The Canadian election results are in and they prove how our system of ‘first past the post’ fails to provide fairness to voters and creates a system of false authority.
There is a serious problem with the Canadian electoral system and the most recent election deeply highlights the issue. Canadians need electoral reform as the current process is broken. In the election the results appeared as most people could have predicted, with a Conservative minority government. What most people haven’t been looking at is the issue with proportional representation. By taking a look at how the popular vote carries over to the number of seats a party wins we see major disfunction.
Party – Popular Vote – Seats – Percentage of Voting power in Parliament
Conservative – 37.6% – 143 – 46.4%
Liberal – 26.2% – 76 – 24.7%
NDP – 18.2% – 37 – 12%
BLOC – 10% – 50 – 16.2%
Green – 6.8% – 0 – 0%
By looking at these figures, we see that the Conservatives and Bloc are receiving too much power from their votes and parties like the Liberal, NDP, and most especially the Green Party have their power in parliament reduced. This is a slap in the face to voters who had voted for the Green party as their vote will now translate into zero say in parliament even though the party holds 6.8% of all voters views. Electoral reform needs to happen, and it must happen soon. Voter turnout reached an alltime low in the latest election and its no surprise. Voters are left feeling helpless and that their vote will not matter in the big picture.
Please take a look at the great site, Fair Vote Canada for more information on electoral reform and please get involved. Take a look at Orphan Voters to really highlight the issue of votes not really counting. All statistics can be found at the Elections Canada site.
All striking workers are back at work today as CUPE 1975 reached a tentative agreement with the Universities. Not all services have been returned to normal but it seems as though many services are returning to being operational. This comes just in time as many students are finishing their classes and beginning their final exams. The agreement was reached sometime Saturday and further issues are going to be sent to binding arbitration soon. It seems as though final exams will go ahead as normal and next semester won’t be canceled.
News Talk 980 is reporting that the University Strike is confirmed to begin right away Friday morning. This follows the two hour rally that occurred on Tuesday. CUPE, the union representing the workers, says that the University refuses to go back to the bargaining table and this job action is required. School on Friday could be a whole lot more interesting. I expect it will be things as usual tomorrow but if the strike continues through next week I expect some changes at the University. Hopefully people know that everyone is on strike and clean up their messes. It’s almost daily that someone spills their drink someplace and walks away from it.
**update** The university has a webpage setup to show how the strike action is going to affect students.
I am taking my second Chinese course of University and I have been really enjoying it. Going to class and labs with the assignments has been really good at reinforcing the language. By attending class and participating I can really learn the material well. Right now I am feeling fairly confident in my abilities and I am continually impressed by how much I am learning. I have also benefited from a couple of online resources that allow me to further advance my knowledge as well as look up what I already know. I hope you find these resources helpful if you ever learn Chinese.
My most favorite online resource is www.xuezhongwen.net . This site is a great resource as I can look up Chinese characters that I don’t know the pinyin for or I can search using the pinyin or I can type out the characters and look up the meaning. Overall I would definitely recommend this site to anyone who is learning Chinese.
Another site I really enjoy is the Chinese Flashcards on Yellowbridge. These can be really helpful when you are trying to learn Chinese characters. I have spent many hours doing these flashcards and they have been very beneficial in making me memorize the character, pinyin, and meaning.
Hundreds of University clerical, maintenance, custodial, and other staff were all on the picket line today at 11am. The workers are looking for higher wages, benefits among other things. The workers set up a gathering with their pickets right in the center of the University of Regina’s Academic Green. So far today it has been classes as usual. It is not expected the striking will affect classes or force any cancellations but that could change if there is any safety concerns. As always I will update with any updates as they happen. As well, people might be able to check out the webcam at the university to possibly see the strike.
**update 12am ** they have taken their marching into the building and chanting as they walk around the University. I’m not sure how well the profs will be affected by the megaphones passing by their classrooms. Should be interesting to see what they will do next.
**update 1pm ** the striking workers aren’t on the Academic green anymore and I can’t see them in the hallways anymore. Maybe they are picketing someplace else around the University or they just went back to work instead.
This is a what if situation I’m playing out in my head right now. What if there is the strike at the university and classes are cancelled because of it. Would the students who had classes cancelled receive reimbursement for the missed classes? I know I would want reimbursement since the students pay a lot of money to attend those classes and if they are cancelled on no part of their own doing they should be compensated. With classes costing upwards over $500 each, class time is very valuable and this could result in a lot of compensation payments paid out by the university. Of course this is a complete what if and most likely won’t happen. The university is surely capable of running off management workers… right??
Google is a company that seems to care about the future. They have many programs in place to train the future computer scientists and to assist them as they develop their skills. In the past I have attempted to try to bring their Google ambassador pizza program to the university but failed at that. I guess the University of Regina isn’t on their list of schools that they want to be supporting. Maybe someday I suppose. Now, they have a new program called Google Code for Educators. It has a number of items targetted at profs to use in their classes. There are video lectures, sample course content, and tutorials on new technologies. All of this is available for free and is given away with the creative commons license. It is my hope that more profs will use resources like this as the material is very well written and a lot clearer than many of the profs. The program itself was actually announced July 26 but old news can still be new news to me.
I finished my first summer class today. Anthropology 100 took me 3 and a half weeks to complete and I really enjoyed it. The class itself taught about various parts to human life. There were chapters on stuff like, religion, gender, political structures, family, and colonialism among other things. The condensed summer class meant that each day of the class was a new chapter for the most part. As well, we watched anthropologically related videos that really added to the immersiveness of the class. I would definitely recommend this class to others that need a 100 level elective. I am a really big fan of summer classes since they are more condensed and cause me to stay focused on one thing longer, I think I learn better this way.
Freakonomics is a rather unique book written by an economist named Steven D. Levitt. He isn’t the normal stereotype that fits the economist profession, he fits the nerd description and sees economics through a very different point of view. The book goes through mysteries in everyday life and then uses economics to help explain these mysteries. I haven’t yet read the book and recently just ordered it. So far, it has received very good reviews so far and is well recommended. The author was on the Daily Show a while back and his interview really made me want to purchase the book. Amazon currently has the book on sale for $17.48 with a regular price of upwards of $34.95, although that regular price seems rather high. As well, you can request a signed bookplate from the author!
Starting next week, I will be back in school. It has been a while since I’ve been fully in school. I was last in class at the beginning of April. This semester I will be in 5 classes; CS201, CS310, Econ331, Stats254, Classics100. All of these classes should be interesting. I imagine that CS310 will be the most difficult class as I didn’t like Math 221, which is basically the same material. The other classes should range from fun to boring but I am looking forward to my return.