Loud ramblings of a Software Artisan

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Go vote !

If you are Canadian citizen and haven't voted in the advance polls, please do so on May 2nd. And if you are still undecided, just remember that this election is happening because the government that was elected last time was found in contempt of Parliament twice, not releasing information to allow Parliament to make informed decisions, and misleading Parliament.

Also remember that some countries don't even have a democratic process, and either have no voting, or rigged election with a single candidate.

Last but not least if you don't like the voting system, make sure you vote for the one would be more inclined to propose a reform. I personally have a few ideas in mind on how to improve it. It just not something that can be done in a day.

Wednesday 30 March 2011

CRTC, a useless regulator

In Canada the CRTC regulate telecommunications and broadcasting - sector that is really lagging behind - more on than another time. It is also the body in charge of making sure political candidates have equal time.

Right now, in Canada, it is election period to elect the 41st parliament after the 40th was disolved last week. The Green Party of Canada has been denied to participate into the debate by a "broadcasting consortium" because of an unwritten rule blocking parties that don't have a seat in the House of Common. Mr Ignatieff (Liberal), Mr Layton (NDP) and Monsieur Duceppe (Bloc Québecois) all agreed that she should participate in the debate. Mr Harper (Conservative) just said it was up to the "consortium". This is a bit of a change as both Mr Harper and Mr Layton threatened to boycott the debate if she was invited in 2008.

Simple facts: in the 2008, the Green Party of Canada gathered 6.8% of the votes nation wide. They didn't get a single member elected. In 2011, for this election, they have 308 candidates, ie one candidate per ridding. She also did participate in the 2008 debate as she gained a seat prior the election call.

Now concerning the refusal from the "broadcasting consortium", the Green Party contacted them. One single quote of the answer:

No rebuttal, only explaining they had the right to make the decision and it was their airways.

Broadcasters don't own the air waves. They license them from the regulator, the CRTC. Is it a private company that decide who can debate? Let's get in touch with the CRTC, and here is their response verbatim:

Thank you for taking the time to contact the CRTC regarding the participation of the Green Party in upcoming election debates.

Broadcasters remain ultimately responsible for the choice, content and scheduling of all material they choose to broadcast, subject to policies and regulations. While the CRTC has election policies in regard to advertising and balanced coverage during an election period, the CRTC does not become actively involved in the actual determination of which particular political parties participate in debates.

Here are links to our fact sheet and circular containing general information on Election Campaigns and Political Advertising:



In short, they will do nothing. They don't consider it is up to them to ensure balanced coverage by ruling on this. This probably part of a streak of bad decisions taken by the CRTC in the last years that just make me believe that this organisation should be disbanded and recreated from scratch.

In the mean time I have contacted elections Canada and filed a complaint as well.

Some would argue that other parties like the Pirate Party of Canada should also be invited. Why not.

Disclaimer: I'm not registered with any of the parties involved in the election nor am I a registered voter due to lack of citizenship. I don't think I would vote for the Green Party of Canada in this election either if I could, but I do believe in the democratic process, and balanced coverage.

Further coverage: