Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Liberals Come Out Against New MPs


I don't know about this folks...

I understand the idea - that the cost of extra MPs is too frivilous, and that by instead redistributing the current 308 seats between the provinces based on population representation, we can save costs while furthering the idea of democracy - but I just don't think its doable, and I question whether its actually the right thing to do.

The Liberals do a poor job explaining this idea fully (so far), and it's not any considered policy that I know of. There's no basis for it outside of the caucus' whims on any given day. Plus, as the third party, we're not going to get anywhere with it right now nor in the immediate future. So why are we coming out with it now?

Plus, securing Quebec's "special status" - and whether that means 25% or 24% or 75 seats or whatever - just contradicts the entire idea anyways. Really, if we're going to focus on rep-by-pop, why are we securing an unrepresentative amount for Quebec?

I'd have to think about it for a while longer, really, because I just saw it now and I don't know the details. But consider for a second what the Liberal "plan" entails:

1. Opening up the constitution and getting rid of the clause which ties seat count to Senate members
2. Adding in Quebec's "special status" which kind of contradicts the idea anyways
3. Dumbing down the Atlantic provinces and the Prairie provinces a whole bunch, including dropping PEI from 4 seats to 1
4. Bargaining with Premiers who each want a certain level like Quebec
5. Potentially risk creating an unstable level of representation - is 308 seats really enough?

Plus, let's face it - not doing it because of the cost is as ridiculous as the argument for not having an election because of the costs. It's a miniscule amount for a government's budget, and if it's needed, it's needed.

No one, except apparently the Liberals, can say a change in the seat totals aren't needed. I worry about this. I worry about it a lot.


  1. Agreed. If Canada had more politicians, perhaps they might not all be dogs of the party leadership as well.

    Unequal representation is wrong, but we aren't going to get anything done about that for now.

    Then of course, misrepresenting parliamentary trifles to the public worked for the NDP...

  2. Hehe, well, we shouldn't really take a page out of the NDP's book... unless it wins us seats!

    Really, I think the caucus - and let's be clear, this is the caucus, not the Party - is just trying to get their name in the news. Is it an idea worth exploring? Yes, it is. But why would they not take that up with the government earlier, before the Fair Rep Act came out and was finalized?

    It's a flashy maneuver in place of what could be a genuine debate. I get politics sometimes demands style over substance, but my God, we were doing so well with the latter just this past month alone with primaries and substantial internal changes. Now, wth?

  3. Yeah I don't think the party is prepared to drop the Atlantic seat count. Considering our party has around one third of our seats there, but Yes we should try for more representation. Subtracting seats Is very hard to do, and quite frankly too much of a hassle to open up the constitution. I say a few more MP's wouldn't hurt, and the cost is so trivial I can't believe this made the news.

  4. No kidding. Like I said, it's an idea, it's just a questionable one.

  5. "Just fyi, when riding redistribution becomes a major electoral issue, I'm sure someone will call you. Just keep sitting by that phone until then.

    "The fact is, not a heck of a lot of people care about these technocratic issues. If Bob Rae muses about this or that regarding riding redistribution, guess what? No one cares except us politicos.

    "So instead of the "doom and gloom" ideals about how such complex issues will spell the end of the Liberal Party, focus on other important things - like all these crime bills, the wasteful spending, the corrupt atmosphere, and so on. You know, things that will get us votes. And when we're in government, when it actually matters, then we can talk about this on a grander scale.

    "And this is coming from someone who agrees with you."

    Turnabout and all that ... :-)

  6. It is not just that the Liberal argument is primie facie stupid it is also clearly self serving. The Liberals do not want to see the number of seats increase because they feel it will make it that more difficult for them to win government. The we can not afford it fig leaf does not obscure this fact.

    Given the Conservatives have a majority and will proceed with this no matter what the Liberals say, the Liberals needed to do two things. 1) They needed to diminish the political value of giving that many extra seats to Ontario, BC and Alberta by saying that the government did not go far enough and that Conservative government's push for an "effective" senate would make any such gains mute. Forget Quebec's complaining; the Conservatives won a majority without Quebec this last time and with 27 seats being added outside Quebec its value will be even less next time around. 2) The Liberals have to recognize that their long tradition of being the party that defends the status quo must end. Defending the status quo gets them no where politically. Given the situation they find themselves in, the timing could not be better to change course. As Canada's third party, the Liberals do not need to be bounded by what is or is not politically possible. In this case, the Liberals should be calling for the HOC to be increased and the senate abolished to pay for it.

  7. Peter,

    The wider voting public still doesn't care, I don't think I've contradicted myself... there remains little to no value except for what we can squeeze out of that lemon ourselves. And it ain't a lot.


    I agree, though philosophically I think the caucus and the wider Party are generally opposed to abolishing the Senate. Even I'm still on the fence about it.

  8. In fact, Peter, I doubt you'll find more than fellow politically aware folks who even know whats going on outside of "those damn socialist Frenchies think they're entitled to their entitlements."

  9. Volkov,

    I was only kidding around. But believe me the voting public in certain provinces will care very much once our opponents are through with us.

  10. Maybe. I stand by my comments - I doubt it'll ever be a major election issue. It can be a sore point for whichever party, but the voters will turn on a party for bigger things than that.

    Then again, we'll just have to wait and see. Polls are still useful in this regard...

  11. If the Liberals seriously are calling for PEI with 1 MP, then I say as a former PEIslander, that they wont be winning seats in that province again until 2030.

  12. If MPs are expensive? Why stick with 308? To extend Bob Rae's logic, shouldn't in this time of fiscal restraint, be letting a few MPs go? Perhaps offer a golden handshake to a few, and then delete their ridings?

    How aboyt 100 MPs. That's a nice, round number.

    And Parliament can rent out the freed office space.

  13. Volkov I hope I misunderstood this are you actually saying

    "those damn socialist Frenchies think they're entitled to their entitlements."

  14. No, I'm being facetious in my example of the average voter. However, you would be surprised how close I can get to the mark with that...