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February 27, 2012


I did hear some rumours that Michael Sona had been offered a contributor position at the Sun News Network as well as a seat in the Senate.

As I say, probably just rumours.

But after being thrown under the bus and run over multiple times the guy deserves something!

If he ends up getting jail time, he'll deserve the Order of Canada and a Presidential Pardon.

What do you mean, we don't have a President?

Hi Scott,

Did you manage to contact Marty Burke?

There are rumours that he may hang out here and on other blogs anonymously.


I've been a bit out of the loop on this story (and most others) for the past couple of weeks, but I do not believe Marty has had much to say to us or anyone else.

I heard a rumour that Marty is unable to come to the phone for comment because of an old back injury from his days in the military.

Im sure the rumours that Marty Burke posts here under a certain alias are baseless. Marty was a Captain in the air force, not a Colonel. As Colonel is two full ranks above Captain, it would be unacceptable for a military veteran to use an unauthorized rank. So, Im certain CrumpyOldColonel cannot be Marty Burke.

And Im equally certain that Cam Guthrie was just chatting about the weather with Michael Sona in this photo. Nothing untoward there, folks. Cam, like Marty, is an honourable guy.

From the Globe (which usually shills for harper gov):

"The Elections Canada probe into fraudulent phone calls in the Ontario riding of Guelph is focused on one or more individuals directly linked to the Conservative Party, court records show."

This thing is starting to take on a life of its own, and one wouldn't be surprised if the individuals in question were the handlers of local candidates (the same Conservatives that tried to declare the Guelph University votes illegitimate and lied about who they were to try and steal the ballot box!).

This thing does not look to be the machinations of "rogue operatives", but a widespread, organized attempt at electoral fraud.

"Adscam" hardly comes up from the Cons anymore. I wonder if it could be because, in this case, it's a case study and precedent (Gomery) they don't want to revisit?

I'm starting to realize that a "Like" button that was only available to people who post regularly on this blog could be a good thing.

Cheers, D.C.!

Some people here still seem to think, incorrectly, that I'm Marty Burke.

Thank you.

It would seem Mr. Sona was mis-mentored somewhere along his career. He probably would have been more effective and in a lot less trouble right now if he'd sent out those postcards the non-partisan Guelph Civic League sent out to households ward by ward on the heels of the 2006 election.

Drop me a line -- craigchamberlain@rogers.com


I'm not sure how many degrees of separation there are between you and Marty Burke... but you, sure as heck, sound as if you are channelling him.

Oh my gosh, Ive made a terrible mistake ... I got confused about GOC's rank. I was the one who incorrectly assigned him the much higher rank of Colonel. When in fact he was a Corporal, which is indeed much much lower than Marty Burke's rank of Captain and not even close to the Colonel I thought he was. Darn me.

There was only ever one real Grumpy Old Colonel: http://bit.ly/ula5xL

No, no, no, ernie. The REAL Grumpy Old Colonel is here: http://tinyurl.com/252lbj

Don't salute me: I work for a living.

Corporal's the best rank in the army: a cushy job with minimum responsibility but plenty of impact, a nice paycheque and a nifty benefit package.

I read quite a bit of what Marty had to say last election. Never met the man, but from his writing I thought he was direct, to-the-point, and unafraid of being punished for speaking truth.

And look what that got him.

In contrast, 'ol Tellumwhattheywannahear got a cushy job with no responsibility and no impact, but a nice paycheque and a nifty benefit package.

Here's to another five years. Of irrelevance.

...and yet we feel so much better about just that, GOC. I would be afraid for Guelph if Mr. Burke was speaking for us. Square peg in a round hole.

Greg, you have a point. The majority of left leaning, pie-in-the-sky, free spending, nanny state liberals in Guelph deserve to be represented by a left leaning, pie-in-the-sky, free spending, nanny state Liberal MP.

By the same logic, a majority of ridings chose to be represented by the party of Marty Burke, and while I'm profoundly uncomfortable being represented by this particular Liberal, I'd have been far more uncomfortable with an Ignatieff government, or Gods forbid, a Liberal NDP coalition.

Isn't democracy wonderful!

I live in fear of the day the NDP finally learn to add. Shortly thereafter they'll join the Liberals, win a string of elections, and I'll be moving to Greece for the comparatively excellent fiscal management.

Your talking points are well rehearsed...or should I say, well received and regurgitated from head office.

Democracy IS wonderful, we're just not seeing it from your far right friends. Perhaps you would be more comfortable in a socially regressive dictatorship than our former "pie-in-the-sky, nanny state".

...and after all this, you peg the left with free-spending issues and poor fiscal management? really?

Guelph Greg;
What brand of coffee are you drinking?
In a recession period Mayor Farbridge enploys more people on rhe public payroll!
The far left perspective that you seem to support is one of jobs for Karen's cronies, whether we need rhem or not.
Why did the City piss away $16 millions or more on a Civic Museum, of which 25% of the space was dedicated to children and build a Museum of over 50,000 sq ft when all the Museum wanted was 25,000 sq, ft?
When the Library that was to be built in 2009 was deferred indefinitely from the ten year plan without one howl from the Fiends of Guelph Library including the TORY Rink Rat KEN HAMIL and his wife who sat on the Library Board. Remember these are the people who shat on the Council that deferred the Library Construction until 2009. But not one of the activists objected when the Farbridge supporters objected when it was taken off the ten year CapitaL Projects Horizon! And you the taxpayer were totally asleep!
Taxpayers you relly need to wake up!

Has anyone, ANYONE, beside me had a really close look at the proposed 2012 budget? I have, page by page, as I did with last year's. I am appalled at what has been put forth. I have just cracked the surface, looking at the salaries and benefits for each department. Go have a look at what we are going to have to cover with our taxes as far as raises go.
As for the City Hall and Museum and many other projects, just try to get a full accounting of start to finish costs. I realize council has a tough job, but so do we citizens paying for it!!

What do you object to in the budget, Booker? Can you provide some specific examples? Thanks.

Two other questions that need to be answered:
What was the $37.5 million from the Hydro note used on?
What is the true amount of the City debt load, the figure seems to be around $118 million according to some sources. On top of that, what about including a section on the money that is borrowed from reserves and MUST be repaid sooner or later. This "borrowimg" looks like a hidden debt to me and in my opinion manages to stay under the "radar screen". That does not strike me as prudent financial management.

Thanks for raising the project cost issues. It would be nice to see Project completion reports wih a variance report from the original budget. Don't hold your breath waiting for such a report.

Greg: If my points are from head office, I must be head office. I came up with that in five minutes over lunch.

How kind of you to compliment my writing by saying that my simple little post compares favourably with those issued from a national campaign HQ.

Thank you! Everyone on this blog is so complimentary lately!

GOC, based on the utterly pathetic and desperate response to the robocon scandal emanating from the Con National HQ, I wouldn't have taken that jab from Greg as a compliment.

I love how the Mercury dug out this old photo and try and tie Guthrie to it. Another brutal performance by the Mercury. At this rate, most of the staff will be working at City Hall, for a year or two, and then given the big severance. Lets see if we can find one of Cam and Karen! That probably wont happen, unless she was reading to him when he was in kindergarden.

I rather thought the Opposition and CBC flogging of this non-issue was both pathetic and desperate.

As the Liberals can attest, it's more than possible for some rogue staffer to make a big mess without support from the national organization.

I notice that the tories gracefully accepted Bob Rae's explanation and apology, then handsomely apologized to the NDP for thinking it was them. Haven't heard anything about that particular Liberal's malicious dirty trick since.

In contrast, the opposition are falling all over themselves to spout accusations every which way, without evidence, trying to tie the robocalls, not to some overzealous miscreant in the tory organization, but to the national campaign. To the point where they're getting sued.

We'll see who's right on this one, once the investigations conclude.

I look forward to the apologies.

