The Canadian Imagination

What it means to be Canadian; examining and reworking Canada as a nation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

On your mark, set ...

So, as expected, the government has lost a non-confidence vote over what really turns out to be whether an election is called tomorrow or next month, the prime minister will request the governor-general to dissolve the government and call an election (formality only, since 1924): and tomorrow the campaigning begins in earnest for an over-Christmas campaign which Rick Mercer, of "Talking To Americans" fame, has already labelled "Elexmas" ... and which won't change anything essential in the balance of power. This is an election forced by personal ego, nothing else. No party leader (indeed few party representatives at all!) is innocent ... although in all fairness the Bloc Qu├ębecois actually does have something potentially to gain in all this, no question in the slightest that the national separatist party will gain significantly in the number of parliamentary seats. The more ridiculous look the others, for being willing to gamble national unity to service their own pomposity.

(Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party, seems to have managed to detangle himself from the Liberal party just in time for voters to see the NDP policy as something distinct from -- and, more important, non-implicated in -- the Liberal machine.)

My own personal aim, in this election, is to follow and analyse the various election issues as they unfold -- I think from a non-partisan perspective, since the building I attempt by this blog is not something that has any relevance during an election campaign, let alone one that I firmly believe is going to change nothing of substance in the slightest. What point in reprinting poll numbers? Either one agrees with them or one doesn't, either one actively searches for bias in them or one accepts at face value, either one decides that one's fellow voters are infused with wisdom or suffer from some collective insanity ... and either one reacts in the choice to vote based on the poll numbers or one doesn't. In any case, any likely changes in these poll numbers from the previous results will almost certainly fall within the margin of error, even before considering that a good quarter to third of any given sample give their opinion as Undecided / Don't Care.

I also aim to follow up the earlier attempt at prediction, this time as a detailed examination riding-by-riding: three hundred-odd ridings (and most of us, delightfully, are very odd indeed!), going from west to east more or less by province and territory except where the tail wags the dog: start with British Columbia on December 16. (I would have liked to start even earlier, give all the predictions on the day of election announcement, but time does not permit.) I almost certainly won't go into depth into any regional issues at this time, in part because I think Kim Campbell did have it right, that no one can possibly discuss party policy in depth during an election campaign. The time to achieve understanding of party intention is not when key messages are reduced to 10 second media sound-bytes.

So let's see what I can do here, without paying $9,500 per week for an official media seat on the election buses ...

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