To Reform or Not to Reform; That is the Election Question!

Many of us at the Maples Met School have been learning about Parliamentary democracy and how Canadians and Manitobans govern themselves. We have learned that our democratic tradition comes from the Westminster model, or from Great Britain. We have a bicameral system federally, where we have the House of Commons (elected) and the Senate (appointed) as part of Parliament. Manitoba got rid of its upper house at the end of the 19th century.

Over the past few decades and certainly more recently, there has been a great deal of talk in Canada about electoral reform. As we discussed a few weeks ago, our electoral system is a First Past The Post system (FPTP). This means that within each riding or constituency, the person that wins simply needs to get the most votes.

Here is a great explanation of how FPTP works:

Here is a great application made through ArcGIS which illustrates the difference between the number of seats won and the popular vote in the last four elections:

canada_s_federal_elections__2000_to_2015_

 

Many Canadians feel that the FPTP system is not fair to smaller parties like the Green Party,the Bloc and even the NDP, as these parties get a lot of votes, but they don’t translate into seats. Some people are advocating for a system of proportional representation, where some representatives are elected based on the popular vote.

In Manitoba, there have been many people who have been advocating for a system of proportional representation. Here is a very interesting article from the CBC looking at how the last provincial election might have been more representative of the popular vote if PR was in place. (PEI is currently contemplating PR.)

electoral_reform_in_manitoba__different_system_would_bring_very_different_results_-_manitoba_-_cbc_news

Taken from CBC Manitoba

What do you think? Should Canada and Manitoba reform their respective electoral systems? Feel free to respond below or via social media using #DoNowReform.

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DoNow: Are Physical Libraries Obsolete?

bookbike

The Winnipeg Public Library Book Bike!

Do Now
Are physical libraries still useful? Should ebooks replace paper books? Why or why not? #DoNowLibraries

How to Do Now
To respond you can comment below or post your response on social media like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, etc. Remember to add #DoNowLibraries to your posts.

For over 5,000 years, libraries have been here to help us in many ways. But now with technology taking over, what will become of the thousands of libraries across the world?

Public libraries are a great resource for everybody. Whether you are a child, or a college student, anyone can use them. It’s free to get a library card, and if you’re under 18 you just need a legal guardian’s permission. Speaking of children, physical libraries are better for kids than ebooks for many reasons. “Children should read a printed book for their first read” says Monique, who is a librarian at the Millennium Library in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Children haven’t fully developed their brains, and reading and being around people is one of the best ways for children to grow. Reading is a skill everyone can use, and it’s best that children are exposed to the world of books.

But even with libraries being as useful as they are, ebooks are starting to get more and more popular. Ebooks are easier to travel with, cheaper, and are better for the earth. Although they seem like the best option, ebooks aren’t really the best for our health. The light from devices can cause eye strain, resulting in damaged eyes. Along with all those positive points, there are some disadvantages of ebooks. Devices only have a certain amount of battery life before you must charge them again, and on top of that, not everyone can afford a device. Ebooks also have an unreliable lifespans, when books can last for up to a hundred years, when kept in the right environment.

But if ebook popularity continues to grow, what will become of physical libraries and the people that work in them? According to Monique, librarians and library technicians are very important to the community, more than one would think. Their job, one of many, is to help people in the library to find books and specific information, and often they can give more information than expected. If we rule out libraries, we rule out librarians and we lose a powerful resource. They are able to access many books and are very knowledgeable about books to recommend to others. They are also a great person to have a conversation with. Librarians are something that we can’t lose.

Here is an interview with City of Winnipeg librarian Monique Woroniak who can help us with these questions:

What will become of libraries? Will ebook popularity continue to grow and takeover? Are physical libraries still useful? Should ebooks replace physical books?

Resources
http://www.toptenreviews.com/services/articles/the-pros-and-cons-of-ebooks/

In the Digital Age, What Becomes of the Library?

School Libraries Struggle with E-Book Loans

CdnPoli DoNow: Ratifying Climate Deal

Saturday April 23, 2016

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday April 23, 2016 

In November 2015, the Federal Government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, signed the Paris Climate Change agreement, whereby Canada, amongst other countries,pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the extent that global temperature increases could be kept under two degrees.

You can check out this TED talk by Johan Rockstrom to get a clear understanding of the impending ecological crisis:

Johan Rockström Planetary Boundaries from john on Vimeo.

In this Globe and Mail article, the premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, expressed concern that the provinces, members of the federation of Canada, have not been consulted.

Here is a Liberal MP speaking with the CBC about the need to ratify the Paris Agreement.

Using some of your new parliamentary literacy, answer the following question: Should Canada consult with the provinces before ratifying the Paris agreement and should Canada be doing more in terms of reducing emissions?

Answer using the comment section below or Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and/or other social media. Be sure to use the hashtag #cdnpoliDoNow. Be sure to use evidence from the sources provided and from your own research to support your claims.


 

For those keeping track of outcomes for your portfolio, here are some you may wish to address and provide evidence for:

Grade 9

Social Studies

  • Give examples of ways in which government affects their daily lives. Examples: rights and freedoms, security, laws, education, health care, services…
  • Describe Canadian parliamentary democracy. Include: constitutional monarchy, federalism, Governor General, Prime Minister, Cabinet, House of Commons, Senate.
  • Describe the responsibilities and processes of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.
  • Be sensitive to the impact of majority rule on minorities and marginalized groups.
  • Evaluate Canadian perspectives regarding current global issues.
  • Give examples of Canada’s participation within international organizations. Examples: United Nations, Commonwealth, la Francophonie, Olympics…
  • Evaluate implications of living in a consumer-based economy.

Science

  • Develop a formula for domestic power consumption costs, and solve related problems.

ELA

  • question and reflect on personal responses, predictions, and interpretations; apply personal viewpoints to diverse situations or circumstances
  • acknowledge the value of others’ ideas and opinions in exploring and extending personal interpretations and viewpoints
  • analyze and explain connections between previous experiences, prior knowledge, and a variety of texts [including books]
  • obtain information and varied perspectives when inquiring or researching using a range of information sources [such as expository essays, books, radio and television transcripts, charts, tables, graphs, diagrams…]

ICT

  • Discuss information, ideas, and/or electronic work using tools for electronic communication. (Examples: email, electronic whiteboards, web pages, threaded discussions, videoconferences, chats, instant messages, camera phones, wikis, blogs, podcasts, online whiteboards…)

 

Grade 10

Geography

  • Draw conclusions and make decisions based on research and various types of evidence.

    Explain the importance of stewardship in the preservation of the Earth’s complex environment.

    Respect the Earth as a complex environment in which humans have important responsibilities.

    Describe sustainability issues related to natural resource extraction and consumption.