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Posts Tagged ‘election

I can write about the candidates, but here’s the question- who am I going to vote for?

First, in this election I don’t give a damn who the local candidate is. I haven’t attended a single discussion on the candidates, not a single forum, haven’t met them, haven’t gone to their campaign office to pick up literature.

Let me first say how much a departure that is for me.

Two federal elections ago I actually arranged a local forum of federal election candidates. (I went into the Liberal campaign office just set up and noticed a large calendar on the wall. It was almost filled but one day was free of meetings and forums. I picked up a marker, wrote in “forum” and the place, and phoned the other candidates saying the Liberal candidate had already committed to that date. (Which he had without my asking, because during a busy campaign, everyone is just going to go with what’s written on the calendar.)

So it’s very different for me not to seek out the local candidates and talk to them.

Why don’t I give a damn about local candidates in this election? They don’t matter. They are interchangable. Once in a while you get a great one, like our MP just leaving. No one is going to be able to fill his shoes.

So I’m voting for the party.

First to eliminate some choices. Bloc is out, of course. I’m in Alberta.

I just love Elizabeth May but, sorry Green Party, I’m not sending a vote your way.

Okay, that leaves the Conservatives, the Liberals and the New Democrats. That means, for the first time in my life in an election, particularly at this late hour- just two days before the vote- I am officially undecided.

Horrors.

I’m one of them.

I remember this site from a previous election. It predicts the outcome by multiple inputs from people throughout the country in every constituency. The outcome is pretty close and it’s all a good read. I even contributed to this at one time. Here’s the link, which predicts a Conservative minority government, with four days to go to election day.

So far the site predicts 118 seats for the Conservatives, 77 Liberal, a whopping 47 Bloc, 29 NDP, with 35 ridings too close to call.

Here’s the link.

Six days to go before voting day.

As the stock market plunges- the TSX had its first positive day today after five days of negative numbers- so do the fortunes of Prime Minister Steven Harper. The Conservatives are seeing their once-strong lead in the polls slip.

The news I caught in the last three days- I was far from a television- included a CBC radio interview featuring a woman decrying the Conservative’s lack of an emergency plan. Harper, in another interview, attempted to explain his record is his plan.

It seems he’s right. Hold the course, stay calm.

While the USA attempts to bail itself out while sailing the stormiest seas in 80 years, and Europe is nationalizing banks, while Iceland is so fearful of bankruptcy they have asked Russia for a $7.5 billion loan to keep the country afloat (no Western country took them up on the request), Canada appears to be weathering the storm just fine, thanks– other than our stock markets dropping like a bucket of mud along with every other major stock market in the world. No bank bailouts needed here.

Years ago I once went into a bank for a $5,000 loan. I got it, but had to put $5,000 into an account first. Yes, Canadian banks are that stingy. They are as tight-fisted as Scrooge. Unlike the USA, there have never been mortgages in Canada for no money down, no assets, no questions asked. It’s not the way Canadian banks do business. Now we’re seeing the benefits of conservative stinginess.

Harper also upset a lot of people by saying it’s a good time to buy stocks. It’s a wrong thing to say, however, when anyone who has anything invested in the stock market is seeing dimes shrink to a pennies and investments people are relying on disappear. It makes him sound cold and he always had a reputation of being cold.

“I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most emotionally expressive guy..” Harper said in answer to a question by CTV’s Craig Oliver (who looks like a taxidermist has stuffed him) about whether he cared at all. Good God. If Oliver smiled his face would crack. He looks like an unblinking human bald eagle and he’s challenging someone about their expressiveness?

The majority may be slipping our of reach of Harper who really tried to come across as a warm guy with those soft sweaters and soft words in those soft-music interviews when the campaign started. But the Conservatives also had attack ads- something the USA commonly uses but we’re new to it- for the Liberal leader Stephane Dion. Well, guess what. When Dion emerged from the debates everyone realized he didn’t have two horns and a tail, the man was smart and he cared. Naturally his poll numbes would climb.

I guess Harper might dust off that sweater again. Only six days to go before the vote.

I’ve seen a lot of Conservative ads on television, beginning two weeks before Prime Minister Steven Harper asked Governor-General Michaëlle Jean to dissolve parliament. However, I can’t remember one single Liberal ad since the campaign began on September 7. I had to turn to You Tube to find one.

