Follow government decisions and the waves of political uncertainty

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Where Do You Stand?

People coming to have embraced a new tool, Vote Compass, to examine where they might lie on the political spectrum and to discover where the parties stand on key issues. Within hours of its launch Saturday 25,000 people had taken part in the survey — but as of 1 p.m. ET, on Sunday, the number had shot up to more than 160,000.Developed by a team of 15 top Canadian election researchers and political science scholars, and coordinated by the University of Toronto, the survey uses a series of questions to take each person's political temperature.

The first section involves answering 30 questions on probing issues, and marking on a scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The issues include:

·         Should Canada increase its military presence in the Arctic?
·         Should Canada adopt a carbon tax?
·         How much should be done to accommodate religious minorities in Canada.
·         Should the government make it easier for a woman to get an abortion?
·         Should Quebec be formally recognized as a nation in the Constitution?

The quiz only takes 10 minutes to complete and can give you a better idea of where you stand politically. I was actually shocked as to where I fell on the compass. Having a pre-existing belief system and party of choice, the compass indicated my political colour held more shades of orange than I had previously thought. You can’t really determine where a person falls politically in 30 very broad questions but at least it gives you some idea. Take the test.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Take the $30-Billion Quiz? A New Spin on Political Attack Ads

I recently Blogged on the effectiveness of attack Ads, and how Canadians generally feel about political parties using these tactics. Much to my surprise I found an official email from the Liberal Party of Canada containing what they consider the failures of Harper and his Conservative Government. At the bottom of the email was a link to the Liberal Party of Canada’s site which included a quiz: “Which abuse of power is the Harper regime’s greatest legislative accomplishment of 2011.” The purpose of the email was to inform me of what the government has done wrong, while giving me a chance to vote on the worst decision the government has made. 

The Liberals have taken a different approach to attack Ads that have been recently used by the Conservative Party. The email and information on their website allows for an interactive and engaging look into the current political climate. Although the quiz presented by the Liberals is negative in nature it comes across as information. The attack Ads used by the Conservatives are vastly different as they are personal attacks on the Liberal Leader and his choice of home for the past 20 years.
If you’re going to use attack Ads to convey a message never personally attack someone’s life choices or how they have lived in the past, especially when it’s irrelevant. The Conservatives have on many occasions attacked the Liberal leader for spending so much time in the United States. I find it odd that the most Conservative and pro American PM would criticize Ignatieff for living in the United States. The fact is that the Conservatives fear the Liberals, and know that pose a serious threat if an election were held. Whatever your political views may be, you have to have an opinion on attack Ads. How do you feel about using attack Ads to criticize a person’s life outside of politics?


Saturday, March 5, 2011

What Do You Want?

I have noticed from the feedback I have received both on the comments section and in person, that people are having a difficult time coming up with something to post on my blog. I know that political issues can seem intimidating to some that don’t follow politics, but I want this to be somewhat easy for people. Since you’re required to comment on my blog I feel somewhat bad having made this difficult. This blog will focus on what you want to see in politics, issues taking place in your life, and what you want addressed. I hope everyone reads this post as it will link to my speech in just a few weeks. Young people in their twenties aren’t interested in voting and I want to know why.

Young Canadians have forfeited their “bitching rights” about how they’re governed by disengaging from the political process, says Robert Fowler. “The civic and political literacy of young Canadians is appallingly low,” the former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations told a group of University of Ottawa graduates Sunday. “Your age group’s involvement in the political process, at all levels of government, stretches any reasonable definition of apathy.” Mr. Fowler, 66, said it was “intellectually dishonest” for those who’ve “collectively ignored their civic responsibilities” to moan about the abysmal standards of political leadership in Canada.

It’s your turn to tell me what you want. What would make you interested in political issues, voting, or the idea that you can actually make a difference when it comes to leadership in Canada. The article is a reminder that young Canadians are failing their democratic duty and this needs to change.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Democratic Party Wants Referendum on Senate And Electoral Reform

NDP Leader Jack Layton wants a national referendum on abolishing the Senate and has plans to change how MPs are elected. Layton and NDP democratic reform critic Dave Christopherson propose letting voters decide whether to kill the Senate. The NDP would also like to see electoral reform to bring in a system of proportional representation. Proportional representation involves putting MPs into office based on the percent of vote a party receives nationally.

In order to change the voting system a national referendum would need to be held involving all the provinces; that would involve changing the constitution. Christopherson of the NDP said “We have put a lot of thought into how to go about changing Canada's parliamentary system. Despite failed referenda to implement the complicated proportional representation system in British Columbia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island, Christopherson said the process just needs to be better explained to voters.”

Proportional representation and Senate reform are two issues I have had a particular interest since I started studying politics almost ten years ago. The Senate is costly, ineffective and filled with people who remained loyal to a particular party. The Senate gives the party in power the opportunity to pack the chamber with party loyalists who block legislation coming from the House of Commons. Proportional representation would ensure that every vote counts and that even small parties like the Greens, with real issues facing Canadians, would be heard in the House of Commons. I am so passionate about changing our voting system that I will give a ten minute speech on the topic to Niagara Colleges post graduate public relations class. I am hopeful that this issue will be brought to the forefront of the political debate and that Canadians understand what is at stake.