Election 2015: A Halfassed Postmortem

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cdnelxncircleIt’s day two of Trudeau 2.0 and I’m still hungover. Holy crap: epic election bender. Considering how surprising and epochal Monday night’s results were I wanted to craft a comprehensive think piece for the blog covering all I’ve learned from this marathon campaign. But I suspect all I’ll be able to squeeze from my inflamed and throbbing brain box are a few opinion turds.

Here goes…

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Fewer Than Half Of Us Voted For The Blue Meanies

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Ha ha ha, you suck Meanies

The Conservatives didn’t win the country 24 hours ago but they DID win Saskatchewan: 10 out of 14 ridings (71.4 per cent) and 48.5 per cent of the popular vote. Gross. The good news? That 48.5 per cent is DOWN from the Conservatives’ 2011 win, where the party got a nauseating 56.26 per cent of the popular vote. So that’s good. Fewer than half of us voted for the nasty blue meanies this time.

A couple other observations: NDP support dropped to 25.1 per cent from 32.32 in 2011, while the Liberals went up (big shock) to 23.9 per cent, a huge jump from their 8.57 per cent 2011 popular vote. Goodale led the charge with 23,562 votes for 55.2 per cent — waaay up from 15,842 votes and 40.85 per cent in 2011.

Also, our first past the post system sucked again, giving one party almost 3/4 of the seats for less than half the support.

I got my numbers from Elections Canada and from our (hopefully now semi-safe from political attack) public broadcaster’s 2011 election coverage. Check out the links and leave your observations in the comments if you like.

Election 2015: Joe Clark Of 1979 Vs Stephen Harper Of 2015

cdnelxncircleI was procrastinating last night by watching clips from old election debates. I was struck by three things: how much better suits were in 1961, how much better debates were 30 plus years ago, and by how utterly reasonable conservatives sounded in the pre-CPC days.

Take this clip from Joe Clark’s opening statement in the 1979 leaders debate. Swap out the name “Trudeau” and it sounds like a rebuke of Stephen Harper’s record.

It’s really too bad Joe got kicked to the curb back in 2003 when the Reform-cum-Alliance consumed the Progressive Conservatives. I could’ve voted for a guy like Joe Clark.

Election 2015: My Official Endorsement

cdnelxncircleThis election, I’ve realized that federal politics are all about a futile quest for sincerity, gifts being randomly handed out to your supporters, and disappointment. That’s why I am endorsing The Great Pumpkin for Prime Minister. He’s the other big orange guy you really want to believe will be awesome when he arrives at the end of October but who always lets you down.

Vote for hope. Vote for the Great Pumpkin.

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Election 2015: You Want To Talk Ethics? Let’s Talk Ethics! [Updated]

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It’s the last day of this marathon campaign and the issue on which Monday’s vote may turn is ethics — specifically, the questionable ethics of our notorious… Dan Gagnier!

*record scratch* Whaaa-a-a? Seriously? Trudeau’s campaign co-chair sending emails to a pipeline company is the scandal that could decide the fate of Harper’s government?

What the living fuck?!?

I have been waiting all election for ethics to become a voting issue. It is the thing that Harper is most vulnerable on. But there were five leaders debates and exactly how many times was the Duffy trial brought up? Was it zero? By my count, it was zero.

So it’s kind of infuriating to have to sit through days of Stephen Harper smugly telling Canadians that the Gagnier scandal proves that the Liberals haven’t changed a whit from the days of the Sponsorship Scandal, while the Prime Minister himself sits at the centre of a vast web of evil, surrounded by shady characters, dubious personalities, liars, villains and felons.

Let’s run through the names of Harper’s sketchy pals, associates and appointees. But I’ll have to put them after the jump because the list is so long…

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Election 2015: Dubious Endorsement Scandal Deepens

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cdnelxncircleMaybe you missed it? In the latest issue of Prairie Dog, the paper’s corporate overlords penned an endorsement of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party. It’s odd because so much that’s appeared in those pages over the years has been highly critical of Harper’s regime and yet there it is. Lines like: “You must elect a majority government led by Stephen Harper,” “Canada needs steady leadership in the years ahead,” and “In Stephen Harper’s Canada, markets talk and hippy bullshit walks.”