I hope the ad was not supposed to be endearing, because it’s not. It does look like it is supposed to be a wake-up call. Nothing wrong with a wake-up call, but where is the motivation to vote for these people?

The message here is not a statement of concern. That’s the problem.

Political messages manage, if successful, to fall in line with concerns of the viewing public. The clapping hands (I really hate to use this as a comparison, but it came immediately to mind when I heard it) sound like storm troopers marching. I was puzzled at first, then a bit reassured when I saw Stephane Dion (beside him Bob Rae and Michael Ignatief, and in a later shot, Ken Dryden) joining in on the Russian clap-pause-clap-pause-clap theme.

Yes, yes, I’m sure everyone cares about the whole God-damned global warming thing.

But this ad is even more irritating than Rich Mercer and his supremely smug presentation in those “one ton challenge” ads he was paid handsomely for.

I get it. Global warming is a problem. Species are threatened, the earth is warming, we’re oil addicted, and we could eventually turn this planet into a Venus look-alike. Yeah, I get it, but I still have to drive to work, keep warm in winter and I still want to fly in a jet once a year to somewhere else. All that costs money. (A ton of money.) Taxing my doing it is not a welcome thought. Sound harsh? I know I am spewing carbon. Saying Stephane Dion and his M.P. friends each heat a bigger house than I do is a poor answer but it’s still there as a thought.

I may be becoming immune to listening to crisis warnings. In my life I’ve been informed we could blow ourselves up with a button push, turn Earth into a toxic desert, turn the oceans into giant dead zones, kill a species a day, and create planet-eating black holes with the Hadron Collider. I’m crisis-proof. I don’t need more doom messages. I need ear muffs so I don’t have to listen to more doom messages.

The Green Shift plan of the LIberals hasn’t been explained well. Tell me that I’ll play less in income taxes and I’ll be taxed on carbon outputs instead, and maybe it’s a sell. Maybe. But don’t clap your bleeping hands about it.

The Libs should have sold the strong points of their Green Shift plan. Lower income taxes.

By contrast we have Steven Harper in a sweater vest who hasn’t shown much sympathy at all for global warming, but he sounds like a regular guy. And you know, that’s the whole key right there. It’s like the pilot of a plane in turbulence. You know he wants to land the thing safely just as much as you do. You’re in it together. He understands you want someone in control who knows the regular guy fears and can fly the plane. Here is the Steven Harper sweater ad:

It starts off patriotic. The flag waving. Then the ad makes patriotism equal to love of family with three words superimposed on the heart-warming scene of that slow-waving Canadian flag: family is everything. There is not one word of policy or politics in the whole thing. The whole message is one ordinary people understand. Love of country and love of family. Full stop. Steven Harper as a regular guy.

The regular guy theme may be a chief reason in the United States Sarah Palin raises such excitement. Though obviously not a guy, she is “one of them” in being a self-proclaimed hockey mom and former small-town mayor who says she has a record of kicking crony ass. She lives in an ordinary house, drives an ordinary car, has ordinary kids, has a husband with an ordinary job.

Staying with the U.S. election for a moment, one right-wing columnist’s blogsite, Michelle Malkin, has had featured a small bumper-sticker-like cartoon of Barak Obama with one four letter word, SNOB. I believe the charge is damning this year, in either Canada or the U.S. This is the year of regular folks. This is the year of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Experts can’t be trusted. There have been Enrons and Bear Sterns enough. Ordinary folks, people we understand, have to be in charge.

The sweater-wearing Harper talking about his family is reassuring and definitely not the image a snob. (Actually Harper has come across a supreme snob which is why the whole flag-sweater-family thing smells so much of gimmick even though it works.) Stephane Dion performing a Russian hand clap among shots of foxes and snails and polar bears along with a glance at the ever-snobbish face of Ignatief spells SNOB with capital letters.

In the U.S. the mantra is “change”. In Canada, the mantra is “trust”. That sweater vest of Steven Harper is meant to make the man look cozy (or at the very least warm a cold heart). Cozy equals trust. It means come on over for coffee. It’s okay. You’re welcome. Really. Clapping hands loudly means lets get this damn game started already, or, wake up, you big stupid cow and get off my lawn.

