Green Party Leader May Looking for Co-Operation from Layton

I wanted to stay out of this but I just saw a news article today that was just way too similar to my last blog post for me to not write about. The Globe & Mail's headline was "May blasts Layton over lack of party co-operation." She actually made reference to our first-past-the-post system in this criticism of Layton's refusal to talk with her about collaboration: "The door, as far as I'm concerned, is still open to discuss if there's some way that, despite our first-past-the-post system, leaders who care about their country and are willing to put the future of their planet first can't find some way to communicate," she said. Well said. Why shouldn't the two parties who both claim to care about the environment the most work together to get more seats? Seems like a win-win situation.

May went on to say that "'I felt a clear signal was needed that the Harper Conservatives still represent a grave threat to any future action on climate, as well as on a large number of social policy issues. ...This was more about putting principle ahead of partisanship.' She added that, under Canada's electoral system — 'which Mr. Layton claims he wants to reform' — 660,000 Canadians voted Green in the last election and the party was still shut out of Parliament."

She could have added that, like the Greens, the NDP also regularly receives a larger percentage of the popular vote than it does in seats. (9% vs 17% in the last election). Then it would sound like it was lifted directly from my previous post.

Universities Withdraw Support of Macleans University Survey/Ranking

I have never thought highly of Macleans Magazine's annual university ranking. Finally it looks like the universities are taking some action against Macleans. It was announced yesterday that several universities have withdrawn support for Macleans university ranking. 11 universities in fact, including the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Toronto, and McMaster University. Apparently the have "reservations about the methodology." I have reservations about the methodology as well, however, a more basic problem I have is that I do not think it is possible to "rank" universities at all and also that it is not productive to do so. If anyone wants to spend any time ranking "universities" their time is better spent ranking "programs" or better yet, classes or professors. One university might have the "best" agricultural sciences program in the country while at the same time having the "worst" medical school program in the country. This kind of information is completely lost in the Macleans rankings.

Greens and NDP Should Swap Ridings Next Election

I saw this article today "Beating Harper: NDP + Greens?" about NDP + Greens joining forces being a great solution (since we don't PR) to beat Harper. I look at it more as a solution to reduce vote-splitting, not at a way to "beat" any particular other party.

I also agree that this is a great idea; however, this will never happen. I think a better idea would be to trade ridings. Based on the popular vote numbers from the last election the NDP and Greens could work out some riding swapping mechanism whereby the Greens won't run in x ridings of the NDP's choosing, while the NDP won't run in y ridings where the Greens were strongest. It should be computed mathematically based on last year's popular vote in a very clear and scalable way, so that if the Greens were to suddenly get 10% of the vote next election the number of ridings the NDP would "give" to the Greens would increase proportionately in some way without leading to bickering, only leading to continued proportional representation for both parties. I'm not sure if those two parties could ever agree to this. They all seem to be blind to the fact that we are living in a non-PR system, where running 2 left-wing candidates in the same riding is just stupid. It would be like having 5 separatist partites in Quebec. What a dumb idea that would be. Running Greens and NDP in the same ridings, ridings where one or the other has a slim chance of winning, is equally as dumb, although just less obviously dumb.

One negative side-effect of such a scheme is that it would essentially lessen the motivation for actually implementing PR in this country.

One interesting factoid in the article: "In an article published in Canadian Forum in 1989, former NDP MP Lynn McDonald called on the NDP to be the Green Party of Canada." Probably would have been a good idea. They would have grabbed the Green name ahead of the true Greens, preventing the vote split that exists today, and with the support of labour-votes we could easily imagine the Green party having seats today if Lynn McDonald had her way.

There is lots of discussion over here, which I'm not sure I want to get involved in.

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