How to explain using “Ranked” Ballot to Nomination Meetings (or voters in general)

Yesterday, I was discussing in a Facebook Liberal thread Anita Vandenbeld’s win as the next candidate to represent the LPC in Ottawa-Nepean, and the fact that of 635 votes cast, there were 64 “spoiled ballots” – a rather high number (10%) for a nomination meeting, particularly with 3 high-profile candidates running in it.

The issue came up of whether the fact that the Ranked Ballot was being used here because of multiple candidates confused some people. I don’t know if that was the case or not (I’ve heard that most of the 10% were “exhausted” ballots – that is, people for the 3rd place finisher did not mark down or indicate a 2nd choice, which is their right), but others have told me that at some of these nomination meetings involving 3 or more nomination candidates, the LPC representatives don’t always do a very good job explaining how you vote in an election or nomination process using a “ranked ballot”

Since I’m a supporter of Ranked Ballot (or Preferential Ballot, or IRV, or whatever you prefer to call it) I will now do a public service and explain how, if I was an LPC spokesperson at a nomination meeting, would explain to people how to vote on a ranked ballot. I’ll even give a couple of variations: I’ll quote one of my candidate friends who had similar complaints about the explanation process:

“Put a ‘1’ next to your first choice; put a ‘2’ next to your second choice, and put a ‘3’ next to your third choice. If you don’t have a third or second choice, you don’t need to mark them.”

Or as I put it to someone, rank the people in order of preference of choice on your ballot (1,2,3 etc) but if you only have 1 preferred candidate, you’re not obligated to rank or choose more.

THat seems easy-peasy to me. We don’t need to make the explanation so complex a rocket-scientist needs to decipher it. Again, I don’t know if that was what occurred in Ottawa-Nepean, but the suggestion of it and the fact I’ve heard it before made me want to do this post.

(Oh, and congrats to Anita Vandenbeld in Ottawa-Nepean yesterday ;) I expect her old nomination site to be redirected to a Liberal microsite shortly)

UPDATE: Someone just mentioned to me it might be worthwhile for me to add that ranking someone second or third will never, hurt your first choice when compared to just ranking someone first. I suppose the opposite side of the coin to that is if you dislike the other folks so much you’d rather not support anyone other then your 1st choice, that’s your right.


Interview with Cathy MacLellan, Liberal Nomination Contestant for Waterloo

One of the advantages of going to a LPC(O) Conference is you sometimes unexpectedly meet candidates or nomination contestants. That was the case this past weekend in London when through an acquaintance, I met Cathy MacLellan, who is a nomination contestant in the riding of Waterloo, a new riding created by Elections Canada due to electoral redistribution. She was aware of my blog and past interviews it seems, so I asked if she’d like to participate in one. to which she agreed to. This is a riding that is being vigourously contested by several Liberal candidates or would-be candidatures, so it will be an interesting race to watch. I thank Cathy for taking the time to answer these.


For those who haven’t visited your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?

a) Justin Trudeau called for “Open Nominations” which meant I could apply to be a nomination contestant.

b) I was invited to run by local Liberal members. Given that this riding has swung back and forth between Conservative and Liberal for many decades, odds are that with the right candidate and the right Liberal leader, we progressives could win the riding back. I am rallying citizens from all of the Parties who are fed up with Harper and his damaging policies, to support my nomination. So, I believe if I can win the nomination, I will win the riding and be a progressive voice in Ottawa.

c) Since the 2011 election it is very clear that the Harper government is damaging this country so badly, in so many ways, that I felt compelled to use my political experience, history, gifts and talents to unseat the incumbent Conservative MP.

If a Justin Trudeau government is elected (regardless of majority or minority), are there any issues that you’d like to champion in that government if you were elected as an MP?

Continue reading Interview with Cathy MacLellan, Liberal Nomination Contestant for Waterloo


Ottawa attack, Municipal Election Day, LPCO weekend

That title pretty well sums up my post today. In order of title:

I’ve waited for a few days before deciding to comment on the Ottawa attack where a shooter killed an unarmed Canadian solider and then stormed Parliament, wounding a security officer before he himself was killed by the Seargant-At-Arms, Kevin Vickers (whose 2 minute standing ovation in Parliament still gets my throat in a lump – someone needs to sponsor the “Kevin Vickers gets free drinks in bars for the rest of his life” act). Obviously, this was a heinous act, and I think Parliament needs to strengthen its security, but while the government and RCMP are labeling this a terrorist act, and the RCMP says it has a video of the attacker sounding lucid and condemning Canada’s foreign policy and so on.. there are still questions about this shooters mental health (as there is about the assailant who ran down another Canadian soldier 2 days before). as well as whether these were just “lone wolf attacks” by disturbed individuals rather then coordinated ISIS attacks. The point is, I hope the current government doesn’t go into overreach over trying to get CSIS new security or monitoring powers. I do not want to see a Canadian version of the Patriot Act up here.

