The new lens may have “MACRO” in its name but it’s good fun out on the street too. Oh, and we’re having an election! So let’s wrap some Canadian politics around the picture.
What’s Good · There’s one way in which the Canadian approach outclasses our neighbors to the south: the whole thing, from the pulling of the trigger to the counting of the votes, is over in six weeks. Gotta love that.
But First, the Picture · Here are some street politics happening near where I live on Main Street in Vancouver. The campaigners are working for Libby Davies, who’s held the seat for the NDP, our social-democratic party, approximately forever. I’m actually in the next riding over, also held for the NDP by Don Davies (no relation). Both Davieses will probably hold their seats, I think.
I love street politics, the ground game; and it really matters in a parliamentary system like ours.
The 50,000-foot View · There are three potential outcomes in this election, of which two are interesting. But first, a word of background: In recent years, none of our big political parties have been able to get a majority of the seats in Parliament, so we’ve had a “minority government”, where the ruling party has to haggle and bob and weave to get anything done. There’s nothing wrong, per se, with this. During this time, the Conservative party (popularly, “Tories”) have had the most seats and thus Stephen Harper has been our Prime Minister.
Here’s what could happen:
No change; we get another Tory minority (boring).
The Tories win more seats and form a majority.
The Tories lose some seats and the Liberals (popularly, “Grits”) form a (probably minority) government under Michael Ignatieff.
When the election started, the polls made it look the Tories would get their majority. But a few polls, and my own sniffing of the political breeze, suggest things are drifting away from them, a bit. So it’s gonna be interesting.
What I’d Like to See · I increasingly loathe Stephen Harper, for reasons thoroughly covered in this blog and which I won’t reiterate. There’s a real possibility that if he got his majority he’d turn the steering wheel sharply right and try to impose a political vision on Canada much like that of George W. Bush.
I’m probably closest to the NDP politically but have never been able to warm up to its current leader Jack Layton. I’ve long disdained the Liberals, sharing common perception that they stand for nothing but sprawling across the mushy center and holding power. On the other hand, I have to say that recently I’ve been warming up to Ignatieff and think it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to give him a shot at replacing Harper. So I’m rooting for outcome #3 above.
Tactical Voting · My favored outcome is whatever weakens Stephen Harper, to at least keep a majority out of his hands and at best change the government. Some other people who apparently feel about the same way have set up the very helpful Swing33.ca; check it out. I’m seriously considering doing something that’s never previously crossed my mind: donating money to a Liberal, namely Ujjal Dosanjh, who’s in the closest Swing33 riding to me.
It’s going to be fun to watch the last few weeks of the big show.
Comment feed for ongoing:
From: James McCullough (Apr 10 2011, at 14:46)
You didn't mention this as a possibility, so I am curious as to what you think about the prospects of a coalition government forming with the Liberals, NDP and Bloc? (and Green if they win a seat).
I hope the NDP win more seats and have a stronger voice in Parliament. I think a lot of people have NDP in their blood, but never think they'll win so go with Liberals.
From: Alex Cruise (Apr 10 2011, at 21:55)
I'm in Ujjal's riding, and your post spurred me to go donate to his campaign. Like you, I have NDP in the blood, but this time, like last time, I'm holding my nose and voting strategically.
As for Jack, I came up with a little bullshit theory a couple weeks ago... People in politics can be usefully categorized on two axes--obviously there are more, but for the purposes of this theory I've chosen two: Politician vs. Statesman. Jack is a very capable politician, but my impression is that he's not much of a statesman. Iggy is the opposite: Too much gravitas, not enough gregarious. Stephen Harper ("The Automaton" according to The Economist) isn't really strong in either category--you can take the policy wonk out of the think tank... But he's a master tactician.
From: Ralph Haygood (Apr 11 2011, at 01:52)
I'm certainly hoping for outcome #3. I'm not Canadian, but as American politics and government subside ever farther into greed and stupidity, I become ever more interested in alternatives.
From: Martin (Apr 11 2011, at 05:24)
Here in Montreal, Liberals adds mentions the 35B$ F-35 plane deals like it is "bad". No promises like in '92 to cancel said contract. Liberals did win then, and did cancel the helicopters contract in 1993. Several local engineers lost their jobs, millions paid in cancelation fees, and 2-3 years later we heard from Chrétien: "We NEED helicopters". Je me souviens.
And no words on long-census fuckup from Harper & co. What a sociological "shoot myself in the foot".
From: JGarrido (May 09 2011, at 11:36)
So, you forgot to explain, why are they laughing at you?