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Michael Hardner

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Everything posted by Michael Hardner

  1. FTA, This is true, if you turn around the banking regulation as an example of too much government power. My point, though, is that regulations - triggers - like this already exist all over the place. It seems to me that they don't get the same sort of breathless comparison to Orwell, I suppose because they use old technology. Does the government have the resources to listen to tens of millions of calls per day ? Otherwise, is there any point to listening in to random conversations to see if terrorism conversations are happening ? If you gave the power to trace and match phone numbers to a dedicated anti-terror team, I don't see how it could be abused, as that team wouldn't be interested in other types of crime.
  2. I disagree with the term 'wasted votes'. The votes were cast, not wasted. By that logic, votes for anyone but the winner of the election are wasted. The system guarantees you have a say, not that you get a representative that shares your views. If you extend your argument, you could say that representative democracy is unfair in itself because you're forced to elect someone with whom you're virtually guaranteed to disasgree on many issues. Not quite 100%. There are still many checks on power. And your system will effectively guarantee a left-wing bloc rules Canada in perpetuity. There's a good dhance Conservatives will not ever govern in the foreseeable future. Does that sound fair ? Understood. Well, I might be in favour of whatever system they propose if it's not PR. All of the idealistic arguments aside, such a system works against Conservatives in this country. Let's see now, they've been in power twice since the early 1960s now. It will almost certainly make it more difficult for them to get into government, and if they do it will make it hard for them to govern.
  3. New technologies have a different character than old technologies, so new approaches are needed. There are examples of suspicious activity that automatically triggers reporting in non-digital society. If you deposit large sums of cash into a bank account, the bank will note that activity and pass it on. If you receive packages that look questionable, or from agencies that are suspicious, then you will be reported. There's no question of people "listening in" on the phone calls of average Canadians here, it's a question of being able to trace communications.
  4. I respect your drive for democratic purity in politics. You realize, though, that the machine of democracy doesn't work that way every time. For example, support for capital punishment has been over 50% yet this has never been brought for a vote. What if there are three or four or five choices ? Does the threshold go to 34%, 25% and 20% ? Every voter is represented by an MP or an MPP in their region. It's not practical to assign an individual representative to every fringe voter out there.
  5. You're talking about the referrendum here. Ok. As I said, it's a major change so I want a higher threshold. What do you mean by 'too big' ? The Ontario Liberals are too big ?
  6. Of course they couch their argument in 'fairness' and so forth, because it convinces people. The fairness of any large democratic system is entirely subjective though. Again, I point to the balance that we've had in Canada and in the provinces, and the results. PR would tilt that balance permanently in order to serve less than 10% of voters who are never represented by a party in parliament. That's called throwing the baby out with the bath water.
  7. Old -> not necessarily a bad thing - time tested, as democracy itself is 'old' flawed -> because... wastes half the votes cast -> any representative democracy will 'waste' votes for the loser, presumably what you mean false majorities -> the majority is a majority in parliament only, and is a tool to ensure that a party with adequate support is given a chance to present their vision of how the country should be run votes not equal -> this begs more explanation I agree. But if THIS ONE SOLUTION - that is presented as the golden salve that will cure democracy - is what we need, then people will understand that, and respond. I think it's typically short-sighted that PR type solutions are presented as the only solution, and that we're supposed to adopt them almost immediately, despite the fact that they will change our system. Also, there's an aspect of gerrymandering to this that I don't like. But we don't put every issue directly to the public either. Complex issues that require more than an instant decision should be given to legislators and committees whose job it is to consider the ramifications. What is unbelievable is that this solution has appeared out of nowhere and is being pushed with fervor as the only way to fix democracy. Our current system, which is usually bemoaned as 'old' as if that is a bad thing, has produced a government which has given our country an excellent balance of social programs with a competitive business environment, IMO. Why we would want to toss that completely on a hunch is beyond me.
  8. You can consider any scenario, but if things got to that point would it really be helpful that we didn't have these things today ? All of this has to be considered in the context of the threat involved. And - in order to ask for a search warrant, the police first have to have suspects. Monitoring internet use, and cross-referencing to telephone records and watch lists would produce a list of suspects from which to work. The police could then ask for warrants on those people. That's a light-years leap from where we are today: an open society threatened by terrorism. I'd say, let's split it down the middle. Again, consider the real threats here. Even if one attack happens, we'll feel far less secure than we would if there were one hundred cameras pointing at us walking down the street.
  9. If your kid has to walk to a national park to play, he/she will indeed be fit !
  10. It all comes down to fear, Gost. I'm more afraid of a proven and tangible threat that exists here and now than this: With all due respect, your fears seem to be rooted in fiction, fantasy and 'what ifs'. My fears are rational, and have been realized in New York, London, and Madrid. Unfortunately, there are enough people who are afraid of these abstractions that you may actually win out in the political arena. As much as I enjoyed that book, sometimes I really wish Orwell hadn't written it.
