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.

#elxn42

So there’s an election Monday.  Let’s get this over with first:

This blog endorses Diane Freeman for the riding of Waterloo.

I’m making this endorsement for two reasons.  One, I honestly think she’s the best candidate for the job.  And two, C-51.

Also the TPP, which has come along recently, but that only helped reaffirm my decision to vote NDP this time around.  We’ll get back to that.

C-51

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C-51 is a travesty of a law, enshrining secret trials and creating secret police, eviscerating any remaining Internet privacy protection.  It needs to be repealed.  It can’t just be amended, slapping on a little bit of oversight.  It furthers the Conservatives’ agenda to criminalize dissent and flies in the face of our Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It cynically exploits the murder of a Canadian soldier to strip Canadians of the rights that our soldiers supposedly died for. Soldiers that Harper so dearly loves to talk about. Soldiers Nathan Cirillo was standing guard over.

It makes me so fucking angry.

I’m appalled that the Liberals supported this bill and even more shocked that they’d choose to defend it in this election campaign.  For that reason alone, I can’t vote Liberal this time around. Strategic voting be damned.

Two parties have pledged to repeal C-51: the NDP and the Greens.  So those are my choices.

More background reading about C-51:

Continue reading #elxn42