Next – the municipal elections. I will briefly say that there are races in Toronto, London and Hamilton I am keeping my eyes on, and I’ve already wished those folks I know on Facebook who are running in those elections good luck, and thanking them for their public service (and I hope the turnout rate at least goes up this time).

Lastly, this weekend, I attended a Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) Southwest Ontario Regional Day event. The theme for the meeting was “Building capacity in your riding association to win the next election”. There was a lot of discussion and presentations going on and well presented by LPCO staff and representatives, including the LPCO President Tyler Banham on some of his reform proposals for LPCO (which he has discussed elsewhere, including in his interview with me while he was running for the president’s position a few months back)

Of special interest to me were the presentations by two of our Liberal candidates in the Southwest: Katie Omstead, the Liberal candidate for Chatham-Kent-Leamington, had for her topic “Engaging Rural Voters”. It basically was a run-down of the strategies she used to attract supporters in her riding to help her win her nomination, and hopefully that will aid her in her general election campaign in 2015. She felt other Liberal candidates in rural ridings could also use these tactics to her advantage. The second was by my friend Danielle Takacs, who if you’ve read me enough you know I am supporting, and who is running in Brantford-Brant. Her discussion was on the importance of community outreach/community involvement for candidates, which hit on a lot of the same points she had when she presented to the Women in Politics Brantford Conference a few weeks back (though slightly different audience here, so slightly modified for this event).
I am rather biased obviously when I say I think she had a great speech, but others felt that way too, as the delegates/attendees gave her several rounds of applause for both her presentation and her responses in the follow-up Q&A, and a few people congratulating her and wishing her well after she was done. It’s always polite to applaud at the end of a presentation of one of these at this type of event, but when you get spontaneous applause/congratulations, you know a person has done well, and she got both.

(The other thing I learned at this meeting from attending? Brantford-Brant campaign meetings will need to have chai tea for hot drinks and dark chocolate chip/macadamia cookies for snacks in abundance. ;) )

I’ll add it was nice to talk to/meet a few people who read me online, and its nice to hear good things about the blog and what I write here too.


Blog interview with LPC contestant Mary Pynenburg – Vancouver Kingsway

I’ve had a brief sojourn from the blog as I’ve been dealing with personal matters, as well as the fact I’ve not had some of my folks who agreed to do interviews get back to me, but finally we have one today, and it comes from Mary Pynenburg, Liberal nomination contestant for the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway. Mary is the current President of the National Women’s Liberal Commission. I’d like to thank her for her participation in this interview.

For those who don’t know, can you tell us why you decided to run for the nomination?

I am trained as an architect and urban planner and as Canada is 80% urbanized, it concerns me that there are no architects or planners in parliament. I believe that I can contribute to the solutions we need for urban challenges such as ageing infrastructure, public transit and affordable housing.

If a Justin Trudeau government is elected, and you are elected as MP, are there any specific issues you’d like to champion in that government as an MP?

Continue reading Blog interview with LPC contestant Mary Pynenburg – Vancouver Kingsway


You can support the troops, but oppose sending them off to combat.

Putting aside the vote to authorize CF-18’s to fly combat missions to Iraq to try and stop ISIS (which has utterly failed to slow them or stop them so far by the way), I’ve seen the Conservative Party and some media try to claim you can’t say you support the troops but reject authorizing the combat mission.

You know who also said that? The Republican Party’s people in government when US troops were over in Iraq getting involved in a quagmire and the Democratic Party rightly said it was time to get them out of there and bring them home. Charges of lack of support and lack of patriotism abounded then as well.

I utterly reject that claim. You can “support” the Canadian Forces as persons and wish them well, but there is nothing contradictory about voting against sending them in the first place (See Jean Chretien 1991, First Gulf War). I’m more sad that some in the media have fallen for the Harper loyalty litmus test on this


Women in Politics Brantford Conference Recap (with pictures)

On Friday, I had the privilege of being an accredited blogger/observer at a Women In Politics Conference in Brantford. Its goal was aimed at encouraging young women to run for office – whether that was federal, provincial or municipal. The idea behind this was started by a Grade 12 high school student named Gabrielle Cotton, who decided after talking with a local counsellor that something like this conference was needed to try and spur interest among young women, and she went ahead with some help to organize it (you’ll find the initial story about the planning behind this conference at this story in the local Brantford press). I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I got there on how it would go over, but they had a very large crowd when I got there at Galaxy Cinemas, where the event was being held. It was hectic but well organized at their registration desks as they had lines for each individual high school for students to register from.

