Election Day reminiscences

Eight years ago today, back in 2000, I was sitting in a hotel room in Orlando, Florida watching the US election results. It was a pretty surreal experience.

[Me in Florida for the 2000 election]I was still working in QA. Our manager had managed to send a couple of us down for a conference just before the company clamped down on spending. The dot-com bubble was bursting and our ill-timed (and ill-conceived) dot-com play was barely getting started before the bottom was falling out. I think by election day we’d already gotten the email about the first lay-offs. Fortunately, neither of us were on the list.

There was a rally in town the day after we got there. Personally, I was more interested in seeing if I could find a half-decent BBQ restaurant.

Of course, we didn’t find out the outcome that night. It was still very much up in the air, and Florida was at the centre of that. At some point, George W Bush gave a speech that praised the resilience of American democracy, that it could survive such turmoil. How great a country it was that such things didn’t automatically lead to violence and bloodshed. I thought “Does that cross people’s minds?” Like everybody’s about to run out and start shooting each other, but everybody has to hold back and say “Oh, right, we’re a democracy. We don’t do that sort of thing.”

I mean, yeah, it’s good it doesn’t have to come to these things, but honestly, if it’s even an option, you may have problems.

The last eight years have been pretty crappy, from a macro perspective. Change is in the air tonight. There’s a lot of hard work ahead. Here’s hoping the next four will turn the tide.


I’m gonna make this all official and stuff:

This blog endorses Andrew Telegdi for the riding of Kitchener–Waterloo.

Re-elect Andrew Telegdi

This was actually a tough choice. I thought the Liberals in general haven’t been holding up their end as Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition the last two years. I do think they have a really good platform this time, but they still have a smug complacency that they really need to get over. I’d be all in favour of smacking them down some more if the alternative wasn’t so dire.

I do actually like Green Party candidate. Cathy MacLellan is really, really good. She’s smart and articulate. She understands the realities of business. She’s just a fantastic candidate. Not only that, my own values and beliefs align much closer to the Green Party platform than any other party. So why am I not endorsing her?

Telegdi has a pretty safe win in the riding, so strategic voting isn’t even that much of a factor. Thing is, I think we desperately need people like Andrew Telegdi on Parliament Hill. He is a stalwart champion of immigration and citizenship, from working to provide sanity for those who seek it to ensuring that it cannot be stripped away without just due process. He is one of the few people in our government who’s had the courage to stand against the abuses of power that our governments have allowed themselves in the wake of the US terrorist attacks in 2001. He has done this even in defiance of his own party. He is, frankly, a kick-ass MP, and we need more like him, not fewer.

So I voted for him. I have no qualms about endorsing him. If for some reason, though, you have a problem voting for a Liberal, however, I think Ms MacLellan is also an excellent choice.

For people not in my riding:

This blog endorses strategic voting

I considered endorsing a party, but I don’t know if that’s my style. I do, however, have an anti-endorsement: the Conservative Party of Canada is not up to dealing with the challenges the next government will face.

Yes, the Canadian financial system is in not nearly the sort of dire situation we see in the US or Europe. This is a good thing. However, I’m pretty sure the only reason this is the case is because Canada has resisted the sort of deregulation of the financial system that has been such the fad elsewhere. Exactly the sort of deregulation that the Conservatives and their predecessors have consistently advocated. Canadians are a very risk-averse people. A lot of the time it slows us down a bit. Sometimes, though, it saves us a whole lot of mess. Like now.

Also, we need to do something about global warming fucking now. Actually, we needed to twenty years ago. Yes, the rest of the world needs to come too, but Canada needs to be ahead of the curve on this. It’s the only way we can come out ahead. Inaction will cost us far more than action. And I’m not just talking about most of Nova Scotia being under water. I’m talking about when the rest of the world gets their act together, there is going to be serious repercussions for those who lag behind. So far, we’re lagging behind.

Oh, and there’s other shit too, like Bill C-10 and censorship in art funding and Bill C-61 on copyright. I really don’t want these jokers in power. They aren’t the old happy, friendly Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney-style Tories. These guys are the bastard children of the Canadian Alliance (Reform without any of the democratic reform stuff that made them compelling) and the Mike Harris Tories. The same guys who fucked up Ontario. And they’ll do it again if given the chance.

But enough bile. This is an endorsement, right? I think people should go to voteforenvironment.ca, find their riding and see what they think of the advice there. It doesn’t say you always have to vote Liberal to keep the Conservatives out. Often it says a strategic vote won’t make a difference, so you can vote neo-Rhino if you really want to.

I really recommend people get to know their local candidates (admittedly, I’m a bit late on that advice). But also pay attention to the bigger picture. I don’t believe that a vote cast for someone who doesn’t win is “lost” or “didn’t count.” I do think, though, that you need to figure out what is the least undesirable of the likely outcomes and let that guide you.

Most of all, though, you really ought to get out and vote. ‘Cuz this one’s important. Really fucking important.