How about the 31000 and counting complaints to Elections Canada? Is that pathetic and desperate? Are those Canadians pathetic and desperate? Are you calling them all liars? How about the official story that keeps changing out of the Con National Spin Machine? How about the Con accusations that the Liberals used American firms to conduct their campaign calls? Whoops - wrong on that one, and whoops again, it was in fact the Cons that actually used American firms even though Stephen Harper flatly denied it in the HOC only the day before. How about the multiple call center workers at RMG in Thunder Bay that complained to EC that they were misleading voters? How about the fact that the EC investigation is in fact, going to Thunder Bay to RMG and the Cons are apparently at this very moment, listening to EVERY SINGLE CALL placed by RMG on their behalf during the campaign? How about the fact that the Cons are the only Party charged with Elections violations for the In and Out Scandal and pled guilty to the same? Example after example after example point to the Cons hatred of the Liberal Party and their attempts to destroy it. Example after example after example point to the Cons belief that they are above the law and procedural rules of the HOC. Who had motive, money and the access to lists of voters across the entire nation? Lone rogue operatives? LOL. Sure - pull this leg and it will play Jingle Bells.

GOC, it's ironic, surprising and truly sad that you would call ELECTORAL FRAUD a non-issue. Afterall, it was in the defence of our democracy that you supposedly wore the uniform and volunteered to defend our nation. It would seem to me that any person that truly loves this country, would want to see the people responsible for these crimes, brought to justice. These criminals are in fact, traitors to Canada and all Canadians, especially the brave men and women who went before you to fight and die for our right to a free and fair election.

Concerned Guelphite - You are one of a kind. How about we list all the wonderful things the Liberals, NDP'ers and other social parties have done. I am not saying the conservatives are saints and in fact it seems all political parties have some pretty ugly skeletons in their closets. It does seem though that you have a hate on for the "Cons". Get off the band wagon and if you don't like it, do something about it. You just seem to whine here.

Hey Jim, prior to my dislike for Harper and his party, I actually voted for him in every election until this one. I also had a major dislike for Chretien's party and the Adscam scandal that took them down. Don't try and paint me with some broad brush because you couldn't be more wrong. I want Harper to live up to the "open, honest, ethical and transparent" government he preached and promised while in opposition. He sure as heck forgot all about that in short order once he seized the reins of power.

Jim if you have evidence that the Libs or NDP have committed electoral fraud, then yes, I would like you to list them.
I worked as a Deputy Returning Officer in this last federal election and personally talked to several voters who received these calls, drove all the way out to the fake replacement polling station to find nothing, and then drove to the original station to find it open. Thank goodness they bothered to go through all that just to cast a vote, but how many didn't because they gave up after going to the fake polls?
I can tell you I was disgusted that someone did this. The fact that declared Liberal supporters in ridings with close Lib/Con races seem to have been the targets of these calls points to the CPC and their supporters. The widespread nature and coordination suggests more than a rogue staffer.
Let the investigation take its course, but let's not deflect blame to other parties without reason.

Steve - I was not referring to electoral fraud. I was referring to governments in power in general. Remember the Rae days and education funding of that time. Monies sure didn't get to the schools themselves. Liberals and their spending habits! That's what I am referring to when I speak of skeletons in the closet.

Concerned Guelphite - Thank you I have a better idea of where you are coming from now. I don't disagree with you and find my frustration with spending habits of politicians in general, to be deplorable.

The CPC is guilty until proven REALLY, REALLY guilty, I guess. To echo Steve's comment, let's let the investigation take its course. But in the meantime, the "blame deflection", posturing, and the anti-con movements will continue unabated, and probably ramp-up considerably. Oh well, I guess the main issue of the next election has now been determined. Bye-bye environment, economy, regional concerns...

It's this kind of partisan bickering that enables this type of fraud to be perpetrated in the first place.

Logic and reason get lost in the noise.

I predict this issue will separate the true, thinking small-c conservatives from the blind Tory flag-wavers.

I hope you are right, Steve. In Guelph, I think many of the small-c's already abandoned the Tory ship last May when they refused to support Marty Burke causing him to lose by a huge margin.

DC - IIRC, the Con vote in Guelph remained virtually unchanged vs the 2008 election, whereas the Green vote in Guelph collapsed and went to Valeriote

Take a look at our current municipal government here in Guelph, brought to you by a 30% voter turnout, and then have a look at robogate and you have the strongest argument yet to make voting mandatory.

