Voter apathy

October 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm (Election 2008, News)

Here’s a good article on the extremely low voter turnout this year and why participation is going to continue dropping – a scary thought.

“We shouldn’t begin by saying there are great societal factors — I mean, there are — but let’s start at the very essence, that this is a responsibility,” says Tom Axworthy, director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen’s University.

A one-time adviser to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, Axworthy says “voting is the single most important act of citizenship.”

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Election hangover

October 15, 2008 at 11:28 am (Election 2008, News) (, )

Just when you thought it was all over and I would stop talking about the election, I have more comments on yesterday’s results. But I promise I will shut up about it soon and move on to something else … like the U.S. election maybe?

Here’s some things that came out last night that I thought were interesting …

– Liberal support was 24.7 per cent of the vote, the lowest the party has ever received. The previous record was when John Turner won only 40 seats in 1984.

– The Christian Heritage Party, for which my cousin and friend were candidates, were first of the fringe parties, coming away with a total 26,722 votes, which is less than their 2006 total.

Voter turnout was at 59.1 per cent, down from 64.7 per cent in January 2006. Man, these numbers can’t keep dropping! Everyone that could possibly vote, should be – it’s your democratic responsibility.

– Stephen Harper won his Calgary Southwest riding with the highest numbers of any of the party leaders. All of his cabinet ministers were re-elected except for Michael Fortier, who was in charge of international trade.

– This was probably the prime minister’s best shot at a majority … he was up against a very weak Liberal leader and still didn’t get the votes he wanted. When Dion is ousted and new, stronger candidate takes the job of official opposition leader, Harper will have a lot more to worry about.

Let me know what you think about the results and if you have predictions for how long this government will last before another election is called …

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Election wrap-up

October 15, 2008 at 2:15 am (Election 2008) (, , , , , , )

Whew. Results are in – except a few stray polls in B.C. – and stories are filed. The 40th federal election is wrapping up. I’m still a little too wired to head to bed, so here’s my take on the numbers.

While my seat predictions were quite off, all of the ridings that I called were correct except for Blair Wilson … he finished third in his Vancouver district and the Green party is still without a representative in Parliament.

Results came in fast and furious after the polls closed in Ontario at 9:30 p.m. Atlantic Canada’s decisions were announced and by the time those were reviewed new numbers from the rest of the country were available. Most major stations were predicting the overall finish before anything was in from B.C. – I understand their sentiments that their votes do little to decide the party taking over government.

Well, Canadians voted in almost exactly what we had before: a minority government. Though the Tories did pick up more seats than the last election and are just 12 short of a majority.

Here’s the breakdown –

Conservatives: 143, up from 127
Liberals: 76, down from 103
Bloc Quebecois: 50, down one 
NDP: 37, up seven
Independent: two

John Baird was returned to his seat in my riding, but it looks like Liberal opponent David Pratt put up a good fight.

Liberal support bombed nationally, leaving them with 27 less candidates in the House than before. Apparently there were more media than voters at Stephane Dion’s campaign headquarters and it was pretty quiet when he gave his concession speech. Despite Jack Layton’s charisma and new tactics running for the top job in the country, the NDP is still far from being the second or even third largest party.

I’m not surprised with the final outcome. What I didn’t expect was how well the Conservatives did, picking up a seat in PEI and a few more in B.C. The CBC was slow to call a minority government, staying with their line that there was a chance for a majority. A very slight chance, but it was there. 

Well, Stephen Harper will be our prime minister for another four years … or less, depending on how soon the minority falls apart again. With the lack of votes (which equals less funding) and a leader that probably won’t keep his job for very long at all, the Liberal party has their work cut out for them. Another election is not wanted anytime soon, so they’ll be forced to deal with their opposition no matter how many issues are no-confidence votes. 

I believe minority governments can and should work best for Canadians. More people are represented and compromise is required to get things done. Let’s hope all the MPs elected today realize that and are willing to work together in this upcoming session of Parliament.

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My predictions

October 14, 2008 at 3:30 pm (Election 2008, Politics) (, )

Here are my overall seat predictions for today’s election –

Conservatives: 126
Liberals: 99
Bloc Quebecois: 50
New Democratic Party: 31
Green: 1
Independent: 1

Here are some ridings I’m watching and my prediction on the winners –

Where I live … Ottawa West-Nepean: Conservative John Baird
Where I work … Carleton-Mississippi Mills: Conservative Gordon O’Connor
Where I’m from … Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry: Conservative Guy Lauzon
Where my cousin is a candidate … Oshawa: Conservative Colin Carrie
Where the first Green MP is running … West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country: Green Blair Wilson
Where my brother-in-law is the district’s policy chair … Prince George-Peace River: Conservative Jay Hill
Where my friend’s boyfriend is the CHP candidate … Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound: Conservative Larry Miller
Where the Green party leader is running … Central Nova: Conservative Peter MacKay

What do you think? Post your predictions below!

