Bob Jonkman's thoughts on politics

CETA Panel Discussion — Thursday, 1 May 2014

Posted by Bob Jonkman on April 30th, 2014

Ceta Poster

CETA Poster

This Thursday the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter is hosting a panel discussion on CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. On the panel are Stephen Woodworth, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, and Angelo DiCaro, trade researcher for Unifor. The discussion will be moderated by Cathy MacLellan.

Cathy provided a link to a paper from the Canadian Government, Technical Summary of Final Negotiated Outcomes, Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (.PDF file, 756.6 kBytes). This document consists of 26 pages of bullet points, which look more like the minutes of a meeting than a policy statement or an analysis. Perhaps there is a more in-depth coverage on the Government’s propaganda information site, Canada’s Economic Action Plan.

Or perhaps you should come to the panel discussion!

What: CETA Panel Discussion
When: Thursday, 1 May 2014 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm iCal
Where: Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, 120 Duke St., Kitchener, Ontario Map
Who: Hosted by Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter (@FairvoteWRC)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Event, Fair Vote | Comments Off on CETA Panel Discussion — Thursday, 1 May 2014

FairVoteWRC Film Screening: Whipped – Monday, 24 June 2013

Posted by Bob Jonkman on June 3rd, 2013

Whipped: The secret world of party discipline

A film by Sean Holman

Sharon Sommerville, Co-chair for the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter writes:

Hello Everyone,

WHIPPED“, Sean Holman’s new documentary on the topical and controversial issue of party discipline is coming to Waterloo Region along with the filmmaker! To whom do MP’s owe their greatest allegiance: their party, their constituents or their conscience?

On Monday, June 24 at 7pm at Laurier’s Bricker Academic Building, Room 210, FVC-WR and co-sponsors KWNDP, KWGP, KWFLA and YCYC/VCVC are pleased to screen, “WHIPPED” and host a post screening panel with the filmmaker Sean Holman, Larry Aberle, President of the KWNDP and Karen Redman, former Liberal MP and party whip.

This is going to be a great evening of political education for all. We will be taking donations at the door to help cover expenses for this event. Suggested donation is $10 or what you can spare!

Hope to see you on June 24 for an exciting evening of political discussion.

Kind regards,

Sharon Sommerville, Co-Chair

Who: Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter
What: Film Screening of “WHIPPED: The secret world of party discipline
When: Monday, 24 June 2013, 7:00pm
Where: Room 210, Bricker Academic Building, Wilfrid Laurier University, Bricker St., Waterloo, Ontario [map]
Donation: Suggested $10 donation at the door
More information: Sharon Sommerville at shareonsommerville@gmail or Anita Nickerson at anita.nickerson@fairvote.ca

Posted in Fair Vote, Uncategorized | Comments Off on FairVoteWRC Film Screening: Whipped – Monday, 24 June 2013

E-voting, Redux

Posted by Bob Jonkman on February 22nd, 2013

Person making a selection on a touch-screen voting machine

E-voting: No privacy?

Jeremy Epstein writes that US president Obama has announced a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. He concludes:

My greatest fear is that the commission will blindly recommend internet voting as a cure-all. As readers of my postings on this blog know, internet voting has yet to show promise as a secure solution to voting, and it risks threatening everyone’s vote.

I think that about nails that coffin shut…

Jeremy and I may be having some effect. He wrote to me Bob, one more follow-up. Today [6 February 2013] the Edmonton City Council voted not to proceed with internet voting, to my great surprise. See: Edmonton council defeats proposal for Internet voting this fall. Whether they read your blog post or mine and were influenced by it, I won’t even guess 🙂

There are further comments on Jeremy Epstein’s blog post.

Deirdre voting on Automark by joebeone is used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in E-Voting | Comments Off on E-voting, Redux

E-voting: Hacking newspapers vs. hacking elections

Posted by Bob Jonkman on February 5th, 2013

Jeremy Epstein

Jeremy Epstein

With both the City of Waterloo (warning: 88 kByte PDF document) and the City of Cambridge (warning: 4,000 kByte PDF document) considering Internet voting for 2014, I wrote that E-voting is Considered Harmful. Although I discussed only the integrity of Internet voting, not the many security issues of voting online, the Cities should consider that some of the largest sites on the Internet have not been able to protect themselves against malicious intrusion.

Jeremy Epstein from the technology blog Freedom to Tinker provided expert testimony to a Virginia state Senate Committee Hearing on a bill to allow military voters to cast their votes via the Internet, and has written an article comparing Hacking newspapers vs. hacking elections:

The past few days have revealed that the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post have all been hacked by Chinese government-affiliated organizations, for the purpose of spying on reporters. The Washington Post says that the attacks were detected over a year ago, and had been going on for at least a year before that. Commercial security products like anti-virus did not detect the malware, which isn’t surprising to anyone who is familiar with signature-based schemes. The attacks on major newspapers were significant enough that Krebs on Security quotes Gunnar Petersen saying it would be “more surprising would be a major newspaper outlet that wasn’t hacked by the Chinese”. (This in turn reminded me of the Nixon enemies list, where being omitted from the list was a sign that one was unimportant, and “Newsman Daniel Schorr and [actor] Paul Newman stated, separately, that inclusion on the list was their greatest accomplishment.”.)


So what does this have to do with voting? The NY Times story appeared on Jan 30. On Jan 29, I testified to the Virginia Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections hearing in opposition to SB 830 and 874. These two bills would require the Virginia State Board of Elections to allow military voters to cast their votes via the Internet. (The Patron (sponsor) of 874 said that it was not internet voting, but rather returning the ballot via electronic format, which is to say by email or web site. I fail to see the a meaningful difference between that an internet voting.)


In my testimony, I explained that internet voting is harder than almost any other kind of activity on the internet including banking – and that the only reason we can do banking and other activity online is because of cross-checks and the willingness to accept a level of fraud that’s not possible with voting.


In response to my testimony, representatives of the State Board of Elections were asked by the senators whether they were confident that the system was secure. The SBE representative assured the senators that the system was secure. Unfortunately I was not permitted to respond to that assertion, and the SBE wasn’t challenged why they believe that they can provide the necessary protection.


I continue to be amazed that elected officials can read constant articles about hacking, and yet readily accept the assurances that there will be no problems with internet voting. If the SBE is so good at stopping attacks, perhaps they should supplement their paltry budget by providing security for banks, Federal government agencies like DOD, and the nation’s leading newspapers!

In reply to my request for permission to republish his article, Jeremy Epstein wrote:

[…] There’s been a number of ill-considered internet voting experiments in Canada, unfortunately. Probably the worst was in Edmonton AB, where there was a “mock election” to select a favorite jelly bean color. Based on that experiment, which disallowed any effort to break the system, the city concluded that the system was secure. I don’t understand how they came to that conclusion – or even to the much simpler conclusion that the apparent winner of the jelly bean contest was actually the selection of the majority of the voters. The only conclusion that I could reasonably draw is that people like internet voting – which we already knew. What we don’t know is how it can be done securely, and that experiment did nothing to further our understanding.

Updated 5 February 2013 to clarify that Jeremy Epstein testified at the Virginia state senate hearing, not a federal one.

Hacking newspapers vs. hacking elections by Jeremy Epstein from the Freedom to Tinker blog is republished with permission of the author.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in E-Voting | Comments Off on E-voting: Hacking newspapers vs. hacking elections

E-voting Considered Harmful

Posted by Bob Jonkman on January 28th, 2013

Finger pressing on electronic voting screen

Voting Screen

The Waterloo Chronicle reports:

The City of Waterloo is going to investigate the possibility of using Internet and telephone voting in time for the 2014 municipal election.

There is already some concern about e-voting. Waterloo Regional Councillor Jane Mitchell writes My problem with on-line voting is the end of the secret ballot.

One of the principles of our electoral systems is anonymity. Another principle is “One person, one ballot”, or singular voting. Both objectives are reasonably easy to do with paper ballots – hand out one ballot to a voter, then cross that voter’s name off the list. The vote cast is both anonymous and singular.

But when people are allowed to vote anonymously on their home computer there’s no way to determine if they’re voting more than once. So to prevent multiple votes you’d have to track voters with a unique ID; but that can then be correlated with the vote cast, destroying anonymity.

Fundamentally, anonymous and singular voting is not achievable through computerized at-home voting. In a report “Technology and the Voting Process” [1] the conclusion of Elections Canada was that the integrity of electoral process is a cornerstone of our democracy, and a decision to move to electronic voting should not be made lightly, without much more study. “Much more study” has not been done by our municipal government.