Geo, why don't you just make everything mandatory? Gonna come and fine me when I don't vote federally? Provincially? How about if I have plans in the 'States and miss the pre-poll next municipal election? School board? Sewage commission? If you're successful, I have a long list of things I think should be mandatory for you. Starting with military service.

Still hot on the mandatory everything bandwagon? No?

Thought not.

Well, now. We have Concerned Guelphite on the record accusing the Conservative organization of orchestrating election fraud.

And we have Elections Canada investigating.

When the results are in, Concerned, rest assured that we will revisit this issue.

See you then.

Sure thing Grumps. I figure I'm entitled to suspect someone, and I choose the group that is the only one with anything to gain by doing this. They are also the only ones with the motive, the money, AND the database to identify Lib and NDP supporters to be able to pull something like this off nationwide.

Hey, if Stephen Harper, Dean Del Mastro and various other backbenchers get to stand up everyday in the House of Commons on national TV and accuse everyone from Michael Sona, rogue operatives, third parties, the Liberals, Elections Canada, insert excuse du jour here, please excuse my indulgence of suspecting them to be the most obvious choice as prime suspect.

Whether or not they covered their tracks well enough to actually get definitively linked to the national scandal remains to be seen. If they were careful, they won't be linked. If they weren't, or slipped up even a tiny bit, well...

At any rate, it's nice to see you denounce Elections Fraud and to demand that those responsible be brought to justice.

I think mandatory military service is a good idea. If your country has a viable military then everybody should get a taste. As for being away when its time to vote, I think the digital era will take care of that.
Chill out GOC its just my opinion.

Just received this... great to see as many people out as possible. Please forward.

"Occupy Democracy Rally"

Sunday Mar 11th. We will meet in the St George's Square with signs and banners and walk to City Hall where we will gather at 2pm outside. We are working on getting some local people to say a few words each to support our democratic traditions and decry being used in the robo theft of democratic rights in Canada. We welcome the public to join us and show their support for strong parliamentary democracy and an end to the pilfering of our rights as Canadians.

Please make signs and bring everyone who cares about their rights!

I care about my rights. Strangely, it's people like Jan who cause me to worry about them.

Ugh. Geo, I was being sarcastic about military service. Leave it to you to make me eat my sarcasm.

The point, seeing that I have to spell it out, was that you probably don't want me making up a bunch of mandatory rules for you to follow. Get it?

Military service was the first thing that popped into my mind as something no entitled leftist would want to do.

In fact, I want no conscripts watching my back.

And I think limiting the vote to those willing to get up off the couch is a good thing.

It'd be nice when the people take the time to get off the couch and go to vote that someone doesn't send them to a non-existant polling station.

Come on Concerned. We are talking about municipal governments here. When was the last time we sent citizens to non existent polls? For that matter when was the last time we sent those that wanted to vote to a non existent poll that couldn't be figured out by the average citizen or wasn't reported and resolved prior to the close of the poll? How many votes are we actually missing Concerned? Oh ya, I forgot only 30% of this city felt it was necessary to voice their concerns. What a shame. If I remember correctly, Liberals are still in power here in Guelph.

Put it in perspective.

Huh? How is the robocall issue a municipal issue since it happened during a federal election. People most certainly were directed to non-existent polling stations. That's what the entire issue is about and that's what this thread is about! LOL What on earth are YOU talking about???

Get along, you guys.

Right on, Jim is tres confusee. This is about a Federal Riding, not a Municipal Election. But do not hold your breath waiting for an apology or admission of error by Jim, people like that are usually full of themselves. Or he is a minion of free spending Karen. How many of the $100k Klub in Guelph are her supporters? Starting with Dr. Lard - there are -----
Oh sugar I can't count that high!

I love the above picture which gives proof that Guthrie is a $10 Conservative. As one Tory told me, it only takes $10 to become a card carrying member of CPC, No that is not the same party that Alan Pickersgill ran for three times and it is not the current party that he professes to be a member of - NDP - No Damn Principles!. Just an example of the "anybody can be a member for $10 rule".
Back to my point - Why is it that two "Tories" Cam Guthrie and Toad Dennis - both card carrying CPC members - at least as of 2011 are snuggling up to the Mayor' Left Wing Agenda? Pathetic? Watch out you two there is a bus waiting for you too (TWO?). Sona Vabitch.

