Silver linings

Well, as election dramas go, one couldn’t have asked for a better show. The overall results were far from surprising, with the Liberals showing slightly better than expected, the Conservatives not doing quite as well as they could have hoped, and the NDP right on the money.

Martin’s immediate announcement that he will resign as Liberal leader was a pleasant surprise, and may prove to be the first right step for the party on its speedy road to recovery.

Stronach’s victory, which had looked so doubtful, was another pleasant surprise. Belinda Stronach, Keith Martin, and Scott Brison. Living proof that people who cross the floor from the Conservatives aren’t betraying their constituents, just showing common sense. After all, they keep getting re-elected.

NDP victories in Trinity-Spadina, Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, and London-Fanshawe were definitely significant for their symbolism, particularly in defying Pat O’Brien’s characterization of his former constituents. The party’s strong showing overall bodes well for the turbulent days ahead.

Things get worse the further west you move. The loss of the former NDP riding of Churchill. No triumphant return for Lorne Nystrom.

And then there is Alberta. While I’m tempted to express my feelings on the Conservative’s sweep in language both visceral and profane, I’ll merely say that our electoral system is fundamentally unjust. That slate of [expletive deleted] does not represent me or my views, and until we adopt a system in which my vote actually counts for something they can [expletive deleted], every last one of them.

Harper’s work is certainly cut out for him. Whether his government will be the spectacular failure I expect, or the positive change he promises, only time will tell. The stage is set for deals to be made and broken, and all eyes will be watching. Welcome to the big show.

~ Gnomes

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O’Smiley by a mile

The results are in, and the winner of the 2006 M&G Election Pool is none other than O’Smiley, with an astounding 12 correct predictions out of 14.

In distant second was Patsy Stone, who correctly called 9 of the ridings, followed by Manatee with 8, Gnomes with 7, Dexter with 6, and Random Stevo with 3.

~ Gnomes

So what’s it going to be then, eh?

My prediction, produced from equal parts plagiarism, partisan desire, and blind guesswork:

Conservatives: 125
Liberals: 94
NDP: 30
Bloc: 58
Other: 1

The UBC market and Democratic Space are, unsurprisingly, close to my personal calculations. (My personal calculations involve looking at the UBC market and Democratic Space predictions). The EPP is a little off, a few seats low on the blue side of things, even if it gives all four remaining unpredicted seats to the Tories.

In the event the actual results are radically different, this post will be edited to make me look more prophetic.

~ Gnomes

Upsets abound

Looking over some seat projections, it looks like we may be in for some big-name losses on Jan. 23. This one, in particular, has McLellan, Stronach, Ianno, Valeri, and Pettigrew all losing their seats. (Two of those I would greatly enjoy, while three of them would be somewhat disappointing). Perhaps more surpassing, it would have O’Smiley walk away with the M&G seat projection pool with 11 correct picks, 3 more than Patsy Stone’s projected second place finish.

The ridings chosen for the pool generally had some significant local factors in play, so projections may not be very reliable for these seats. There’s no doubt that O’Smiley is the favourite going into the final weekend of the campaign though. Should Manatee have focussed his campaign more against Dexter? Did Gnomes’ attack ads hurt him more than they helped? Only time, or perhaps a reposed Rex Murphy, will tell.

~ Gnomes

Where in the world is Peter MacKay?

Peter who? The deputy leader of the Conservative Party hasn’t been seen much lately, and his heir apparrent status has been downgraded to heir presumptive, with Harper hinting that his deputy will soon be un-deputized and replaced with someone from the fresh batch of MPs the Conservatives appear set to deliver to the House.

But here at M&G, we’re not going to worry about such dreary details. Peter may have been absent from the national campaign, but we haven’t forgotten about him. While Martin, Harper, and Layton are jetting around the country, MacKay is jetting around the world, sending us updates from each exciting location he visits. Here’s the latest clue to his wherabouts. Be the first to identify Peter’s current location, and you could win fabulous prizes!

~ Gnomes

Polls, Polls, Polls

With all of the talk surrounding election polls lately, I thought that maybe Manatee and Gnomes should run a little poll of there own and perhaps get some insight as to how M&G’ers plan to vote.

Which party will you be voting for on January 23rd?
  Liberal
  Conservative
  NDP
  Bloc
  Green
  Other
 
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Unfortunately this poll does not work on wordpress and is a primordial left over from blogger.

~O’Smiley~

[Expletive deleted]

Gnomes is getting angry.

Or perhaps dismayed is a better word. Certainly frustrated, and mildly despondent. The prospect of a Conservative majority government used to be something he could laugh at, take a sip of his martini, and then laugh some more. Yet there’s little to laugh about these days.

What we know Harper would do with a majority (pull out of Kyoto, legislate against SSM, raise the cutoff for the lowest tax bracket as well as the rate for that bracket) is abominable, and that’s what he’s willing to tell us in a campaign where he is pretending to be somewhat centrist. One can only imagine what he and his neoconservative Calgary School chums have planned should they gain control of the House.

Still, the latest projections still have them in minority territory, and there’s a chance a few stories in the final week will help the Liberals rebound.

Should the worst occur, the prospect of four years of unchallenged rule by Harper and his motley crew inspires a visceral reaction in this blogger which isn’t conducive to reasoned discourse. Look for M&G to switch over to its new format on Jan. 24th: stream-of-consciousness, profanity-laced, incoherent rants.

Greed is good

With all the partisan rhetoric and the endless analysis by political junkies, it’s refreshing to see that the people who really have a stake in the outcome of this election have a reasonably acceptable prediction: the Conservatives solidly in minority territory, with the NDP holding the balance of power.

Ugly ads for an ugly choice

Nobody can go negative quite like the Liberals. The Conservatives had a laughable attempt earlier, but attack ads aren’t the best medium for attacking the use of attack ads.

Despite the hypocrisy, the Conservative ad was of course correct. The Liberals were bound to go negative; it’s understandable and necessary. Just as the Conservatives need to illuminate the failings of the Liberal government, the Liberals need to remind voters of just who Stephen Harper was before his summer BBQ makeover, and to make them question just how genuine his recent reformation has been.

Campy, over the top, and somewhat amusing, though for the most part unintentionally so. It’s been a winner for them in the past. This time, staunching the bleeding would be a victory.

It tastes awful, but will it work?

In an election that began looking like a repeat of 2004, things are suddenly looking very different. With the Conservatives pulling further and further ahead in the polls, what seemed impossible a short time ago may be about to come to pass. A very unfortunate four word phrase seems poised to enter our vocabulary: Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Much was made of the notion of strategic voting in the last election. Any gains the Conservatives made were offset by Liberal gains into NDP support, with the left-centre portion of Canadians more than willing to attempt to vote strategically for anyone but Harper. This time, I just don’t see it happening. For one, there simply aren’t enough marginal votes between the NDP and the Liberals to offset this kind of shift. And if the Liberals have really become so repugnant to voters that they are willing to shift en masse to Harper’s Conservatives, surely the NDP can do a better job of hanging on to its support.

Well, perhaps it is unavoidable. The Liberals do most certainly deserve a stint on the opposition benches to get their act together. Still, it will be a bitter pill to swallow. And how much damage can they do? Let’s just hope the US doesn’t ask us to get involved in any wars over the next couple years…

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