28 September 2008

Federal Election 2008

The leaders, picked from the CBC web site

So now that the reliable CBC tells me that it is day 22 of our election campaign, it is about time I said a thing or two about it instead of focusing all my attention at the spectacle down south.

First, I have to be amused by something I don't think we've seen so much in past elections: resigning candidates, some of them too late to be replaced! We have had no fewer than 8 candidates resign in the course of the campaign, for reasons varying from filmed internet drug use to getting naked with adolescent campers, to racist comments and attitudes about first nations people, to wacky conspiracy theories about 9-11, and way out ideas about concealed handguns expressed in their past blog posts (note to self: don't run for office, or at least first do a serious cleanup of anything I have said or written…). Still running: the Minister of Agriculture, who made tasteless jokes in the middle of our recent listeriosis outbreak on a conference call with scientists he didn't know that well; another Tory candidate who made remarks linking immigrants with crime. Funny how some of the strange ones who haven't withdrawn seem to be Tories.

Now we started off with a flap over a pooping puffin, which was quickly yanked from the web site notaleader.ca (ongoing Tory attack on Liberal leader Stéphane Dion). The popping puffin has survived in a YouTube video of the news coverage:

The pooping was hardly necessary, as Dion has been flying around in his polluting plane (yes, he bought carbon offset credits to cover that one) and not sounding all that convincing in terms of his delivery or his message. He struggles a bit with his English and he does that thing that always used to annoy me when I worked in a different part of town: repeats the same sentence in English and French, when that really shouldn't be necessary (and isn't for the TV coverage, which is translated). The best thing I heard from him was his assessment of the Arctic sovereignty issue while speaking to university students somewhere (I'm paraphrasing): We can't win against the Russians or the Americans, and we're too civilized to shoot at the Danes. Now that's funny and accurate.

The signs I took pictures of for my Bye-election Next Door entry were pretty much precursors to the signs that have now invaded every corner of the city. I won't bother to take up any more space with photos of those, but I should point out how obnoxious it is to put them so low on streetlight posts that they actually interfere with people walking by (or trying to navigate the sidewalks in wheelchairs). I wish that the law would require the parties to pay for the taking down of the signs as part of their election expenses, too. Instead, we will probably be seeing them with snow on them in December.

Now while I'm not going to take more pictures of the parties' signs, I will include some other things. Once again, we have a parallel campaign going on with respect to what was done a few years back by the federal government: jacking up employee and employer contributions to the Employment Insurance fund, restricting eligibility, and then 'stealing' the surplus from the fund to pay down the debt. Here's their sign this time around:

The most creative YouTube video prize has to go to the video protesting the Tories' cultural policies (from cuts to American-style determinations of what culture is wholesome enough to fund, with a healthy dose of not understanding Québec … or French):

There is a longer version on YouTube here and a subtitled version here.

The prize for a video mocking the political aspirations of someone whose claim to legitimacy seems to lie in his looks and the identity of his father goes to this video:

When this is all over, there might be some interesting developments among the parties, as the Liberals seems to be showing signs of weakening enough to lose their second place standing, maybe to the NDP. I think we're all (with one notable exception) hoping that the Tories don't get a majority, which seems to be the danger right now. I just don't want to hear any comments from my friends in Ontario about Québec handing the government to the Tories when Ontario has elected more of them than we have (four times as many in 2006!). All Québec does is refuse to send Liberals after all that they have done to embarrass and annoy many of us.

No comments: