Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Seat redistribution, Babylon 5 style

A thought on the issue of adding more seats to the House of Commons, from the writers of the sci-fi series "Babylon 5". I didn't get to watch the series too much, but one episode I did see has a principle that could be applied here.

Delin, who at this point in the series had become the defacto leader of the Mimbari, is in the chambers of "The Grey Council"... the official ruling body of the Mimbari. This 1000 year old council, following the tradition of it's founding, was made up of nine members, plus a leader who acted much like the Speaker. These nine "seats" were distributed amongst the three classes of Mimbari, to ensure that all voices had equality... three for the Warrior caste, three for the Religous caste, and three for the Worker caste.

Somewhere along the line in their long and proud history, the Mimbari became divided along two lines... the Warrior and the Religious caste. They fought back and forth throughout the years in the Grey council, while the Worker caste slowly became powerless, and was only able to provide a swing vote from time to time... they were unable to have their issues heard, or set the direction for the Republic, because they were considered only a minor player in the politics of the realm.

Enter Delin. I forget the storyline on how they ended up at the Grey Council at the end of the episode, but I'll never forget the scene. In the darkened room, she made a fundamental change to their 1000 year old system, and altered the balance of power. Having done away with the old Grey Council, she reformed the ruling body... of the nine spots on the Council, she granted two to the Warrior caste, two to the Religious caste, and five to the Worker caste. In an effort to restore balance, the two previously dominant castes would now have to make their case for all decisions, and convince the now dominant player that their position was in the best interest of all the people, rather than simply dictating their terms to the Workers.

Could this situation apply to us here in Canada? For decades now, many people have said that everyone west of the Ontario/Manitoba border has felt politically and economically isolated, with the results of the election basically known before the results from the West are even counted. The only way their voices could be heard is by sending a few MP's to Ottawa who were on the Government side of the House, and hope that your MP was the token one or two who got tapped for a Cabinet post.

Now, enter the modern era... Calgary and Vancouver are quickly becoming equal players in many sectors as Toronto and Montreal... especially economically. Due to a wide variety of factors, the prominance of Toronto and Montreal is waneing on the international stage, and the growing voices of the West want to be heard. They don't want to tag along anymore when it comes to decisions that are made in Ottawa, they want to be genuinely heard, and want to have a greater say in the affairs affecting our great Nation.

In order to do this, in order to restore some balance in our Confederation, I don't think it's unreasonable to give a little more weight to the voices of the West... remembering that BC is known as "The Left Coast" for a reason. It's about giving voice to a region of the country that has been without an effective voice for a very long time now. And as an Ontario resident who could benefit from a fully equal redistribution of seats (mine might get split, which, based on how the poll numbers in the City, may result in one Liberal AND one Conservative MP being regularly sent to Ottawa), I'd be willing to give up that right if it provides for a greater balance of voices in the Confederation.

But let's face it... if Ontario were to get the full number of seats that it should get via a purely "rep by pop" model, the ongoing problem of the West's "democratic deficit" will only continue. That's why I agree that we need some sort of "rep by region" equality as well as "rep by pop". We have an opportunity here to foster greater inclusion, but some people in Ontario only want to ensure that their voices are the only ones heard... and that's NOT democracy, that's a dictatorship.

Don't forget, having more seats in Calgary and Edmonton greatly increases the likelyhood of sending some Liberal MP's from Alberta too... I think Liberals in Alberta would agree that's a good thing, and I agree... this is about ensuring that all Canadians are heard equally according to region, not about silencing voices.

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  • At Tue. Nov. 27, 08:03:00 p.m. EST, Blogger Greg said…

    These nine "seats" were distributed amongst the three classes of Mimbari, to ensure that all voices had equality... three for the Warrior caste, three for the Religous caste, and three for the Worker caste.

    Didn't they all have to stand in a room with bad lighting, or am I thinking of another show?

  • At Tue. Nov. 27, 10:25:00 p.m. EST, Anonymous strider said…

    No, greg, you are correct. The room suffered from poor lighting, but they had a wicked home theater system installed!
    If you folks haven't seen the entire Babylon 5 series, I highly recommend it! It is arguably one of the best SF series ever made.

  • At Tue. Dec. 04, 11:54:00 a.m. EST, Blogger Alison said…

    Bro we have all five seasons, if you want to review them just give us a shout, they're incredibly intersting and follow some of the best character arcs in any show.


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