Monday, 23rd January '06
Lessons from a Real Election
Yes Luk, I'm updating.
Right. So 23 January 2006 has arrived. For the folks who haven't heard, it's General Election Day in Canada. The polls are closing as I type and the seats in Ottawa are fast being filled. And I'm pleasantly surprised at how exciting it all is. Sitting by the TV, listening to Rob (Canadian Engineering Masters student who lives 2 doors down - he's not around much, but he voted Liberal and so has some vested interest in sitting by the TV with me and explaining the whole process), and just for once watching something for which the results aren't already known.
Heck, it's exciting that one even gets to vote in these parts! It may well be that in my entire lifetime I never get to vote *thinks about moving to Potong Pasir*. Nah, it would mean my HDB flat never gets upgraded.
Of course, Canadian Media Law prohibits me from giving any real time results on this blog. Yes, it's true. British Columbia's still polling away. Well, techically I'm not so sure it's an enforceable prohibition, but...
Anyhow, here are some little lessons that have occurred to me over the past days, done in a somewhat Mr-Brownian, Singapore National Education sort of style.
I have learnt lately: -
Lesson One: That the Green Party should get better on-the-street promotors.
Last Friday after school a bunch of us were sitting at the Dalhousie Gradhouse (something of an on-campus pub cum lousy Chinese food joint). Before anyone misconstrues what the word "us" entails, let me emphasize the international nature of this group. We consisted of:
2 x Singaporeans (Lingwei and I)
2 x Australians (Rob and Mick)
1 x Swede (David)
1 x Mexican (Armando)
1 x German (Zerk, who really isn't from Dal and/or Law but who cares?)
Some lady then comes up and offers us green ribbons attached to little cards. Before any of us get a chance to read the cards and find out what this unexpected (and frankly, suspicious) spate of generousity was for, she chirpily bleats: "...and DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!"
*split-second of stunned silence*
(*realisation that that was too much alliteration for one phrase*)
*realisation that there was not a single person at that table that could vote even if he (or the one pathetic "she" - i.e. me) wanted*
And we all burst out laughing.
Nevermind that, it's a legitimate enough mistake. Nevermind that all the accents were weird. Nevermind that she eventually realizes the mistake and laughs good naturedly. What I DO mind is that she comes back later and TAKES BACK THE RIBBONS. Way to go.
Lesson Two: Never underestimate the power of incumbency
I probably shouldn't blog the inspiration for this *koffAtlanticCanadagoingveryLiberalkoff*, but one of the politics-explaining news anchors constantly tells us that one should never underestimate the power of incumbency - meaning that all the ridings (rough equivalent of "constituency" in Singapore) are turning out the same as they did in the last election. Atlantic Canada, it seems, is very happy with their current polititions and representation in the House of Commons.
It is at this point that I get a vaguely strange feeling. I begin to feel older. Like a grandmother. Like a grandmother listening to someone teaching me something I already know. Like a grandmother being taught to suck eggs, to be precise.
Believe me, you really shouldn't be talking to a Singaporean about the power of incumbency.
Lesson Three: Sitting between two Liberal supporters can be an amusing experience.
You could be sitting between a subdued, calm Rob, and an outspoken, and visibly agitated Carlos. You could have Rob saying on-and-off that it's still close, it's still anyone's game; only to provoke some stiring comment from a strongly anti-Conservative (more like anti-their-foreign-policy-with-respect-to-the-US) Carlos in the vein of "Freaking rednecks!" / "Do you see any immigrants in that crowd?!"
*Carlos being the of Brazillian descent but Canadian parttime Political Science professor in SMU (St Mary's University), parttime Salsa-papa / Sargeant Major / Granddaddy of the YMCA.
It's nice to be around people who care.
Lesson Four: 11:30pm is a good time to decide to toss out the copy of Bill C-22 that your Liberal-voting Family Law professor gave you a week ago.
By that time, results from mostly everywhere but BC were in and stabilising. Conservatives going for a minority government by the skin of Harper's shiny, media-polished teeth. *ching*
Bill C-22, an Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assitance Act... blahdeblah was one of that 1000-odd bills that went *kapish* upon the vote of no confidence. But due to the enthusiasm of Prof T, we got the Bill distributed as a handout anyway. I don't know if the Conservatives will support bringing it back, but I do have some confidence it now won't be done in time for the exams. Whee!
Our dear weed-smokers, on the other hand, will probably react with much lesser enthusiasm. I may be wrong, but I doubt that reviving the Bill for the legalising of marijuana in Canada is all that pressing a concern to the Tories.
Lesson Five: I wouldn't like to be Steven Harper right now, a.k.a. what kind of crappy minority government is that?!
I have made fun of the PAP's stranglehold on power enough. Really, I will stop doing that - at least for the rest of this entry, because the idea of a minority government is mildly shocking and somewhat scary. I didn't think too much of it before - you know, we're conditioned to the rhetoric about the importance of having some kind of effective opposition - but when the seats are (at this moment) 122 Tories to 105 Liberals... you wonder if it's such a good thing to have such a strong opposition.
Listening to the commentators break down the potential political gymnastics that Harper's going to have to engage in to get ANYTHING passed in the House makes me feel slightly bad for him. The Liberals aren't going to help him (duh). The NDP is more naturally aligned with the Liberals and therefore won't help him. So he's got to get all chummy with the Bloc - and who wants to be openly chummy with the oddball seperatist party? Not to mention that the Tories just pinched something like 10 seats out of under the Bloc's noses in the Bloc's jealously guarded territory, so you'd hardly expect BQ to be particularly friendly.
Suddenly my junzi government with its overwhelming majority don't look so bad.
Lesson Six: You mean you can refuse to recognise that another party won?
There was some talk going around that Martin might refuse to concede defeat. What is that supposed to mean - that he'll start some fiasco about merely dimpled chads a la the US Presidential Elections 2000? Cannot be THAT bohliao, right?
And then there was the talk about whether Martin would stick around for the long haul. Some say he's too old, some say whatever they say... I don't know anything about this. Some say he might have some crazy idea of sticking around until the next election, and then some say even then it would be time for him to hand over the reigns to new blood.
Or he could stick around as a Minister Mentor. *shrug*
*En Ying will now return to the dodgy TV Room to be educated on what Real Elections are about. More real-time updates to come.*
[10 photographs developed.]
wiw such a cute webb blogs..
rodel: who the hell are you? what the hell are you even SAYING? (and i'm talking about your comment, not your "cute webb blogs".)
hey dajie i can finally access ur blog cos masha's wireless works.yay! u know a party can NOT concede defeat. that's what happened in germany last year when both parties thought they won
man dajie..i need u back so bad to handle this deranged heartbroken strawberry..
nono, the germans were different... something like they couldn't properly win until they got an alliance or something... this one is clearly a win.
whar's wrong with her now??
she's a spamming strawberry on the loose! -help!-
just break her wrist, like dage says. then she can't pick up phones and she can't type either. problem solved.
hhaha such violence in our dysfuntional family
enz, dun tempt babs into violence. Heng will have more furs to pluck at if she picks up another un-enviable trait! =b
the idea of mutton chop plucking at the baboon's fur chills the very marrow of my bones.