Countdown: the polls close here in six hours …

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What will it be, Canada?

October 14, 2008 at 8:24 am (Election 2008)

Election day!

The polls in Ontario open in just over an hour and remain open until 9:30 tonight. Results will start trickling to the media from across the country and we’ll see what Canadians want. I’m expecting another Conservative minority for sure.

While I will be watching overall numbers, I am covering Gordon O’Connor – the Tory incumbent and minister of national revenue – for the papers in the Carleton-Mississippi Mills riding tonight. It’s going to be a late one, but elections are always so exciting and I love watching all the results roll in.

Countdown: only hours left!

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Dion’s misunderstanding

October 13, 2008 at 5:00 pm (Election 2008, News) ()

In case you didn’t see Stephane Dion on CTV Atlantic last Thursday … you must. Here it is:

Countdown: tomorrow is the big day!

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Durham NDP resigns

October 7, 2008 at 1:25 pm (Election 2008, News) ()

Another NDP candidate resigned from the election last weekend, making the total to quit from his party at four and the overall tally is nine.

Andrew McKeever stepped down – though his name will still be on the ballot in Durham – for making inappropriate comments on Facebook. It’s not just blogs and photos that come back to haunt policitians … now it’s a social networking site.

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John Baird’s lead

October 7, 2008 at 11:19 am (Election 2008, News) (, )

The Citizen endorsed John Baird for Ottawa West-Nepean today. I don’t know if he needed it, he apparently has a huge lead in the riding already.

I’m not really surprised. Even though I’m not exactly impressed with his record as environment minister, Baird is close to the prime minister and has the chance to make changes for his constituents as part of the government. A large number of those voters, by the way, are seniors … and Conservatives.

Though some thought this would be one of the biggest fights of the election, I don’t think there are too many questions left about who is going to win. Liberal David Pratt has come across as very negative in this campaign and focused more on unseating Baird then on getting the position himself. And I’m pretty positive he even failed at that.

Countdown: only seven days until the election!

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Vandalism on the campaign trail

October 6, 2008 at 1:42 pm (Election 2008, News) (, )

In Toronto, election campaigners are crossing the line in their passion. Liberal supporters in a couple of ridings have been hit with vandalism, including graffiti and car tampering. Two people claimed their brake lines were cut – if putting lives in danger isn’t going too far, I don’t know what is.

The commonality for all the victims is that they have Liberal candidate signs on their lawn. It’s ridiculous that showing support for a preferred party is unleashing all of this damage. Do the perpetrators really think that kind of intimidation will change people’s minds? Apparently they just want any party but the Liberals, as they haven’t identified themselves to promote alternative candidates.

“Everyone — all Canadians and political parties — must speak out against what is happening in Toronto,” said Liberal leader Stephane Dion. “It is an obscene violation of the principles of democracy, where Canadians are entitled to express their political opinions without repercussion.”

Countdown: only eight days left!

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Election debate

October 3, 2008 at 9:04 am (Election 2008, Politics) (, , , , )

Last night was quite the heated exchange between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the opposition leaders. It was a four-on-one during most of the English debate, though Jack Layton did have some stinging words for Stephane Dion also.

I think Harper held his own pretty well, staying very calm and hardly changing his expression when Elizabeth May was yelling accusations in his face. She came out strong in this debate, and I think the Liberals need to be worried about how many votes the Green party will steal. And the NDP, for that matter. Both parties had much to gain in this debate, while Harper probably had the most the lose.

While Layton was very confident and accusatory, Dion decided to instead stare straight into the cameras when he spoke – looking very much like a pleading child to me. He proved once again that he has a crucial lack of communication skills in English.

I was actually pretty impressed with Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Quebecois. For being the leader of a solely provincial party, he could answer all national policy questions, had no qualms about putting pressure on Harper and had solid ideas for if he became prime minister. He did mention fairly often that he would never be in that position, though.

I was also listening for things all the leaders said frequently, and while I didn’t catch something specific from each one, Harper said one thing in practically every answer: “Let me be clear on this.”

Here’s the breakdown of how I saw the performances last night –

Best speaker: Jack Layton
Most repetitive: Stephane Dion
Worst interrupter: Elizabeth May
Calmest: Stephen Harper
Most persistent: Gilles Duceppe
Most attacking: Jack Layton
Most personal: Stephen Harper
Harshest: Elizabeth May
Worst speaker: Stephane Dion

Harper admitted to a couple of mistakes – such as supporting the U.S. in their Iraq invasion – which is something that earns my respect. Layton lost some of my esteem with his primarily negative responses. While I won’t pinpoint someone as the winner, I do think Harper weathered the attacks pretty nicely. As CTV’s Craig Oliver said, “He survived, and survived well.”

Who do you think won? Leave your own view on the debate in the comments section.

Countdown: Only 11 days left until the election!

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