Apparently, Andrew Prescott cancelled a face to face meeting in Guelph with EC yesterday on the advice of his lawyer.


"On the advice of his lawyer"

Seems to me that this is the exact way this city is run.

Some local Conservatives now claim to have received pre-election calls critical of Marty Burke's anti-choice views. They seem to be suggesting that these calls are just as bad as the robo-calls that actively suppressed voting. It's a smoke screen and it's pathetic.

Steve - it's not a smokescreen. These were calls from the local Liberal campaign that also broke the rules:


If the Liberals are going to complain about allegedly illegal Conservative robo-calls, they better make sure their own robo-calls are legal as well.

What's good for the goose... and all that.

The Libs broke the rules, but the two types of calls aren't comparable. Influencing one's vote and preventing it from happening are two very different things, and this latest tactic is absolutely pathetic.

I guess Robert thinks that impersonating an Elections Canada official and sending people to non-existent polling stations is the same as not telling people who paid for a legititmate campaign call.

Give me a break. Way beyond pathetic. Anyone that truly believes that is a complete hack and is obviously incapable of thinking for themself.

Breaking the law is breaking the law. Period.

The Liberals have been riding high and pointing fingers at the Conservatives for breaking the Elections Act. Now, when it looks like one of their own has also breached the Elections Act, they say it's different. There may be a difference in degrees, but both parties have still broken the law.

BTW Concerned Guelphite - I am not and have never been a hack for any political party. I wonder why the personal attack was needed after making your point so eloquently. I was always taught to attack the point and not the person.

And we wonder why people are jaded when it comes to politics.

So jaywalking is the same as murder in your world Robert? Both are breaking the law, yes or no?

Again, give me a break. There is no comparison between the calls. Pathetic.

Sooooooo, Pierre Poutine is supposed to come forward tomorrow and talk with Elections Canada.


Looks like at least one mainstream media outlet agrees with me:


I particularly like this part:
"Rae and the Liberals are right to seek answers about this. But Rae was wrong to defend the robocall from Valeriote as 'a vigorous response to a specific issue.' Rae should realize that any attempt to sway voters that uses a bogus name and fails to identify the party affiliation behind it all is dishonest and in violation of Elections Canada rules. Such action discredits his party and makes their overheated claims of wrongdoing seem self-serving.

Perhaps the Liberals should reread the old saying about how ill-advised it is for people living in glass houses to throw stones."

As I said earlier, what's good for the goose...

Just checked the Mercury - looks like they agree with me as well:


Robert, why do you think Marty Burke refuses to comment on the serious allegations against his own campaign?

Also, why do you think Marty Burke's deputy campaign manager Andrew Prescott refused to meet with Elections Canada officials over the serious allegations made against him?

When you watch an instant replay of a disputed goal in a hockey game, whether or not the puck crosses the line depends entirely on what team you cheer for. Robert White and the KW Record cheer for the blue team.

As Marty Burke has finally spoken with an e-mail to the Mercury, the Mercury should be pushing much harder for the interview that all Guelph wants to hear.

What does Marty Burke know? He needs to be asked why two of his campaign staff, Prescott, and, now, Sona have lawyered up.

Are they involved in the alleged conspiracy to suppress the vote in Guelph?

If Marty refuses to speak again after engaging the Merc via the e-mail, then we should get to hear about that too. Communication is a two-way street.

Reporting should be about more than just printing e-mails and asking former candidates inane questions about by-elections.


Anyone who has been reading The Record, The Mercury or The Toronto Star (their parent paper) knows that they do not cheer for the Blue Team. In fact, over the years, the Toronto Star has been criticized for being an unreserved mouthpiece for the Red Team. To see today's editorial in The Record and The Mercury was unexpected because of their critique of the Red Team.

As for me, I've never cheered for any coloured team. I have voted for a variety of parties throughout my voting life, and have never been a member of any political party. In fact, my career choice has forced me to be a neutral observer and I've criticized all parties at one point in time or another.

