Saturday, January 07, 2006

I went out to vote today by special ballot. I had to go to the local returning office anyway - this year, annoyingly out near the Tunney's Pasture area - to fix my registered address, in any event; despite getting it right last time, this year Elections Canada sent the notice of registration to my parents' home address. This would be a problem, what with having lived at my current address for the past three years. (As ever, I'm glad I no longer live in the riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke; at least here, Kobayashi Maru though Ottawa Centre may be, I'm not faced with the distasteful dilemma of Cheryl Gallant.) Being there anyway, I decided that I may as well, rather than have to schedule making it over to my assigned polling station on E-day. Mondays are particularly class-heavy for me this term, and the temptation to skip it after a long day of lectures might well have been overpowering. So, yes, I've cast my vote for Keith Fountain, despite the mildly unsettling prospect of voting for someone who looks about 16. The Conservative campaign, though far too squishy for my taste in many policy aspects has nonetheless been delightfully hyper-competent. Also, one of my fears about policy and strategy has been acceptably assuaged, with the politically tone-deaf segments of the party who wanted to fight an election entirely upon opposition to gay marriage kept firmly under wraps. At least, to this point. There's still plenty of time for some loose cannon (a-hem) or another to blow the whole game. (Don't get cocky, people.) In the local context, I fear Richard Mahoney is going to win, with a lot of the centrist support Ed Broadbent had on the basis of the electorate's warm feelings towards politically-resurrected elder statesmen melting away. Uncomfortable as the prospect was, I would have considered the NDP candidate, Paul Dewar, if he seemed to have a better chance. (Anything to stop a Grade-A Martin crony, and all that.) However, I don't have enough confidence in Dewar or his campaign to prevent being steamrolled by scarily dedicated and well-funded Martinites. Rank-and-file Liberals mildly embarrassed at and honestly trying to overcome the reputation the party leadership et al have established for them over the past decade are one thing; close personal friends of the PM with a jones for winning a trophy seat are quite another. That said, Dewar might still come up the middle if any of the Red Tory votes Mahoney snapped up last time fall to the eminently-moderate Fountain, as several posters at the Election Prediction Project surmise. Since a Conservative win is next-to-impossible here, that'd still be an acceptable outcome; either that, or a Mahoney win that turned out to end up in opposition. (I'll take my schadenfreude where I can get it, thank you very much.) In a way, the election is over for me. Convenient though special ballots and advance polls may be, they do have a way to take some of the fun out of the process. Now all that's left is to watch the race (making comments of varying snark and cheer, depending), and hope that I made a good bet.

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