Friday, December 16, 2016

JT's "fun little questionnaire"

VoxPopLabs, the same folks who brought you Vote Compass, has taken something of a beating in public opinion for their electoral reform quiz

Originally introduced by Justin Trudeau as "a fun little questionnaire that gets into values rather than models", Andrew Coyne referred to it as "a dippy pop quiz or botched push-poll", soundly mocked for the obvious slant of the questions with "two thirds of the “values” questions and over half of those probing respondents’ “preferences” having nothing to do with electoral reform". 

Or as I like to call it, a 'what kind of animal are you?' quiz.

Asked about this on CBC, Mark Holland was at pains to point out that the government didn't pick the questions. 
No, but you did choose the parameter of the questions; VoxPops merely did the job you asked them to do.

From the government tender awarding the contract to VoxPopLabs in September :
"The key tasks include:
Provide a draft of questions for review by the Project Authority;"
The Project Authority here is presumably the Privy Council Office, described in the bid as the "End user entity".
"Conduct a robust scientific survey in advance of the launch of the interactive online application in order to identify key themes and develop classifications based on responses;
.... determine segments and develop narratives for each cluster based on the profiles that emerge from the survey; 
VoxPopLabs says they developed a large survey, field-tested it, and then asked a panel of 3,000 Canadians "the remaining questions and used their responses to generate a cluster analysis".
This is where those five much-mocked archetype categories come from.
Develop a robust model ...  to instantaneously classify participants to the interactive online digital consultation platform into segments uncovered in the survey
Ok, so your answers slot you into one of the five predetermined archetype categories.

My complaint with the above approach is that the archetypes were built on different questions asked than those asked in the final survey, and that of the five, there is no category for people who are both in favour of some version of proportional representation but against online voting. And did we really need five direct questions about online voting and mandatory voting but none on proportional representation?

So what will the Project Authority learn from all this?
Provide categories of customized user feedback and data visualization for review by the Project Authority;
This is, I grant you, more scientific than the five categories of Heathers and Zoes and Dougies and Steves and Eunices that conservative strategist Patrick Muttart categorized Canadians into for Stephen Harper back in 2005, but I don't see it getting us any closer to electoral reform. 

Not completing the survey will result in a repeat of the ERRE Liberal MPs' contention that no one is interested. However if you do the survey, game the questions by figuring out which ones give a glimmer of support to the idea of proportional representation and mark them "strongly agree", you possibly run the risk of being disqualified because, as the ERRE Liberals also complained, everyone who showed up to townhalls or answered the much superior ERRE survey was self-selective and already had an opinion.

Filling in this survey is quite a bit like strategic voting, a reason many of us want rid of FPtP in the first place. FairVote has provided a guide to answering it.

Fun fact : VoxPopLabs mydemocracy survey cost $326K. 
The entire budget for the now disbanded ERRE committee, their five months of witness testimony, their travels across Canada, and their online survey on electoral reform systems, was $300K.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

BC gov letter on Site C

Back in August, BC Hydro applied for a "Licence of Occupation" to log crown land above the Site C dam - land that had been previously slated for provincial park status.

The only public notice I could find about it was in the Alaska Highway News - and in, which noted that the government ad in the back of Alaska Highway News did not even mention Site C.

I ran into the deadline for public input quite by accident in September three days before it was closing. I contacted all the news media, environmental watchdogs, Site C opponents, and MPs I could think of - to no avail, despite considerable signal boost from facebookies and the twitterati.

The previous Tuesday, having recently issued permits via Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans to allow the Site C dam to proceed even as the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nation were challenging the previous government's approval of it in the courts, the Trudeau government told the House of Commons "it is now up to B.C. Hydro to conduct any further public consultations"

So I wrote to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, to whom BC Hydro had made the logging application, and asked how an ad in the back of Alaska Highway News that didn't even mention Site C qualified as public consultation. 
Today, 80 days later, I received their reply.

Dear Alison Creekside

Thank you for your comments and concerns regarding the application for crown land use, file number 8015830 (BC Hydro). Your comments and concerns have been used in the decision making process for this application. In direct response to your specific correspondence regarding the above file, please be aware of the following information.

The decision made by government to move forward with the Site “C” Project was made December 16, 2014. Public and other stakeholder input was gathered for the period of the Environmental Assessment Process conducted by the Environmental Assessment Office beginning in January 2012. The applicant was granted an Environmental Assessment Certificate (EAC#14-02) on October 14, 2014. The Environmental Assessment was given consideration to the project level decision on December 16, 2014. The project level decision was based on many factors, including but not limited to, the public and stakeholder input, the Environmental Assessment process and all the associated studies and conditions recommended, current land status and future land status (i.e. Agriculture Land Reserve, potential parks areas and Old Growth Areas), project level management plans, environmental plans, other risk mitigation plans, geotechnical studies for slope stability and viability, and archaeological studies.

All applications for crown land use at the Licence/Permit level must be consistent with the construction schedule of the approved project level decision. All applications packages for specific area Licence/Permit for consideration by the decision maker, must contain area specific detailed management plans, area specific detailed risk avoidance and mitigation strategies for values at risk, and any other information the decision maker requests to aid in the decision making process.

At this time, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations is considering public and other stakeholder comments and concerns at the Licence/Permit specific area level. The processes used to make decisions at the Licence/Permit level are transparent and implemented using practices found in policy and law (for example, the minimum time an application must be advertised in the newspaper is legislated). In the case of this application, the advertisement period was for 14 days in the local newspaper the Alaska Highway News. Even though the time period for receiving public and stakeholder input had passed, comments and concerns continued to be received up to the date of decision for this application.

Appeals through the judicial system on the Project Decision do not interrupt the adjudication of applications for the area specific Licence/Permit. No injunctions to halt the project or the associated Licences/Permits due to recent appeals have been granted by the courts to date.


Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
#100, 10003-110th Avenue
Fort St John, BC   V1J 6M7

Today agrologist and journalist Wendy Holm reported the BC NDP sent out a pre-election survey to supporters and members of the public "to help guide the strategies of the NDP".
It did not mention Site C.

The BC NDP survey : 15 questions, one of them a multiple choice of 17 issues to prioritize.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

To the BC KM17, Your Next Career

... from Kim , who used to blog at sistersagesmusings ....
BC 17, Your Next Career
Dear BC(LIB) MPs;
Your photogenic leader has just tanked your career as a politician in BC. I hope you feel ashamed and embarrassed. If that is the case, I would suggest that you strongly consider crossing the floor or resigning your post, because, clearly, you have no mandate in your constituencies. You all know how we feel about our coast. You all know how important this ocean is to our economy. You all swept into office on promises of a new Nation to Nation relationship, how you basked in the glow of "Governments give approval, but only communities give permission". How you embraced UNDRIP and the Paris Accord. Unless you part ways with your Party leadership on this, you are liars and cheats and not fit for representing your constituents in Ottawa. You all know that there is no world class oil spill response, ask the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella. How the Oil cleanup company is owned by the Oil Titans. How the coast guard comms system has failed many times since Harper closed the network. I would suggest that you people start reflecting deeply on these issues, and the fact that you have just allowed massive protests to endanger our people.
I just sent this to the 17 Liberal MPs in BC.; 604-717-1144, 613-992-1416; 604-775-5323, 613-995-7052; 604-575-6595 , 613-992-0884; 604-718-8870, 613-992-0802; 604-598-2200, 613-992-0666; 604-666-0135, 613-992-3213; 250-470-5075, 613-992-7006; 604-913-2660, 613-947-4617; 604-501-5900, 613-996-2205; 604-927-1080, 613-992-9650; 604-664-9220, 613-992-2430; 604-257-2900, 613-992-1385; 778-593-4007, 613-992-2957; 604-466-2761, 613-947-4613; 604-589-2441, 613-992-2922; 604-814-5710, 613-992-1248; 604-775-6333, 613-995-1225  

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