Hey Serious -First off I do admit I made a mistake above. Secondly, get your ___d out of _ r __S. Never have I supported Farbridge and the league of 8. Might even suggest that you have a look in the mirror and your own postings to see who is full of themselves.

You guys go ahead and cheer for team red or team blue. Myself and all other rational Canadians are cheering for Team Canada. Our democracy came under attack during the last election and we need answers as to who is responsible.

We need a judicial inquiry ASAP

At the very least this misadventure should spell the end of automated calling by all the political parties.
If you want to share your vision of the future with me then get off your duff and knock on my door.

Were I a young staffer accused of something I hadn't done, I'd lawyer up too.

But in Jan's world, lawyering up is considered an admission of guilt.

Given the revelations about our MP's own set of pre-election robocalls, maybe Valeriote ought to lawyer up.

When he does, will that be an admission of guilt, or does that standard apply only to Conservatives?

Man, am I glad Jan doesn't make decisions for the rest of us.

Hey Grumpy. I've missed you too!

But you know something... I think we've found something we both agree on.

Frank Valeriote was wrong to put out a robocall without identifying that it came from his campaign even if the facts in the robocall are indisputable - Marty Burke does not believe in abortion under any circumstance.

Frank has already apologized for letting the robocall go out without identification. I even had a chance to have a chat with him about it at the weekend. Something I have never ever managed to do with Marty Burke (despite multiple requests).

Indeed Marty prefers to only interact with the media on his terms which is the point I was making.

But if there is nothing to hide, and, if by speaking he can clear his young staffers, shouldn't he be doing it?

For the record, I do not like robocalls, period, and would prefer to see their use banned during election campaigns. If they cannot be banned then their use should be tightly controlled and monitored.

The Liberals in Guelph did not, to my mind, behave appropriately with the use of their robocall.

Neither did the person or people responsible for the robocalls that were intended to mislead the voters on election day.

We really do need a public inquiry to get to the bottom of these issues and ensure that our elections are not mired in this sort of bottom-feeder politics in the future.

This sort of behaviour is actually one of the most effective forms of voter suppression there is, far more successful than misleading voters with respect to polling places.

As we face lower and lower turnouts with each election, something must be done. We need a full independent inquiry into the way the 2011 federal election was held, with particular reference to the use of robocalls and telemarketing.

This is not about any one particular party. It is about our democracy. Guelph, and Canada, deserve so much better.

So won't you join me and others in calling for a royal commission to look into this issue?


Jan = right. grumpy = zero. Comparing what Frank did to misleading and discouraging people from voting is a false equivalence. Period. If you can't see this, you should be in "thinking jail".

To add to this, its not the consequences here that matter, but the intent. Specifically, the intent to commit election fraud.

Another good point by Jan is this:
"But if there is nothing to hide, and, if by speaking he can clear his young staffers, shouldn't he be doing it?"

Isn't it hilarious how you always hear the "if you've nothing to hide" line from right-wingers when they come for our civil liberties, but balk when tables are turned on them? Could it be mainly because these people are the biggest hypocrites on the planet?

Lets also not forget this is not the first time Elections Canada has been compelled to investigate Canada's Conservative party. As recent as February 2011, they pressed charges against four Conservative Party senators who had led Stephen Harper's electoral campaigns in 2006 and 2008. On that occasion the Conservatives pled guilty in court and paid a fine of $52,000.

Isn't it funny that the lefties always whine about having words put in their mouth, then turn around and do the same thing?

Can it be because these people are the biggest hypocrites on the planet?

For the Sesame Street crowd: the question was: Would I support a royal commission? The answer was no.

Royal commissions are huge, wasteful, and slow. Just the kind of waste I'm consistently against. Had you bothered to think even a moment, you would have caught that, Ernie.

Elections Canada investigation? Absolutely. It should investigate all the violations of election law--by all parties.

If it's a violation of Elections Canada rules, then EC should investigate. If it's a criminal violation of law, then RCMP or other police force should investigate. If the scope and applicability of current legislation is in question, then there should be a royal commission.
It may eventually turn out to be all three.

Poutine's phone called over 5000 people in Guelph and it looks as if a CIMS "non-supporter" list was used to get the numbers.

