Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

4 Articles Tagged with “democracy”

  1. Now we process our feelings

    This Monday, May 2, Canada had its 41st federal election, resulting in a Conservative majority government led by Stephen Harper. The results are somewhat surprising: though a Conservative government was likely, a majority was by no means a certainty. Perhaps the most interesting result of this election, however, is the effect it had on our other political parties. The NDP are now, for the first time ever, the Official Opposition Party in the House of Commons. They pretty much dominated Quebec, and they won 102 seats in the House. The Liberals were decimated, dropping from 77 seats to 34 (close to the same number the NDP had in the previous Parliament). Similarly, the Bloc Québécois went from 47 seats to 4. And for the first time ever, a Green Party candidate was elected--none other than the leader, Elizabeth May herself.

    So our election is filled with many historical firsts for Canadian politics, and our political landscape has changed dramatically. For a graphical idea of how much changed in this election, just take a look at these two maps of Canada depicting the results by riding: 2008 election and 2011 election. (These are from the respective Wikipedia articles on the…

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  2. Game Over: Would you like to play again? How Conservatives and copyright broke my spirit

    Last summer, the government of Canada held an open consultation on the issue of copyright reform. The result: over 8,300 submissions, over 6,000 of which expressed opposition to another copyright reform bill similar to Bill C-61. You can read my submission here.

    It turns out that I and anyone else who submitted to the consultation, wrote a letter to his or her MP, showed up for a meeting or rally, or participated in the Facebook groups or online discourse, have done this all for nothing. We've been wasting our time. Because we're about to do this all over again.

    What's sad is that it didn't have to be this way. Tony Clement is the Industry Minister now, and his attitude toward copyright reform is more sensible than Jim Prentice's. Apparently he was open to a different approach than the one Bill C-61 took--and considering how unacceptable Bill C-61 was, I'll take that. Alas, it looks like Mr. Clement and his fellow cabinet minister, James Moore have differing opinions. So Grandfather Harper intervened.

    The result will apparently be a "Canadian DMCA" that is, as Cory Doctorow puts it, a "goddamned disaster." While…

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  3. We Screwed Up

    The war drums are sounding once again, and another election looms. The Liberals, led by the accomplished but detached Michael Ignatieff, are channelling Twisted Sister and are calling Prime Minister Harper out. But Harper says that Canadians don't want an election.

    So what?

    I don't want to take yucky-tasting medicine, but I do it anyway so I get better. I don't want to pay more than $1 per litre of gas, but I do it anyway so my car will run. I don't want an election, but we should have one anyway so Parliament will actually do something. The whining electorate complaining about our frequent elections miss one important fact: we're part of the problem. We may not want another election, but at this point, we need one.

    Do Not Pass Go; Do Not Collect $200

    Much of the resistance to another election is purely about timing: there's a sentiment that we just had an election, and it's "too soon" for another. At first glance, this reasoning seems sound: the parties have not changed much in a year, and aside from one new leader--who, let's face it, really isn't that different from the old leader so far--it's the same…

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  4. This New Fangled Voting Thing

    OpenOffice.org 3.0 is out today, so while I was downloading the torrent, I remembered I had yet to watch Michael Moore's free film Slacker Uprising chronicling his campaign to get slackers to vote in the 2004 American presidential election.

    The film was interesting. Whatever you think of Michael Moore's position or techniques, he's certainly passionate about what he's doing. And democracy may not be the most perfect system of government, but it seems to be the best one we've tried so far. Democracy is all about getting the people to vote, and Michael Moore was encouraging people to vote. As Martha Stewart might say, "That's a good thing."

    Tomorrow is Election Day here in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older, you can vote. If you aren't sure how to do this, go to the Elections Canada website. If you can vote, you should vote. Even if you're going to vote Conservative (I'm not), I want you to go and vote. We live in a democracy; it is your duty as a citizen to participate in the democratic process by voting for your representative in the next government.

    You don't need…

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