I guess I'm hamstrung either way!All the same, I would be thrilled if at least one major paper here was owned by an independent trust, the way the Irish Times and the Guardian are - as opposed to being up for grabs by various media conglomerates... - and that was actually bilingual. The cultural divide between French and English Canada can best be tackled through mutual understanding, and that's hard to do when the two media cultures don't try to cross-pollinate the way they should. Or, at least, the way they did when CBC and Radio-Canada worked together to make the documentary series Canada: A People's History (or Le Canada: Une Histoire Populaire, of you prefer) - a fine series that showed what Canadians of each major linguistic group can accomplish when they work together. Sun 07 Dec 2008 02:34:54 GMT+1 Ptrsln http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/12/like_most_of_you_i.html?page=65#comment188 AngloQuebecer:I agree rep by pop is overdue, I'm just offering a reason for why it isn't here yet. Of course, the BQ are not the only opponents of rep by pop. Both the Conservatives and Liberals have had majority governments without a majority of popular support. Neither would want to lose that power. In fact, you have to go back to 1984 to find a government which had a majority of canadians vote for it, and even then they had only 50.03% of the vote.By the way, I'm an anglophone Quebecer myself. Which part of the province are you from? Sat 06 Dec 2008 23:51:54 GMT+1