  11. 66% is 2/3. Sure, it's arbitratory but so is 60%. I think 60% is too low.
  12. It's comparing apples and oranges, but it's an interesting exercise nonetheless. You would probably have to add health insurance costs to even it up, then account for the high number of uninsured in California. It's quite an exercise if you're up to it.
  13. Because this change could be huge and almost irreversable, and the public is likely more susceptible to fads than the entire governing party.
  14. Leafless, It sounds like you're ready to welcome enough Green Party MPPs to keep the Liberals and NDP in power forever...
  15. I think that this reform issue is a fad. In order to pass, I would think that a 2/3 majority should be demanded. Our system may have flaws, but major changes such as some of the ones proposed can be difficult to roll back so we need to be sure what we're doing is supported. The other thing to take into account is the rate of turnout. A 50% pass rate would mean that a small minority of Ontarians came out to the polls in favour of the proposed change. 2/3 - 66.67 % - should be the threshold.
  16. FTA Lawyer, Thanks for your input... I didn't mean to come down too hard on Gost. I knee jerk with the best of them, I guess. Good for him for starting a thread on such an important topic. My reaction was mostly based on the superficial articles I read in mainstream newspapers that use the same hoary cliches from Orwells novel over and over again. I know that police behave badly, but the nature of the crimes being investigated leads me to think that this is less of a threat. We're not sending 'beat cops' after international terrorists, after all. We presumably have special teams whose sole mandate is to monitor for terrorist activity. Although government agencies are capable of pretty stupid things, I can't think of examples of abuse that would outweigh the advantages of these types of surveillance. Can you ?
  17. Yes, I find it not alarmed, ie. I'm not alarmed All that's being monitored is your web activity. The urls that you visit, presumably if they're on a watch list. YOU are not being monitored. What freedom is this ? Freedom to download detailed instructions on how to build explosives without anybody knowing ? I'm willing to forgo that freedom for more security. If you walk in a major urban area, you're being videotaped constantly as you pass by store windows and banks. Do you feel violated knowing that ? I don't. If there's a security advantage in putting cameras in public, and I think there is, then we should do it. Terms like 'big brother' and so forth evoke strong feelings about a police state, but we're nowhere near such a thing happening, and if it did eventually happen it wouldn't matter anyway. People have to let go of these knee-jerk reactions to security and surveillance and think about the real advantages that these technologies bring. Would you give up the person you love the most for the knowledge that you can walk down the street without being videotaped, or the knowledge that the police can't trace your calls (if they wanted to) ? It seems like a pretty easy question to me.
  18. Charles: Excellent example. It's important to note that the source data for both surveys was correct, but the implied conclusions were misleading.
  19. If he was caught selling drugs, but nobody had died, should the penalty be the same as if somebody had died ?
  20. Yes, Charles, I think there's something to that. And it goes with what Auguste said about changing our refugee policy so that applicants submit before coming over. Ok, well, the borders are dissolving under us as we speak and I appreciate the Brave New World reference.
  21. Charles: I think that's one of the reasons that people do support daycare for infants - that there are parents out there like this. That being said, there are other people culpable for what happened here.
  22. JMH: You're one to talk. You come in here and start jamming threads with blue language and add nothing to the conversation. Dear theloniusfleabag: Are you saying that getting rid of all borders would dehumanize the planet ? The idea of fences keeping the filthy immigrants out seems less than human to me. Anyway, if you look around you'll see that the erasure of borders has been well under way for about 18 years now. The results are mixed, but some proponents of the new order are: companies that love paying lower wages for more work, and liberals whose jobs will never be threatened by immigrants because they're in protected labour markets. Those against it include: people who have seen their careers evaporate due to lower demand for their services, reactionaries who have relocated their dislike for Irish, Quebeckers, and Italians to Blacks, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. Auguste, thanks for starting this thread, I've been following it and it's been interesting.
  23. 7.4 Million ? My God, I didn't realize. I think the time has come to rename it just 'The Horseshoe', after all it is brown... [edit] The air, that is...
  24. Welcome. You're probably as informed about Canada as many of us Canadians here.
  25. Well, that's certainly a better question. This: sounded like rationalization but maybe not.Here are some possibles reasons why "we" are not trying to find the answer. 1 ) Everybody who has the resources to look into this has a vested interest in the outcome. 2 ) It would be almost impossible to set up an experiment to measure such a thing. 3 ) Nobody cares about facts anyway. I proved 3 ) myself by falling for the initial study, even though I pretty much minored in statistics, and even took a course on methodology and common abuses. I'd say 3 ) is the strongest reason. People don't demand facts, they trust advocates of various types to do that for them.
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