Quarantine Diary, Day 11

After a few days of taking things in stride, the anxiety kicked in quite a bit harder this week. I mean… I’m worried about my parents. I’m worried about Ellen’s parents. I’m worried about Ellen.

It sunk in a bit more what a nightmare scenario Ellen in a hospital on a ventilator would be, for reasons I’m not going to go into here. Let’s just say it would be bad.

And I’m worried about the world in general. Because I’m like that.

I made one trip out to my lovely neighbourhood bakery last week. I considered stopping by Onkar for a few things last weekend. Onkar in Lakeshore is usually not busy at all, and I’m kind of amazed they stay in business. But their hand-made samosas are lovely and super-cheap and freeze well. So I wanted to get some of those. But the parking lot was packed and I didn’t want to get near a crowd, even though I imagine the risk was still pretty low.

This weekend, I’m not even contemplating going out anywhere. We have tonnes of food, largely as a by-product of how Ellen’s usual food habits. I’ve got a chest freezer here that’s full. Ellen has a smaller full chest freezer and three fridges with full freezers at her house. I’ll probably have to go out at some point (or, more accurately, I won’t be able to prevent my mother-in-law from going out at some point), but I think we’ll be okay.

Like I kinda hinted last time, this new situation isn’t that far off our usual day-to-day. Especially for Ellen. She can’t just go wherever whenever she wants. It’s more restrictive for me (I can’t hunt for minifigures and I’m desperately short on pokeballs), but I’m normally either at home or at Ellen’s. Or work. And I’m about as introverted as it’s possible to be, so staying at home is fine.

It’s sinking in that this is going to be a while. It still feels a bit like calm before the storm right now, but it’s not going to stay that way. For me, I think the biggest thing is going to be managing anxiety. And not letting myself fall into despair.

Quarantine Diary, Day 4

So I’m self-isolating.

This is probably an over-reaction. In part, I’m doing it to protect the world from me. My father-in-law (with whom I share a house, for reasons that are complicated, and maybe we’ll get to that) was at that mining convention where some guy went home with COVID-19. Neither my father-in-law, nor I, nor my mother-in-law, nor Ellen have come down with any symptoms. And from what I can tell, that Sudbury guy was the only person at the convention who contracted the virus. But still. I cough lot on a good day. It would probably freak out my co-workers.

Possibly more importantly, tho, I’m doing it to protect Ellen and my mother-in-law from the world. Ellen has a litany of health problems already and doesn’t need another one. The MIL is just getting over pneumonia, probably brought on by the bronchitis I probably gave her a couple months ago.

I do still feel bad about that. I mean, having bronchitis in general feels bad, so I was a bit pre-occupied with that at the time. And I did make a concerted effort not to pass on the various plagues I was carrying at the time. You know, before the big pandemic plague. So I’m not entirely confident of my ability to keep viruses to myself should I encounter them out in the world.

So I’m avoiding the world for a bit.

It’s probably weird, but a global pandemic kinda seems par for the course right now. I mean, I’m fine and everything, but it kind of feels like I’ve spent the last five years being bounced from one crisis to the next. In some ways, it’s kind of reassuring that the rest of the world is along for the ride on this one.

Aside: Strategic Voting

See my previous post about my endorsement of NDP candidate Diane Freeman for the riding of Waterloo.

LeadNow polls for Waterloo, from a month agoI’ve in the past been an advocate of strategic voting.

Strategic voting, though, is very, very hard to get right.  Even with all the polling data (which, for individual ridings, you don’t even have), you don’t really know what your neighbours are going to do election day.  We have great tools like Vote Together and Three Hundred Eight, but I’m not convinced these are really enough information to base a good strategic vote on.

In strategic voting, you’re voting for a less-favourite party to keep out a hated party.  Say you’re a big fan of the Greens, but your riding is a close race between the NDP and Conservatives, with the Greens trailing far behind.  In this case, you might choose to vote NDP to keep the Conservatives out.

And this might be a rational choice.  But are you sure the NDP and Conservatives are the only parties who have a chance at winning?  How do you know that?  Is that data reliable?

Vote Together, for the first time, actually did riding-specific polling for hotly contested ridings.  Waterloo was one of them.  They chose to use the results of their polling to say that people who didn’t want Peter Braid to take the riding again needed to vote Liberal.

But if you look at the actual polling data, their margin of error is about 4%.  They’ve got Chagger at a significant lead with 39% and Braid and Freeman fairly close at 31 and 26% respectively.  This isn’t the case that the NDP have no chance of winning, even by their own polling.  And the poll was taken a month ago.

Maybe now as the Liberals have the momentum local NDP support has fallen further, but do you know that?

Also important are other factors that may not show up in polling.  In the last provincial election, and the by-election that proceeded it, this riding went to the NDP.  Now the races and issues (and even the riding itself, now) are different, but what it does mean is die-hard NDP voters who might normally stay home because they think their party has no chance are emboldened and determined to come out and vote.  And that Freeman, a popular city councillor, has more name recognition on the ballot than, say, a Chagger or a Walsh.  The polls only ask about parties, not candidates.

Both the NDP and the Liberals have been making appeals to strategic voting, further muddying the waters.  And the NDP has been the most egregious here, honestly.  It’s a bit of a mess.

If you actually want to vote Liberal, that’s awesome.  I’d usually agree with you.  I actually prefer the Liberal economic plan and get really irritated by the populism of the NDP.  But C-51.

If you were thinking of maybe voting NDP, at least in Waterloo, I don’t think strategic voting is a good reason not to.  There are lots of other reasons why strategic voting’s bad for democracy, but here, now, I don’t think it even makes sense.

Proportional Representation

How to win Proportional Representation flyerWhile I know it won’t eliminate strategic voting, I do take heart that both the Liberals and NDP, who seemed destined to form the next government, barring a constitutional crisis, have promised to introduce some form of proportional representation before the next election.  And, from my perspective, it can’t come soon enough.

My friend Paul is giving a talk with Fair Vote Canada about proportional representation, hoping to capitalize on the disappointment and disenfranchisement that inevitably follows a First Past the Post election.  Come out to St John’s Kitchen on October 28th.