BC Election 2009… Polls Close… continuing coverage tonight

Generally… I’m already depressed about the possible result. But I’m going to remain optimistic.

I’ve put this post in the categories of Climate Change and Peak Oil because I think the coming decade, 2010-2020, will be pivotal, crucial, in the development of BC and of humanity as a whole as both of those challenges come to a head.

Woohoo! 8:19PM! the NDP is winning 3-1 with like 40 votes counted! ;)

8:22PM…. holy crap! 8 to 2! It’s gonna be a landslide!!

8:27PM… OK, so as the early returns come in I just want to include a prediction of our vote in the our riding of Alberni-Pacific. I think our riding will be closer than it was last election when Scott Fraser of the NDP won, but I do think that the result will favour the incumbent Scott Fraser. Ms. St. Jaques will likely do well in Ucluelet where she was mayor as well as pockets in central Port Alberni and the rural Alberni Valley. Mr. Fraser will carry the majority of Alberni polls though and will do better in the Coombs and Errington areas.

8:33PM… 23 to 17 for NDP

8:38PM… 35 to 34 for Lib

8:43PM… at this early time, Scott Fraser is leading in our riding. You can see the results as they come in to Elections BC here.

8:53PM… Nanaimo looks to be going NDP at this point. There’s nothing out of Parksville-Qualicum yet.

8:59PM… I will be surprised if CTV (which is who I am watching as far as elections coverage) doesn’t call the election for the Liberals at 9:00PM or very soon after.

9:03PM… There you go… CTV has projected a Liberal government…. interestingly… the CBC has not projected a winner yet.

9:06PM… Joy McPhail on CTV is wondering aloud about the results in the Northern Interior expressing her surprise that the early results are so pro-Liberal considering the devastation of the forest industry. I have two words for her that explains everything… Carole James.

9:09PM… Have the biases of one station and others ever been clearer? The CBC still continues to hold its election predictions while the CTV is practically gleeful in its interviews of happy Liberals and sad NDP’ers.

9:15PM… the first results for STV are starting to trickle in and they are looking very bad. I’m not surprised… this is going to be a long and depressing night indeed.

9:18PM… and finally the CBC is now reporting a Liberal Majority government.

9:19PM… on a positive note, Scott Fraser looks to have wiped out Dianne St. Jaques in Alberni-Clayoquot. He has double the votes (2400 to 1400) right now.

9:23PM… the BC-STV results are looking very poor…

% of valid votes province-wide in favour of BC-STV 40.33% (need 60)

Number of electoral districts with 50% or more of the valid votes cast in favour of BC-STV 3 (need 70)

9:34PM… It’s going to be a pretty upset office tomorrow. And nervous… now that the election is over, the budget will finally be released for Vancouver Island University. We don’t expect good news.

9:50PM… Probably the most depressing statement, and most accurate, that I’ve heard on the analysis tonight was just now from the CBC panel. In both the election and the referendum on STV, the voters of BC look to have strongly voted for the status quo.

That just destroys a lot of hope that I had for the future.

I’m going to keep monitoring it, but needless to say, I’m very disappointed…. and not terribly motivated to blog about it now.

You can’t Get Swine Flu from Pigs!

It is really infuriating and disappointing to see the amount of fear and misinformation out there about the swine flu.

I saw on the CBC news yesterday that a WHO official had stated to a number of people that the influenza that infects pigs could persist in the meat and infect humans that way.

The CBC report then went on and did a very good job of refuting that claim, and then, when they showed their evidence to the WHO official in question he stated that he didn’t actually have any scientific data to backup what he said.

How incredibly irresponsible. The WHO website itself says in its FAQ on Influenza A H1N1/Swine Flu.

Is it safe to eat pork and pork products?

Yes. influenza A(H1N1) has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived from pigs. The influenza A(H1N1) virus is killed by cooking temperatures of 160°F/70°C, corresponding to the general guidance for the preparation of pork and other meat.

