Friday, August 27, 2010

An Open Letter to Her Majesty The Queen

Okay, as I mentioned in my first post to this blog I started after a trip to Ottawa where I had some thoughts but no outlet for them so let me start with the first and probably most interesting/important--at least in my own mind. One of the most interesting aspects of my trip was the references to democracy by the various guides of the National Capital Commission that were made and it got me thinking... there are 2 aspects of Canadian democracy that I find problematic.

First, our democracy is predicated on an antiquated electoral system (see where the popular vote (i.e., the percentage of votes for a particular party vs. another party) is entirely irrelevant.  And, second that all of our bills which either do or do not become laws in this country have to first be passed through an unelected assembly namely the Canadian Senate.

In the last federal election to the House of Commons one of the Conservative party's election promises was to reform this Senate.  Now although I'm not a particular fan of the Conservative party I have to admit this was an area where I thought we could find common cause.  Several years on no actions have been taken on this matter.  Now I could sit here behind my keyboard and lambaste Steven Harper and the Conservative party for breaking one of their election promises; but I won't for one very simple reason: It wasn't their fault.  No member of the elected House of Commons--regardless of the potential flaws in the electoral system which has elected them--has the necessary authority to reform the "Upper House" including the Prime Minister.

That being said I submit this open letter to Her Majesty The Queen who is the only one (or through her representative in this nations capital the Governor General) who does have any authority over the Canadian Senate.

To: The Private Secretary of Her Majesty the Queen.

Please communicate the following to her royal person.  

I, as a citizen of Canada noting the deficiency in democracy brought about by the electoral system used to elect representatives to the House of Commons where by a majority can be elected to the House by virtue of the riding assignments regardless of the overall popular vote hereby request that actions be taken to remodel the Canadian Senate such that the members of the Upper House be elected by strict proportional representation.

Yours Sincerely,
Kevin Lucas

Okay, maybe a bit drastic and dramatic.  But, there it is.  In one sentence--albeit a grammatically questionable one--the solution to the democratic deficit in Canada.  Think of it.  Really, the Canadian Senate is a rubber stamp on the decisions of the House of Commons.  Senators typically don't do all that much.  They're appointments are political rewards from the leading parties.  

There are only 2 organizations that I can think of that would oppose the election of the Senate by Proportional Representation (See:  One is the Senate itself.  After all, hey, we've got a good thing going, why shoot ourselves in the foot.  The other is Elections Canada who would end up with extra work.  Aside from those two institutions who would oppose this idea?  Okay, so really it shouldn't be referred to as the 'Upper House' any longer but on an equal footing as the House of Commons but really--practically, the power in Canadian federal political resides in the House of Commons now so what have we got to lose save for an outdated House of 'sober second thoughts' that acts as little more than a 'feel good' connection to the past and a place to put political favorites for the government of the day?

Electing the Senate; and electing them by P.R. makes sense for a modern democracy.  Putting the Senate on a par with the House of Commons makes sense for a modern democracy.  This way we get the best of both worlds.  One of the major problems with Proportional Representation is that there is no locality associated with an individual member (just ask an Italian).  Having one House elected under one electoral system and the other by another just makes sense for a modern democracy.  

Okay, so there's my piece.  It may sound out there a bit but like Michale Moore said "...this is a democracy, we can make any sort of crazy laws we want...."


Senators Only

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Champlain and the Sun

I may be blowing my own horn but I really like this picture of the statue of Champlain and the sun on a hill overlooking the Ottawa river that I took the other day:

Hot Pepper Packages

I'd like to share a message I just sent via the contact us link at  Granted it's a small thing but an irritating one, to me anyway.  I'd encourage anyone else reading this to do the same.  If not for me then perhaps for the ecological reasons regarding packaging....



Quick comment about the hot peppers sold at Rocca's No Frills (269 Coxwell Ave. in Toronto):  A few months ago the hot peppers (Jamaican peppers and chillies) started to be sold in packages rather than loosely in the produce section.  Trouble is, that I--like I'm sure many people in the area--live on my own and even though I like to cook spicy foods I really can't do much with a package of 8-10 scotch bonnets.  Inevitably the left over peppers rot in my fridge (or my curries end up so hot as to be inedible).

For the most part this isn't a problem as the store is located next to a large Indian bizarre with lots of other stores selling individual peppers but it would be nice to be able to buy all the ingredients I'm looking for in one spot.

Would it be possible to start selling the peppers loosely again?

Thanks in advance.
I realise that the No Frills stores are franchises (or are otherwise operated at arms length from Loblaws and PC and whoever owns and operates the website) so please forward this message as appropriate.

Now I know, I know.  Perhaps I should be buying all my ingredients in the Bazaar anyway and forgetting the big corporate grocery store.  Well, at least corporate affiliated.  After all as far as I can tell they're a franchise.  Hold on, I'm getting derailed <picks up train of thought and put's it back on the rails>.  Trouble is that the afore mentioned Jamaican peppers aren't typically available in the Bazaar; at least I've never seen them.  But they are tasty for doing West Indian dishes.

Okay maybe I should haul ass to the nearest West Indian grocer for them but I don't know of any in the area. Any suggestions?  Or maybe they should just go back to selling the peppers individually like they used to.


Hi All

Hi All,

I just got back from a trip to Ottawa last night.  I just went on my own and did some sightseeing.  I found thoughts and ideas occurring to me while I was there and I realised that I didn't have a platform to put them out there.  Well, at least not if they're more than 140 whatever characters (I am on and Twitter)  After all a thought (good, bad or indifferent) is useless if it stays in your head.

So, that being said, go ahead and get those thoughts out of your head.  And welcome to my blog.

P.S. You may be wondering about the 'yu210148'.  Like many I went to York University in Toronto and while there was assigned an email address.  At the time--I graduated in 2002--named ones were reserved for faculty.  Undergrads like myself were assigned numbers prefixed by 'yu'.  I've stuck with it for most of my online stuff simply because it's unique and usually available as a username.  Even here I tried a couple of different variations of my name when signing up and of course they were taken.  It may not be the easiest thing to remember but that's why there are bookmarks (favourites if your speak IE).