Andrew Coyne speaks on Mixed Member Proportional representation. You should listen.

Living on a knife-edge does strange things to people. On the one hand, it leaves the parties in a perpetual fever of anticipation, convinced they have only to gain a few points in the polls to destroy their opponents. That is one reason the two federal conservative parties, Progressive Conservative and Reform, were so reluctant to merge. It is also the reason why minority governments tend, under our system, to be so unstable.

On the other hand, the consequences of losing a few points makes them excessively, almost neurotically cautious, unwilling to take the slightest risk or advocate the mildest change, but each hugging as close as it can to the median voter, the status quo and each other. Hence the dominance of the two brokerage parties, indistinguishable in philosophy — alike, that is, in the lack of it.

Put the two together, and you have much of Canadian politics — viciously partisan, yet unspeakably trivial; much ado about nothing much. McGuintoryism, in short.


McGuintoryism? Yeow!

Folks, this is why they pay Mr. Coyne the big bucks.

Hat tip to Greg Staples.

We had a pretty good day today. We went out to visit Paul Gillespie and his family at a brunch celebrating his 60th birthday, and Vivian spent most of the time doing laps around the outside the backyard pool, while Erin and I took turns chasing after her to make sure she didn’t fall in. She was very active throughout the day, so our planned writing stop at a nearby Indigo didn’t yield any writing, although Vivian had a lot of fun once she settled down with her bouncy ball.

I’ve been fighting off an early cold these past few days. I know it’s a cold and not allergies because the thing moved out of my nose and into my chest. Interestingly, other than this cold, I haven’t had much in the way of sneezes and sniffles this season, despite people around me having allergy attacks. I’m wondering if we’ve had fewer smog days than usual. If so, not bad!

On Bill Murdoch

Some news agencies are reporting that Conservative MPP has announced that he will oppose (as in, vote against) John Tory’s proposal to extend public funding to non-Catholic religious schools. Some Liberals are sure to pounce on this as signs of widespread dissention in the ranks.

I happened to meet Bill Murdoch back in my University days. As the MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, he has been a particularly strong opponent of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, and the impact it has over private property rights. He took on a classroom full of wide-eyed urban planning students who’d spent a whole term learning about the commission, and coming to believe in it. He got out relatively unscathed.

And then he had to sit through eight years of government wherein his own party did nothing to modify or curtail the powers of the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

So I wouldn’t make too much of his latest dissention. The faith-based schools question is far from the only time Mr. Murdoch has disagreed with his party, and his general attitude is probably one reason why he has spent a lot of his time on his party’s back bench. He speaks his mind, and puts what he sees as the interests of his riding ahead of that of his party.

What we are looking at, here, is Ontario’s equivalent of the late Chuck Cadman, and I frankly think he might get more attention if he actually did sit as an independent. He’d certainly win his riding as an independent.

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