De-Bunking the No-STV website

I just happened to go over to the No-STV website and there is nothing that bugs me more than FUD. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. And this website has it in spades.

I’ll point out 3:

#1… the “Hockey Analogy”: No-STV plots out a hypothetical 7 game Stanley Cup Final with Vancouver vs. Toronto:

With four wins by Vancouver compared to three wins by Toronto, Vancouver has won the Stanley Cup. But our adamant STV advocates would argue the point vigorously. “Not fair” they would shout! “Toronto had more goals! The Maple Leafs had twenty and the Canucks only fourteen!” They would be correct in counting goals but fundamentally wrong in interpreting what they mean. Everybody understands that winning the Stanley Cup does not involve counting goals but counting wins!

Here is where we are in fundamental disagreement.

We’re talking about democracy and a persons right to cast a vote. The right of Universal Suffrage is one of the pillars of freedom in our society. So I disagree completely with their conclusion. It *IS* about counting the goals, it *is* about counting the votes. It is my vote, your vote, our votes, that are supposed to determine the composition of our legislature and the direction of our government. In my opinion the electoral system must reflect the wishes of the voters as closely as possible. This is not a game.

#2: on “Vote Count Confusion” a.k.a. Your Neighbour might vote against you!

No-STV says:

Your second preference could get counted as 10% of a vote while your neighboour’s second preference could get counted as a full vote, as some value in between, or not at all. With BC-STV you cannot control what fraction of your vote is given to each of your preferences because how your vote is counted is determined by how other people vote.

What’s with the fear? How my neighbour votes is none of my business. It is their right to vote however they want. The only way my neighbours votes effects my vote in any way is if my neighbour doesn’t vote at all. The bar that MLAs will need to attain is determined by the total number of votes cast.

Are the NO-STV folks objecting to my neighbour having an opinion at all because if more of their “neighbours” vote, then it becomes more difficult for a candidate to be elected? Is that a bad thing? What are they trying to control?

If my neighbour wants to put their #1 choice down as some Communist who gets eliminated in the 1st round and her vote is then transferred at full value to her 2nd choice, then that is THEIR CHOICE. There is nothing unfair about it, because I could do precisely the same thing… the rules are the same for everyone, and if my neighbours vote eventually makes it to my own candidate that gets elected then it just might end up getting transferred to yet another preference right along side me!

You *can* control what fraction of your vote gets allocated to your 2nd preference, in a number of ways. One would be to put down only your #1 preference. That way, your vote will go to precisely the candidate you want and contribute as much as possible to that candidates chance. You wouldn’t need to worry about fractions, your vote would never be transferred to anyone else as it would be considered “exhausted”. With STV, you control where your vote goes and you have a real choice.

#3: The No-STV site then says:

Most people think our current system is fair since it elects the candidate who gets the most votes, but many don’t think it is fair for their neighbour’s second preference to count 10 times, or more, as much as theirs.

That is simply fear mongering. No voters ballot is worth any more than any others. One of the greatest strengths of STV is that a ballot is considered, until it elects someone or is exhausted.

That means you are potentially guaranteed to have your ballot elect someone if you rank every single candidate on the ballot. That guarantee is simply impossible with FPTP.

Think about that for a second. If BC-STV was implemented every vote you make in every election from now until the day you die could be guaranteed to elect an MLA.

Because there are multiple MLAs in each riding there must be a way to ensure that voters can affect the fortunes of more than one candidate. Otherwise there could be MLAs elected with extremely small vote counts. That’s why the system of transferring a fraction is used. It ensures that your ballot, that your choices, are taken into consideration as much as possible while remaining as fair as possible.

1st preference is still what will form the foundation of a candidates support, but it is the 2nd and 3rd choices of voters that will likely get those MLAs over the bar, and that means those MLAs must be accountable and appealing to as wide an audience as possible, women and men, rural and urban… etc etc.

Newt Gingrich can’t Count (oil) he’s dangerous.

Today the House Energy Committee got a visit from Al Gore… and he ruffled some feathers… especially those of Mr. Gingrich.

Here’s his response

He says that Al Gore presented “misleading ascertions”.

Newt says…

[Al Gore] said for example, the rate of new discoveries, is falling for energy. That’s factually not true.

Actually, Newt, it is true. And it has been true for over 60 years… and here’s the proof Newt:


In 1965, 60 Billion barrels of conventional oil were discovered.

But Newt goes on:

In the last 3 years we have found (who is we?) have found 100 years of Natural Gas in the United States

That’s nice Newt. If I took only one sip out of a coke bottle every day then it might last 100 years as well. The question Newt, is not the amount, it is the rate. How much of the 20 million barrels of oil that the US consumes in a day can that “new natural gas” displace.

The answer, according to the US Energy Information Administration (PDF), is very little.

From 2004 – 2007, 46 Trillion Cubic Feet of “Proved Reserves” were added. Yet Estimated Production only grew by 0.2 Trillion cubic feet a year… the US consumed 23 Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas in 2007

The picture for oil and oil substitutes like Natural Gas Liquids is even more grim:

From 2004 – 2007, 1.6 Billion Barrels of Crude Oil Equivalent were discovered of Natural Gas Liquids reserves. Yet estimated Production grew by 4 million barrels a year. That equates to 11,000 barrels of oil a day… roughly 0.06% of the daily 18 million barrel consumption in the US.

And finally, for crude oil…

From 2004 – 2007, -547 million barrels. Repeat. Negative 547 Million Barrels of crude oil were “discovered”….. in other words, we used it up faster than we discovered new stuff. Which brings us back to the graph above, the graph that matters.

Production of crude oil in the United States was 1.8 Billion barrels in 2004, and 1.7 in 2007. That’s a drop of 100 Million Barrels of oil a year or 0.5%.


I hope that clarifies things for you Newt. The party is over. I know you’ll never accept it… probably not even when either your country collapses under its own debt to oil producing countries, or riots erupt from gas shortages and skyrocketing prices… but at least there are some who get it.

And by the way, from 1997 to 2007 total estimated production of Crude Oil plus Natural Gas Liquids went from 3 Billion Barrels of oil a year, to 2.5 Billion Barrels. A drop of 16%.

Brazil can’t save you Newt. Even without the current global recession, production from the new Brazilian finds wasn’t going to reach its full potential of 1.1 Million barrels a day (400 Million a year) until, wait for it, 2017.

Lets see.. in another 10 years we will likely drop another 16%… another 500 Million a year… much more than Brazil could provide, if even it all went to the US, which it won’t.

You’re dangerous Newt. You’re Dangerous!

Hey BC NDP’ers: Al Gore wants Cap and Trade…. plus Carbon Tax

This at least makes me feel a little better about Carole James cynical opportunism….

If you don’t feel like clicking (come on, it’s only 1 1/2 minutes long!)… at a Senate Hearing discussing what sort of Climate policy and bill the US Congress should pass, a Senator mentioned that a Carbon Tax is a Carbon Tax, but a Cap and Trade system is a “huge tax” as well.

To this, Al Gore said… a Carbon Tax is a tax, and Cap and Trade is expensive, but he actually supports HAVING BOTH… first the Cap and Trade, to encourage a global market and get more countries into the system… and then a revenue neutral Carbon Tax to further encourage reductions.

I’ll just close my eyes and believe that Carole James is really just in Al Gores head… it’s all good. Right?

On another note… Al Gore also directly mentioned Peak Oil in his comments to Senate leaders today… unfortunately it’s not in the video linked above, but the other rumour going around is that there some sort of “An Inconvenient Truth 2″ focused on Peak Oil is in the works.

Hey Al? Can you hurry it up please? Thanks.

Here’s another opinion on the NDPs plan.