And don’t get me started on the number of home computers that are infected with viruses, the number of people that are defrauded through identity theft, and the number of times government loses data from their laptops and thumb drives…


Footnote [1]: pp. 58-60, “Technology and the Voting Process”, KPMG and Sussex
Circle for Elections Canada, 1998.

Voting Screen by DonkeyHotey is used under a CC BYCreative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0 license.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in E-Voting | 1 Comment »

Cooperate for Canada Benefit Concert, 27 January 2013 at 8 PM

Posted by Bob Jonkman on January 12th, 2013

James Gordon with a guitar

James Gordon

Anita Nickerson writes on the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region mailing list:

Hello Fair Vote Canada KW supporters! I am writing to invite each of you to an evening of wonderful music and great company in support the our local Cooperate for Canada campaign (this is not a Fair Vote Canada event). We are so lucky to have the fabulous singer/songer writer and activist James Gordon who has offered to donate 100% of the ticket sales to Citizens for Cross Party Cooperation KW.


As you probably know, one of the main goals of Cooperate for Canada is to achieve proportional representation. James is a big supporter of PR, and was at the recent founding of the Fair Vote Canada team in Guelph.


Please, purchase a ticket (you can pay now via the paypal button on the web page or at the door), share this invitation with a friend, post the webpage…


Concert details and to buy tickets now:


Citizens for Cross-Party Cooperation


I hope to see you on the 27th.



When: January 27, 2013, 8 PM

Where: The Button Factory, 25 Regina St. S, Waterloo (map)

Tickets: $18 regular, $12 student/unwaged

You can buy tickets at the door or buy your seat with PayPal at the Citizens for Cross-Party Cooperation web site.

For more information, or to reserve tickets, contact Anita Nickerson at anitann88@gmail.com or (519)-568-7655

Anita Nickerson is the Action Coordinator on the National Council of Fair Vote Canada, and the former Co-Chair of the Fair Vote Waterloo Region Chapter

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Event, Fair Vote | Comments Off on Cooperate for Canada Benefit Concert, 27 January 2013 at 8 PM

KWFLA Electoral Reform Debate, 27 January 2013

Posted by Bob Jonkman on January 12th, 2013

What should be the Liberal promise to Canadians for democratic voting reform?

Sunday, January 27th, 2-4pm
Greek-Cypriot Hall, 57 Lodge Street, Waterloo (map)

The KWFLA is proud to present this important debate

Stéphane Dion – MP for Saint-Laurent–Cartierville, former Liberal Party of Canada Leader and Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs – Presenting his model of electoral reform, P3 – proportional-preferential-personalized voting system

John Deverell – Policy Director for Scarborough-East Pickering FLA & former journalist for the Toronto Star – supporting proportional representation

Doug Jackson – President of Cambridge Federal Liberal Association – supporting Alternative Vote

Event is free, everyone is welcome. Register at the Liberal Party of Canada web site.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Event, Fair Vote | Comments Off on KWFLA Electoral Reform Debate, 27 January 2013

Fair Vote Waterloo presents “Robocalls: The Story So Far”, 16 January 2013

Posted by Bob Jonkman on January 9th, 2013

Robocall protestor


The Waterloo Region Chapter of Fair Vote Canada is presenting “Robocalls: The Story So Far“.

From the announcement on the mailing list:

FVC-Waterloo Region would like to invite you to a great evening planned for Wednesday, January 16th to take an in depth look at the robocall scandal with Jim Harris & Simon Rowland.


Many of you may know Jim Harris, he is the former leader of the Green Party of Canada and a popular Huffington Post blogger. Jim has been writing about the robocall scandal for the Huffington Post since the beginning and he will be joined by Simon Rowland who is the President and CEO of Direct Leap Technologies, a direct marketing firm that does robocalling. Jim & Simon will address the political and technical aspects of the robocall scandal. I have heard them give this talk and it is an excellent analysis of the robocall scandal and its significance for Canadian democracy.


Mark your calendar for January 16, 7-9 pm in the Solarium at the Duke of Wellington Pub, 33 Erb Street East in Waterloo, Waterloo (map). The event is free as always so bring a friend! A poster is attached & it would be terrific if you could put it up anywhere in your neighbourhood that has a community bulletin board. We would like to get as many people as possible out to hear Jim & Simon particularly as they are coming from Toronto to speak with us.