There were a couple of parts to this event going on: The main event was a keynote address held by former MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Sheila Copps, (which I talk about soon) followed by several individual break-out sessions – one of which was held by my friend and Liberal candidate in Brantford-Brant Danielle Takacs, (also that I will talk about below). This was followed by a panel discussion on women in municipal politics by former or current municipal councillors. The other part of this event that went on simultaneously was they invited local political parties and organizations to set up booths and bring literature and other things to give to students so they could read over and see if there was a political organization or movement that they liked and may decide to join or even just volunteer. The NDP, Conservative and Liberal parties were all there (though curiously not the Greens). There was also a booth there from and another booth from an organization that escapes me at the moment, though I think it was to do with a teachers federation.

After introductions by Gabrielle and greetings from MP Phil Mccoleman and MPP Dave Levac, Sheila Copps came up to speak.
Continue reading Women in Politics Brantford Conference Recap (with pictures)


Hat-tip to cousin Dawn Danko running for School Board Trustee in Hamilton Ward 7

I don’t delve a lot into municipal politics, and I wouldn’t usually have a reason to delve into school board trustee politics (except perhaps watching with interest as Michael Ford, nephew of Rob, tries to use that as his springboard), and you wouldn’t think I’d have a specific interest in Hamilton school board trustee politics, but there are exceptions, particularly when there’s a relative of mine running.

I wanted to highlight to those folks who may be reading this in Hamilton and specifically Ward 7 that my cousin (in-law) Dawn Danko is running for school board trustee there. She has been a community activist in trying to keep the local school board accountable, and she’s now decided to do something more about it and try to reform the school board from within.. so I applaud her initiative. She also has some qualified background experience; she’s a college professor and a teacher, and has a Master’s Degree in Education. I would bet that not too many school board trustees, current or candidates, can say they have that on their resume.

For those who wonder what the main issue is that spurred her into running, this article here would give you some background on it: the accommodation reviews for closing schools she feels needs to be fixed, from her experience at having 3 area schools being closed in that area. She details that more specifically in an op-ed to the Hamilton Community News.

Her main website is here, and as I said, for those in Hamilton Ward 7, I seriously encourage you to take a look.

UPDATE @ 1:17 pm: I’m told that a friend and ally of Dawn is Stefanie Sheils, running in Ward 9-10, so a mini-shoutout to her.



So the LPCO had their AGM over the weekend, and I just wanted to say a couple of things about it briefly. Unfortunately, my friend and fellow blogger Jeff Jedras didn’t quite make it in his bid to be the VP Comms for LPCO – Christine Michaud won that position, and congrats to her – but I wanted to congratulate Jeff on his campaign; it takes a lot of courage to put your name out there and then be scrutinized by a lot of people. I hope that his general message he delivered to the LPCO will be still considered and listened to, and I know there are other things that Jeff will contribute as a Liberal net-rooter and an activist, and I look forward to seeing him do those. I also will congratulate a couple of people who were acclaimed to their positions who I’ve spoke to a fair bit the last few weeks; Tyler Banham is the new President of the LPCO, and Brandon Sage is the new VP of Organization. Both were kind enough to do interviews with me; so if you want to see what they want to get done while they’re in their present positions, look here for Tyler’s interview and here for Brandon’s.

I was also happy to see Lynne Steele elected as Ontario Women Liberal Commission President. I will not go into specifics as to why I endorsed her again; but let me just say it will be good to have an OWLC president who will continue to focus on both federal and provincial issues, and is (from what I understand and what I have been told) a no-nonsense type of person. My best of luck wishes to her.


Interview with Phil Somers, LPC Nomination Candidate Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston

This is another interview I’m posting today that I’ve done with Liberal Party candidates or nomination candidates. Today’s is with Phil Somers, seeking the nomination in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston (a newly created riding in 2015). I have to applaud Mr. Somers, as he has seen the other interviews I’ve done on here and contacted me, asking if I’d consider interviewing him and went out of his way to provide answers.. so thank you to him for his initiative.

For those who haven’t visited your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?

Continue reading Interview with Phil Somers, LPC Nomination Candidate Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston


Harper / PMO: “The Inuit knew about the Franklin ships? Who knew?”

APTN demonstrates how low a priority First Nations relations are with the Harper government at the moment:

The Franklin expedition ship found by researchers on the Arctic seabed has a detailed and colourful history within Inuit oral tradition, yet the Inuit garnered only one 17-word sentence among the press releases and backgrounders released by the Prime Minister’s Office at the time after Tuesday’s announced discovery…the general public wouldn’t know about the key role Inuit oral history played in the selection of the search area by reading the information posted on the PMO’s website. There, the role of the Inuit in the Franklin saga is mentioned only in passing….The PMO did not respond to an APTN National News question on why the Inuit received barely a mention.

It’s rather obvious why – Harper wants to take sole credit for finding it and reap any rewards – whatever those may be – from the public on helping fund this search. It also shows the grudging attitude the Harper government and PMO have about wanting to share any credit – particularly with First Nations people.

No surprises here for me about this attitude. The only time Harper and the PMO will laud something the First Nations do these days is likely only if they approve permission to allow the oil pipelines to be built across their territory.

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