Despicable. I couldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t speak out against such corporatist shilling.

But it turns out the scandalous behaviour runs much deeper than merely caving to pressure from the bosses. After some Googling, I’ve discovered that many of the lines penned by Prairie Dog‘s owners were plagiarized.

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Election 2015: Conservative’s Goodyear Brings Misinfo To Science Fight

A hi-tech science gizmo at the Experimental Lakes Area.
A hi-tech science gizmo at the Experimental Lakes Area.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Hope I’m not intruding on your happy family weekend with this blog post which, I’m sorry to say, will only provide more fuel for you inner rage monkey. But I’ve just been listening to the all-party science debate that CBC’s Quirks and Quarks put on yesterday. And I have to share.

Holy crapping Darwin finch. The Conservatives can’t even stick close to the facts in a discussion of science when they’re talking to actual scientists.

The panel Quirks host Bob McDonald put together included Lynne Quarmby for the Green Party (who is a professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University); Marc Garneau for the Liberal Party (who is a former Canadian astronaut); Megan Leslie for the NDP (who is her party’s environment critic); and, Gary Goodyear for the Conservatives (who has weird ideas about evolution and is also a chiropractor).

It’s actually pretty fascinating to hear how casually Goodyear is able to litter the debate with misinformation. It would take hours to adequately debunk every single Harper-friendly myth he perpetuates over the course of the hour. But as I’m heading out the door soon to gorge myself on turkey in a few minutes and expect to be so doped out by tryptophan later on, I only have time to take on one of Goodyear’s howlers.

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Election 2015: Where In The World Is Trent Fraser? (And, For That Matter, All The Other CPC Candidates)

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cdnelxncircleUPDATE: Surprise. According to the L-P’s Emma Graney, Trent Fraser will be at tomorrow night’s televised Access debate.

Last week, Trent Fraser, Conservative candidate for Regina–Lewvan, informed the CBC that skipping public debates and forums is part of his party’s election strategy.

Personally, his confession strikes me as a pretty serious gaffe but it hasn’t received much attention. Not even locally. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this would get overshadowed by that other cornerstone of the Conservative’s election strategy:

Stoking fears of terrorist fifth-columnists!

I guess we’ll find out tonight if Fraser is sticking to the Conservative playbook as there’s another forum for candidates in Regina–Lewvan. It’s being put on by the Cathedral Community Association board at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre. (That’s across the street from the 13th Ave Safeway at 2900 13th Ave. Show starts at 7pm Show up earlier if you want a seat.)

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Election 2015: Pro Life Magazine Disappears Interview With Wascana CPC Candidate Michael Kram

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Part of Choose Life News’ interview with Michael Kram. I generated this image from the pdf I downloaded from their site.

cdnelxncircleHey ladies! Wascana Conservative Candidate Michael Kram has a message for you. Your access to safe, legal abortions? He wants to take that away from you and if he gets elected on October 19, he would like to “join the pro-life caucus and move right to life issues forward.”

That quote, and many more like it, are from an interview with Kram that appeared in the September 2015 issue of Choose Life News.

Only you can’t read it there.

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Election 2015: Conservative Candidate Considers Deporting Mulcair

cdnelxncircleHere’s Brad Butt, Conservative MP for Mississauga–Streetsville, explaining how the Harper government could use Bill C-24 to strip NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair, of his Canadian citizenship. But, hey, they’re not monsters. They’d only do this if Mulcair committed treason.

See? Perfectly reasonable.

Of course, the Conservatives also passed Bill C-51 which is basically a handbook for how to brand environmentalists as terrorists — or, for that matter, anyone else whose actions the police deem interferes in some thoroughly subjective way with Canadian industry. You participate in a blockade that slows truck traffic down a highway? You’re a terrorist. You write a blog post arguing maybe blockading highways is a reasonable form of protest? You’re supporting terrorism. So you’re a terrorist.

And terrorism is treason.

So, Mr Mulcair, if Harper wins on the 19th, you might want to keep a bag packed.