What in the name of our warming earth possessed the Liberals to think this Russian hand clap ad would either raise enthusiasm or get a message of trust across?

Who knows? Maybe it didn’t run. I haven’t seen it on tv. Maybe the ad is only a reject from a ad company who only suggested it. If they suggested it seriously, they should be fired. Harper’s sweater may be the most obvious gimmick since the prize in Cracker Jacks, but it worked then and it’s working now.

Gosh, what a surprise. An election call. For Tuesday, October 14.

Is it called foreshadowing, all those advertisments in the past two weeks composed of clip smatterings of bad actors pretending to be real people praising Harper on what seemed, for each, to be the umteenth take to get the fake sentimentality right, and saying they’d vote for him?

Harpers’ shots wearing a blue sweater vest while purring soothing nice-guy words means only one thing. The Conservatives are deadly serious this time about getting a majority.

Meanwhile, back in the Liberal camp, all those green concerns have melted a little since Stephane Dion rolled out the Liberal Party Green Shift. It’s not going to be a top of mind issue for this election, you can feel it. The National Post has an editorial for tomorrow, rightly calling the Green Shift a Liberal albatross. The Maple Leaf Foods issue (13 dead eating cold cuts) is a serious issue the Conservatives should answer for, after planning to reduce federal meat inspections. Dion should run with that.

Jack Layton and the New Democrats rolled out their campaign bus and I note in no photograph of Layton does he look like a socialist party leader. Jack Layton looks like high school football coach that also preaches, instead of teaches, business administration, and sells mutual funds on the side, so never, ever, ever, takes his tie off. I’d buy mutual funds from this man.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has a blog. Pretty sparse blog, though. For those paying attention to the Liberal Green Shift plan and the Green Party concerns about global warming- a news story today is out about open water at both the North West and North East passages.

Update: from the Green Party threatening legal action if leader, Elizabeth May is excluded from the debate and from what, apparently, was three parties opposed the Green Party being included, the Conservative Party appearing to be the leader in that opposition. The Conservatives may have threatened to pull out of the debates if the Green Party was included, forcing the other parties to fall into line- all except the Liberals. Dion was the only leader who supported May’s inclusion. Now the Green Party being included in the television debate. The argument is quite strong, after Member of Parliament Blair Wilson joined the Green Party as their first M.P., that there was no good reason for the Green Party to be shut out of the debate.

Harper’s view was the Green Party and the Liberal Party were one and the same. Harper said in a September 8 campaign stop in Richmond, B.C.,, “…I think it would be fundamentally unfair to have two candidates who are essentially running on the same platform in the debate,” The Bloc, which was included in the television debate plans from the beginning, runs candidates only in Quebec, while the Green Party is running candidates in every riding throughout Canada.

Thank you for reading Aardvarkcola

With the federal election being called Sunday (the guess is election day is likely to take place October 14, a Tuesday), one should know what riding they are in.

If you don’t know there is an easy way as long as you know your postal code. Click here to find this voter information service site.

The longest minority government in Canada’s history is about to end, with Prime Minister Steven Harper’s expected election call keeping Ottawa on the edge of its over-stuffed seat.
Parliament is in summer recess, due to reconvene September 15.
Four byelections are coming up soon, all in Ontario and Quebec, with three slated to take place on September 10 and one September 22.
An election call before then would cancel the byelections.
The possibility of an election call has been made almost certain as Governor-General Michaëlle Jean has been asked to stay in Canada, and cancel a trip to China she had scheduled for September 6 to 10.
A chief reason for Harper’s leaning toward an election is his complaint that parliament has been dysfunctional.
That complaint has had little credibility for months.
The May discovery of a 200-page Conservative handbook on how to disrupt parliamentary committees has already established the Conservatives, not the opposition have raised havoc with parliamentary committee process.



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  • wordbeeps: No, he doesn't deserve an apology. Who tweets during a funeral? If you do, expect feedback. I didn't say the mourners were faking it. I think they we
  • Holly Stick: Look you fuckwit, are you too stupid to realise that Ghomeshi was an actual friend of Layton's, when you tweeted to him that the mourners were faking
  • aardvarkcola: Thank you. I see the rest of your message now. i'm honoured to to have your words on my blog. That alone is a delight. Lawrence

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