Many thanks & hope to see you on the 16th!


Best wishes for 2013,



Add this event to your calendar

Sharon Sommerville is Co-Chair of the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter.

The quote from the mailing list announcement has been updated with the new location information.

Robocall Protestor by JMacPherson is used under a CC-BY-2.0 license.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Event, Fair Vote | Comments Off on Fair Vote Waterloo presents “Robocalls: The Story So Far”, 16 January 2013

Democracy Week 2012

Posted by Bob Jonkman on September 15th, 2012

15 September marks International Day of Democracy, and kicks off Democracy Week in Canada. It’s about time I post the week’s events taking place in Waterloo Region. Up-to-date info will be on the Fair Vote Waterloo Region page.

Cooperate for Canada Event

I’ve just returned from a panel discussion on Cooperate for Canada. It was very interesting indeed, and I’ve learned a lot. More on Cooperation in another blog post, soon.

Exploring Why and How the Liberal, NDP and Green Parties Should Work Together to Replace the Harper Conservatives with a Majority Government that Reflects the Shared Vision of the Majority of Canadians, with an Immediate Commitment to Electoral Reform

Speakers to be followed by Q+A and Town Hall Style Discussion.

Liberal – David Merner, prospective Liberal Party of Canada cooperation leadership candidate, former President of the B.C. Liberal Party

NDP – James Gordon, past provincial Guelph NDP candidate, well known singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and community activist

Green – Cathy Maclellan, Energy Critic for the Green Party of Canada, past Green Party federal candidate for Kitchener-Waterloo

Democracy Fair on the Square

Fair Vote Waterloo is hosting a Democracy Fair on Waterloo Square on Sunday afternoon. Community groups, political parties and local businesses with an interest in democratic, sustainable communities are invited to participate with an information booth or table.
When: Sunday, 16 September from 1:00pm to 4:00pm
Where: Waterloo Square, Waterloo, Ontario (map)

Electoral Reform 101

Wondering what the talk of electoral reform is all about? Why do we need it? What does proportional representation mean? Come learn the basics with this presentation and bring your questions!
When: Monday, 17 September 2012 at 7:00pm
Where: Rm 108, Hallman School of Social Work, 120 Duke St W, Kitchener, Ontario (map)
Hosted by: Fair Vote Waterloo Region
More info: Anita Nickerson lanickerson@b2b2c.ca

Inaugural Pub Night

Come have a drink and talk about electoral reform and democracy!
When: Tuesday, 18 September 2012 starting at 7:00pm
Where: Huether Hotel, 59 King Street North, Waterloo, Ontario (map)
Hosted by: Fair Vote Waterloo Region
More info: Sharon Sommerville sharonsommerville@gmail.com

Screening: “The Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story”

A 2008 documentary about the Bush campaign tactics that changed election campaigns forever.
When: Thursdday, September 20 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Waterloo Public Library, Harper Branch, 500 Fischer Hallman Blvd. Waterloo, Ontario (map)
Hosted by: Kitchener-Waterloo Federal Liberal Association
More info: Sharon Sommerville sharonsommerville@gmail.com

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Event, Fair Vote | Comments Off on Democracy Week 2012

Politics on the Patio: Meet the Kitchener Waterloo By-Election Candidates

Posted by Bob Jonkman on August 29th, 2012

During last year’s provincial election the Waterloo Region Chapter of Fair Vote Canada hosted a very successful all candidate’s meet & greet called Politics on the Patio. It’s election time again in K/W so we are reprising Politics on the Patio!

You are invited to meet with Eric Davis of the Liberal Party, Stacey Danckert of the Green Party, Elizabeth Rowley of the Communist Party, Allan Dettweiler of the Ontario Libertarian Party, John Turmel of the Paupers Party, Catherine Fife of the NDP and Garnet Bruce, Independent for an informal opportunity to enjoy a beer and have a chat with the candidates on Saturday, 1 September 2012 starting at 8:00pm at the Huether Hotel (map) in the Malt Room (ground floor at the back). We invited all the candidates so we may have some surprise last minute guests as well!

It was a great event last year and we expect it to be great this year as well. So, hope to see you at the Huether on the 1st!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in All Candidates Meeting, Event, Fair Vote | 1 Comment »