"The fraudulent calls that misdirected voters across Canada are grounds “for a f–king huge investigation,” Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff said in an email to a reporter this week."


Hopefully a f–king huge investigation will ensue. Hopefully it will lead to a long-term solution so that this never happens again. Even more hopefully that we are not governed again by these scoundrels for a long, long time.

The Conservative party is the party representing the interests of powerful stakeholders who wish their interests to be represented in law (*). It is in the interests such people to have such a party in power. It is a logical consequence that they will use any means possible to get this party into power.

Owen Jones said of the granddaddy English Conservative Party, quoting a speaker at his college: "What you have to realise about the Conservative party is that it is a coalition of privileged interests. Its main purpose is to defend that privilege. And the way it wins elections is by giving just enough to just enough other people."

"Blue Bloods". That is their mentality.

(*) Contrast e.g. philosophical libertarians who in principle (at least) will not want the government to give them special favours.

Well, ernie, the Conservatives didn't get elected by themselves. And Canada doesn't have that many "blue bloods" to get them elected with a majority government, either. So, who elected them to govern, ernie?
I guess a better question would be: electoral reform, anybody?

OK, let's reform towards a system that includes the "election" of pretty much unaccountable party hacks pulled from the top of each party's list of candidates. Just in case we were looking to build a bit more elitism into the party system.

No thanks.

How would you know, Ernie?

Maybe, some people looked at the platform and thought it made sense. Maybe they were sick of Liberal sponsorship corruption. Maybe they were against the gun registry, wasting money, or hanging the military out to dry. Maybe, just maybe, voters are smart enough to make their own decisions, on issues, and did so.

All I see is a soon-to-be-caught not-very-successful wannabe election rigger, and a really, really big pile of sour grapes.

Craig, I'm surprised. You jumped to a pretty hasty assumption on an idea of electoral reform. I'm no expert, but surely there are alternatives to the "unaccountable party hacks" scenario?

Craig, I'm surprised that you jumped to that, too. That's a pretty jaded view of Electoral Reform.

There are plenty of resources on the internet for those interested in electoral reform.

Two good places to start would be:
Fair Vote Canada


Democracy Watch

We've covered the issue on CFRU 93.3fm's Beyond the Ballot Box (Monday 7-9 a.m.) a few times and have had interviews with folk from both Fair Vote Canada and Democracy Watch.

Unfortunately those interviews are no longer online but we are working to put them back.

If you have to make up for %'s of popular vote that are not achieved in the riding results, where do those reps come from? To whom are they actually accountable?

Scientific American did a good report on the math behind election counting methods. I tend to favour what's called a Borda count- in which one ranks candidates in order on the ballot. If your first choice is eliminated, your vote goes to your second choice, and so on. Not perfect, but better.

The problem with most of the methods is that they will result in a larger number of parties represented, and more minority governments. This can be good in moderation, but can also result in a lot of deadlocks, an inability to make and execute long-term plans, reluctance to make unpopular decisions, and small minorities having disproportionate influence in a coalition government.

All in all, I think pluralities have served pretty well.

There are quite a few variants of the Borda count. I think you're describing the instant-runoff vote. Last place is eliminated and all the ballots that ranked that candidate #1 are recounted with their #2 choice. This process repeats until someone has a real majority (50% + 1).
It's the method I prefer. It eliminates the "splitting the left" or "splitting the right" vote we see so often, and ensures that whoever wins was ranked highly by a majority of voters.

It's also forced consensus, which might be fine in the context of party leadership, but it's completely inappropriate in a general election.

How is it forced consensus? And why is it inappropriate?

Steve, by definition all preferential voting models are forced consensus because they oblige the majority to settle for one option, whether it was their first preference or not. My understanding is that Australia is the only place in the developed world that uses this model in its elections. It is also one of the few places where voting is largely mandatory, an anachronism of its history. When everyone votes, there is less opportunity for strategic manipulation of the outcome under preferential voting. When voting is optional, manipulation is of serious concern.

As well, here in Canada, notwithstanding the fact that political parties are a structural convenience and essentially have no constitutional standing, preferential voting could lead to the decimation of non-traditional parties. And many argue that these lesser parties are a cornerstone of our democratic system as they offer "unpopular" views. Yes, coalitions are messy, but such is genuine decision-making.