Election 2015: The Problem With Polls Isn’t Poll Proliferation It’s Partypooping Pundits

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cdnelxncircleI’ve read a bunch of think pieces lately that warn against the abundance of poll coverage in this election. There’s a lot of talk about how unreliable various polling methods are, how confusing it can be for voters to have so much conflicting data flying about and how political journalism suffers when it becomes obsessed with numbers. The consensus seems to be that we shouldn’t turn an election into a horse race.

Who are these joykillers?

You know why people go to horse races? Because they’re exciting. When you put a couple bucks down on Foggy Before Breakfast to show, all that matters for the next half hour is whether or not that mare can beat those eight-to-one odds. And when I rise in the morning, call up threehundredeight.com in my browser and track where all the various lines and graphs are sitting, it turns the election into a Kentucky Derby in my head.

No, fuck that. Better: goddamn Mario Kart. With power ups, Koopa shells and banana peels. The election becomes a brightly coloured, pixellated thrillfest. And it’s about the only thing in a day that can set my calcified heart to beating.

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Election 2015: So This Happened…

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cdnelxncircleWe have a Green Party sign on our front lawn and last night somebody spray painted “wasted vote” across it.

You know the election’s close and emotions are running high when even the taggers and vandals are thinking about strategic voting.

I’m not even a little bit annoyed that our sign was defaced. It’s an important election and when shit like this happens it just means people are paying attention. Plus, it gives me an excuse to tell the story of why we have that Green Party sign.

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Election 2015: French Language Debate Provides More Proof Canada Is Awful

cdnelxncircleHarper and Duceppe were able to come to common cause in last night’s French-language debate on CBC. I’m sure it gave both men the warm fuzzies to finally get to be such good chums, even if it was over their joint willingness to court the basest, most racist elements in Canadian society.

The question they linked arms and sang anti-Kumbayas over was on niqabs and whether they should be banned during citizenship ceremonies, with both men arguing the government should be in the business of telling women to dress less modestly than they feel comfortable with if they want to be out in public interfacing with our nation’s bureaucracies.

Apparently Quebec at the political level agrees unanimously with them on this — that’d be the entire national assembly and all the province’s big city mayors. Meanwhile, nationally, polls are saying over 70 per cent of Canadians are also niqab-averse.

Taken all together it just adds fuel to my thesis from Monday’s blog post that Canadians are secretly really horrible people at heart. They don’t want to be seen doing or saying horrible things, so they’ll vote Harper into another majority government because he’ll say and do all the horribleness for them.

Nice work Harper and Duceppe at putting yourselves forward as options for the asshole and coward vote.

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Election 2015: Random, Folksy, Stephen Harper-Themed Sayings

cdnelxncircleI’m writing this thing about the election and I get to this point where I think I need a folksy saying. And I say to myself, “I want something like ‘Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings,’ except it’d be about Harper.”

That line about bells and angels is from Zuzu Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life and it has this great Mad Libs structure: “Every time [blank] a [blank happens]“. It’s been used by comedians for-basically-ever. My personal favourite is from Dylan Moran: “Berlusconi, in Italy, right… He’s so fucking crooked he sleeps on a spiral staircase! So thoroughly corrupt, every time he smiles an angel gets gonorrhoea!”

Anyway, I wanted something like that. Except I’m no Dylan Moran so I was thinking, shit, wouldn’t it be great if there was a random generator for this sort of thing? Then my job would be done. And I googled and googled and there was nothing quite right so I thought, great, I’ll just have to do it myself. And that means I could put my actual work aside for a while and take on this utterly useless exercise.

Here it is for your amusement and/or use in your next article about the election. All you need is a ten-sided die (because everybody has ten-sided dice lying around their house, right? RIGHT?!). Roll it twice, once for each column, and you can make your own folksy sayings like “You know what they say, every time Harper goes up a point in the polls somewhere an oil executive gets a hard-on.”

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Election 2015 Is Already Over And Stephen Harper Won Because People Are Horrible

cdnelxncircleI’ve been rethinking my post from the 11th. That’s the one where I proposed three explanations for why Harper’s campaign has flown off the rails. I concluded then that it most likely has to do with the Conservatives losing their top fixer, Dimitri Soudas.

