Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mike Harris - a Positive Outcome

10 years ago, the Mike Harris Conservatives were running for re-election in Ontario. Sadly, they won that election. But the 1999 provincial campaign was not without its positive spin-off effects.

Ten years ago, two students at the University of Ottawa were so upset with the policies of the Harris government that they were willing to schlep their way out to the outskirts of Ottawa on public transit to register to vote. It turned out to be their first date, as they spent the following afternoon together beside the Rideau Canal.

Who would have thought that Mike Harris would prove to be responsible for a gay relationship that has lasted for the past ten years? I'll always have a tiny soft spot for his administration, as it brought me together with my husband - ten years on, we're still together!


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BC Math: 46=58, 8=0, 42=42

What's up with the funny mathematics? It's the mathematics that British Columbia's first-past-the-post system used to deliver a third majority government to Gordon Campbell's Liberals, who took 46% of the popular vote, but over 57% of the seats in the legislature. The 8% of BC voters who opted for the Green party will have no MLAs to represent them. The NDP, oddly enough, actually won the number of seats proportional to their share of the vote.

But apparently BC voters are ok with this. Less than 39% of voters were willing to vote in favour of the single transferable vote system. This is really quite depressing, after 57% of BC voters had opted for electoral reform in the last provincial election. I understand why established parties like FPTP - it allows them to create single-party majority governments without having to win a majority of the popular vote. And for enough people, the risk is worth the inequity it creates.

It's still depressing though.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Gay marriage in the USA - Legislatures Take Action

After last November's crushing disappointment with the passage of Proposition 8 in California, I must say that I'm extremely heartened to observe that the movement for gay rights in the United States has not only not slowed down, but appears to be gaining momentum in both the courts and state legislatures.

Today, the District of Columbia city council voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions and the House of Representatives in Maine is set to vote later today on a bill to legalize same-sex marrage. The state Senate voted in favour of the bill, and so most observers are expecting that the heavily Democratic house will follow suit. There's a veritable cluster of same-sex marriages and domestic partner registries emerging in the Northeast. Hopefully this momentum will help the proposal that is emerging in New York.

Now if only Obama would stop being such a weasel and get rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

UPDATE: The Maine House voted in favour of the bill 89-58 but there is a possibility that the state governor, a Democrat who is opposed to same-sex marriage, will veto the bill.

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