Have to agree with you on this one, D C. I evaluate it all in terms of transparency and accountability or degrees of which and while I suppose different systems have their advantages, especially in terms of notions of consent, my preference is for the brutal simplicity of first-past-the-post.

No voter is ever forced to consent to anything, DC. Instant-runoff gives you the *option* to mark a second or third choice, but you're always free to just mark a "1" beside your first choice and leave the rest of the field blank. You're also free to choose none of the candidates.
If the goal is 'majority rule' then the first-past-the-post system fails miserably. The winner isn't chosen by any semblance of majority, but rather by the largest minority.

True, and voters can also write in Mickey Mouse if they choose, Steve. "Forced" is a methodological term at the macro level here, in that, as you rightly point out, the "goal" is to achieve a majority when one does not necessarily exist.

Besides, as so many here have already argued ... "majority" has little meaning in our electoral system when so many voters don't vote. Really, what would be the difference between, say 5001 of 10,000 votes cast among 15,000 eligible voters, versus 4126 of 10,000 votes cast among the same 15,000 eligible voters. Neither is an actual "majority".

I think that manipulating votes by iteratively combining rankings does more damage to the system as a whole (and especially lesser parties) than any benefit that might be achieved. If you want real and productive electoral reform, start with electing the Senate, not with the voting mechanisms themselves.

I think we can do both.
And I think any voting reform that puts more power in the voters' hands would increase the number of us who bother to vote.

DC, Craig, Grumps and Steve, very good discussion.
It really boils down to: PEOPLE NEED TO GET OUT AND VOTE to get a fair semblance of Majority Rule. I know, easier said than done.
What we really must avoid is the type of governance that has plagued my ancestoral home, Italy, for so many years - too many parties, too many coalitions, too many regional disparities, to effectively govern.
Interesting. And worthy of more than just discussion.

Sorry it took so long to answer your query as to my specific objection to the proposed 2012 operating budget...on page 15, the operating budget for Human Resources, where there are no new hires, under the expenditure heading of Salary, Wages and Benefits it indicates an increase of 8.0% from last year. It is hard to fathom the justification, and I would be interested in the detailed explanation for this. I find this years' budget summary available for viewing not as detailed as last years', but just as long. I am just asking as a taxpayer who wants to know my money is being used frugally and wisely!

Still have had no reply from J Laird regarding the report of the garbage bin testing results from my area back in the 80's. Makes me wonder. Is anyone else not as curious or concerned?

Back to the robocalls...about a week ago they had traced the IP address that registered the "Pierre Poutine" cel phone to a residence in Guelph. There hasn't been an update since. There was also talk that someone was planning to turn themselves in. Where's the follow-up?

Who is Rick McKnight???


Drip, drip, drip...

DC: You aren't getting the math, as usual. How is a Borda count (thank you, Steve, you are quite right about the method) some kind of forced consensus that is less representative than a simple plurality?


The person said to be "about to turn himself in" was Michael Sona, according to unnamed Tories in another newspaper, but Sona told me himself he is not responsible for the calls, doesn't plan on claiming responsiblity, and is not scheduled to speak to Elections Canada.


Grumpy, I wont bore you with the hugely consequential, mathematical difference between a simple ordinal ranked index and a true interval preference scale. I didn't actually comment on anything being less or more representative of true preferences, either at the individual or macro level. I just said that borda (or in this case, the simple instant-runoff) is forced mathematical consensus at the macro level, which it is, by definition.

Thanks Booker. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for Janet Laird to respond. I don't think anyone in City Hall actually knows the real cost of anything. Interesting that there are no new hires yet salary expenses have gone up 8%. Hmmmm.

Look at Admin and Customer Service..Salary, Wages and benefits up 15.8% over last year, and By-law Compliance and Security is up 11.1%
Hmm is right!!

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Joanne Shuttleworth is the newsroom lead in municipal affairs coverage for the Guelph Mercury. She is a former Guelph YWCA Woman of Distinction honouree and a past winner of an Ontario Newspapers Award for her work as an editor. You can reach her at jshuttleworth@guelphmercury.com

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