I was wrong.

In hindsight, I realize that my second theory — the one I dismissed as paranoid nonsense — is the most plausible: Harper is campaigning like a callous, indifferent, comic book dictator because he knows he’s going to win and doesn’t give a shit what you think about his campaign.

And Harper is right.

The Conservatives are going to win the election on October 19. And they’re going to win a huge majority.

Hate on the messenger all you like. My reasons are sound and they’re after the jump…

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Election 2015: A Silver Lining In A Close Race

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cdnelxncircleThis morning’s Nanos poll puts the Conservatives in the lead with 31 per cent support nationally. The NDP and Liberals are tied at 30 per cent. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8%.

In other words, it’s still a three-way tie and it doesn’t look like that’ll change any time soon.

And it has occurred to me that there’s one bright spot in this incredibly tense race: As long as Harper and the Conservative Party figure they’ve got a pretty good shot at forming government, they won’t fire up the paper shredders. So, if the Liberals or NDP break from the pack at the last minute, we stand a decent chance of finding out some of the rotten business Harper’s gang have been up to for the last four years — I mean the business that isn’t currently before the courts.

But if it had been a foregone conclusion all along that the Conservatives were going to lose, you can bet the recycling bins behind the PMO would have been filled to bursting by now.

Election 2015: I Can’t Keep Waking Up To Polls Like This

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cdnelxncircleThose are the aggregate voting preference numbers from this morning’s CBC Polltracker. As for seat count, Grenier reckons even though the NDP has a slim lead on popular vote, it’ll translate into the Conservatives winning with 118 seats. That would beat the NDP with 115 and the Liberals with 104.

Man, this election is close. The tension is killing me. I don’t know how much more of it I can take. I seriously think I’m going to have a coronary before October 19.

Update: Was just poking around and, according to Nanos Research, as of September 1, only 44 per cent of voters have already picked who they’ll vote for.

You know what I’d like to see right now? A poll of those other 54 per cent of voters that asks, “Okay, are there any parties you won’t vote for?”

I’ve read a lot about how the Conservative vote doesn’t have much room to grow beyond the 29 per cent they’re polling right now. And I don’t know if that’s true. So, if anyone has seen a poll of how undecided voters are sure not to vote, tweet it at me at @pauldechene.

Election 2015: What Is Harper Up To?

cdnelxncircleHoly. Farting. Jesus. How the mighty have tumbled. Remember a few months ago when the Conservatives were looking weak in the popular vote but still had a lock on the seat count in the House of Commons? Voters may have tired of all the various scandals of a government past its best-before date, and they may have grown fed up with the Conservative’s asshole approach to governing, but a minority win for Harper looked inevitable.

Well, that’s all changed.

Harper’s campaign has leapt from misstep to misstep and it’s starting to show in the polls. Granted, they ticked up in the last few days despite a series of disastrous gaffes related to the Syrian refugee crisis, but the best the Conservatives have been able to do since August 1 is shift back and forth between second and third place — on popular vote and seat count.

Sure, that makes it a close race. And there’s still five full weeks left before the election (the usual length of a campaign). That leaves plenty of room for a miracle from the Cranky Conservative Fairy. But no matter how you try to gussy the numbers up, this is an ugly place for an incumbent to be. Two thirds of the country hate the Prime Minister with the combined fire of a thousand red and orange suns. And even Harper’s fabled, rock-solid Conservative Base is starting to drift elsewhere. Turns out, there are more than a few life-long Con voters who’d rather take their chances on Maybe-Not-Quite-Ready Justin or on Mulcair The Angry Tennis Ball than stay linked to a soulless Dalek who’s intent on exterminating any goodwill the electorate ever had for conservatism.

Whatever happened to the Stephen Harper whose superpower was an ability to get elected no matter how much everybody kinda didn’t like him? Why is he campaigning like such a dumbass?

I have three theories on the subject. They’re after the jump…

Continue reading “Election 2015: What Is Harper Up To?”