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michael ignatieff

With about 36 hours to go until the polls open, it’s time for me to post my totally unscientific, personal-opinion-only musings about the election and what the likely outcomes will be:

  • The NDP will win 10 seats in Quebec. With polls showing an NDP surge in support, this could be the breakthrough that Jack Layton was looking for. I don’t, however, believe that Gilles Duceppe’s seat (my riding) will be one of them. I think he’ll hold onto his seat here, albeit by a slim margin.
  • The Liberals will under-perform. No, it won’t be a  total collapse, a la Progressive Conservatives circa Kim Campbell. They’ll hold onto their safe seats and maybe even steal a couple from the Tories in places where the anti-Tory vote goes Liberal. But the surge in NDP support in Quebec will mostly be at the expense of the Bloc, everywhere else in Canada it will mostly come at the Liberals’ expense.
  • NDP/Liberal vote splitting will help the Tories. A cynic would say that the Harper camp is exaggerating the groundswell of support for the NDP, in a classic divide-and-conquer strategy in order to try and engineer a majority. I’m not quite that cynical, and I think the NDP’s support has emerged for a variety of other reasons. But I do think that the Conservatives will pick up a handful of seats due to NDP/Liberal vote splitting. That being said…
  • The Conservatives will be held to another minority government. I think that there’s enough anyone-but-Harper support out there, helped by initiatives like Project Democracy, to stave off the dreaded Harper majority. I hope.
  • The Greens will once again fail to pick up any seats. Their support has stagnated and there aren’t any ridings where their candidates are demonstrating a lead – or even a close second.  The party began as a sensible alternative to the status quo, but has shifted more and more towards the fringe, policy-wise, in the past few years. And with all the mainstream parties (except for the Tories) making environmental issues a big part of their platforms, there are fewer reasons than ever to vote Green.

Remember to vote!

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High-ho, high-ho, it’s election time again in Canada. And it sure does feel an awful lot like 2008:

  • 4 out of 5 of the party leaders are unchanged. Only Iggy is new this time around, though his post-election political days are probably as numbered as Stephane Dion’s were.
  • The party positions and platforms are largely unchanged since 2008 as well, at least on the big issues.
  • Elizabeth May is once again angry about being excluded from the debates – and, like last time, I predict she’ll probably get her way.
  • Jack Layton is still sporting his used car salesman ‘stache.
  • The Tories are once again sitting in comfortable minority-government territory, at once unlikely to lose and unlikely to form a majority.

So remind me again why we’re going to all this expense and trouble?

I would love to see the Tories get the boot. Between the long-form census debacle, the convenient-for-Harper prorogation of Parliament, corruption scandals, arts funding cuts, attacking women’s right to choosesocial engineering in the guise of economic policy that punishes anything other than the “traditional” family values, and Harper’s megalomania, the reasons abound. I simply cannot believe I live in a country where we keep electing this party.

Unfortunately, the only hope for replacing the Tories, the Liberal Party of Canada, is still in shambles. Ignatieff’s personal popularity is fairly low (no doubt made worse by those horrible Tory attack ads), the vote-splitting on the left bolsters the NDP and Greens at the Liberals’ expense, and the Bloc is standing at nearly 50% popularity here in La Belle Province.

My vote, which I have no problem saying will be for the Liberals, is a wasted vote, since I live in Gilles Duceppe’s riding and unless he gets morphed into an alien and starts singing Vegas showtunes in the shower, he’s going to run away with it here. But I will still trudge out and cast my ballot – on my birthday, no less – even though I know it won’t do any good at all.

No, I’m not a huge fan of Michael Ignatieff. I liked Stephane Dion a lot better, even though he failed to rally widespread support. But I’d much rather have a party in power that I agree with ideologically on most points, as opposed to one that I believe is steadily taking the country in the wrong direction.

The CBC has launched a short but fairly accurate online tool to help you gauge your political positions vis-a-vis the major parties. Check it out. And make sure you vote, because if we’re paying for this pointless election anyway, you might as well get your voice heard.

(Even if I do sometimes wish I could vote for the onion ring.)

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