Sunday, October 2, 2011

(Provincial) election week in Canada

It would be nice if we did it as the States do -- schedule all federal, state and local elections and by-elections such that they all happen on the same day (except in the case of death).    Would save a ton on multiple manual revisions of the voter's list.    But as it is, we're having a busy week for elections in Canada.   Four provinces and two territories are having them -- Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland-Labrador, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

Not much to say about Ontario's election, other than it looks more like it will be a Liberal-NDP working alliance unless McGuinty pulls off a last minute majority upset.    But minority government can be a good thing, it slams the brakes on some of the crazier ideas while letting the smarter ones get through.

One thing I am interested in though is the election in the NWT.   Like Nunavut next door, the NWT does not have parties, instead everyone runs as independents with those who get elected in the 19 districts choosing a Premier amongst their ranks and most issues having to be debated on a consensus basis.   Sadly it would never work in the South where consensus is like saying "Antichrist," especially those in the Tea Party frame of mind.

From my armchair in the South I have been able to discern three major issues this time around.   One is devolution, granting the territory province-like powers.   This is supported by only two of the First Nations in the region, the others claim they were never consulted on the proposed deal.    Two is the continued high cost of living -- those away from the road network (i.e. the corridor along the Enterprise-Yellowknife-Inuvik route) often pay up to four times for basic items than what would be expected in the rest of Canada, and major changes last year that PMS implemented for the "food mail" program have only made it worse.   Third and somewhat connected to the second is the Deh Cho Bridge (which looks like a combination cable stayed - truss structure) which has been delayed for another year and will help to reduce the food costs quite a bit in many areas since the mighty Mackenzie River will no longer be the obstacle it normally is during fall freeze and spring melt -- problem is that the bridge is costing triple what it was supposed to and the design had to be changed midway through the project.   (The ice pilots will still have work, just from a more northerly and better staging point).

Rather mundane issues for a Southerner to be sure -- but consider:    Many parts of Ontario still can be only accessed by float plane, their basic living costs are enormous too compared to the rest of us.    There are still no final resolutions for many of the First Nations, agreements if reached could be a huge boon for Aboriginals as well as the "rest of us" in terms of royalties and pull this province back into "have" status.    And the road network up north is appalling -- the Prairie Provinces have full expressways at the same latitudes where we have barely navigable two lane roads, and right in the middle of where the real heart of the province is, the resource rich North .    I mean, come on.    And of course we are all familiar with mega-projects that have gotten way out of hand in terms of costs and at our expense.

All I can say there is, if you live in one of the "Six" then get out there and vote.   As for me, I will vote but I am only making an anti-endorsement:    No to the Tea Party "Progressive" Conservatives.     Feel compelled to vote for them if you will, but I think we don't need even more poison in the system than there already is.   I'm not endorsing any of the other parties because they haven't provided any satisfactory answers to the issues, just a muddle.    (For the record, I voted NDP but that's only because in my district a vote for the Liberals is a wasted vote, such that the evil FPTP system is.)

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