Thursday, March 6, 2008

A punditry-inspiring week

What a week. While being buried in my work life, I've seen about 50 blog-worthy topics pass me by. See here for a
small sampling of the utter ridiculousness. I've commented on a few items that provoked some thoughts.


Quite a new low for the Liberals this week -- they're actually introducing a motion in the House of Commons blaming the NDP and Bloc for voting to defeat them in 2005. To quote Warren Kinsella: "Lord God Almighty, the Liberal Party of Canada needs help."

Mr. Dion and friends seem to be under the impression that their fellow parties are to blame for ending the long Liberal reign in Ottawa. Do they forget the voters who booted them out in the election that followed their defeat? Rather than pointing the finger for alleged wrongs committed by everyone else, can they not take some responsibility for the corruption and bad decisions that appeared endemic to their own party? Does the Liberal Party not look in the mirror and wonder if the source of their own troubles is staring right back at them?

It's more of the unspeakable arrogance we've seen before. Sounds like they're badly in need of some reflection time, of exactly the sort that comes with lounging in opposition for a long, long time.


Speaking of
Kinsella, he's calling the US Presidential race for McCain in the wake of the seemingly endless Democratic nomination race. I wouldn't go so far as to call it yet, but he's right - I'm worried about the Democrats' chances. The added months of publicity, fundraising, and organizing time that the Republicans have while the Democrats scrap it up can't be underestimated. When the dust settles in the Democratic nomination and the winner emerges, expect the Republicans to be well-prepared, waiting with boats of money and a battalion of attack ads.

It's a damn shame.


A lot of people were shocked at the
Alberta election results, particularly by the huge increase in Conservative seats at the expense of all three other parties that were represented in the Legislature. That came despite a whole lot of talk about voters being in a mood for change.

The result can be chalked up entirely to the Tory increase in Edmonton, which is the only part of the province where the opposition parties have a large concentration of seats. Tory increases in the opposition heartland, combined with slippage in parts of the province where it doesn't really make a difference (e.g., Calgary) equals a big increase in the majority.

At a glance, the overall popular vote didn't shift by a massive amount -- the Conservatives went up from 47% in 2004 to 53% in 2008, while the Liberals dropped three points to 26% and the NDP dropped one point to 9%. That's not a cataclysmic shift. For all the talk about the new Wildrose Alliance on the right, their 7% this time is below the 9% their 2004 counterpart earned. The Greens crept up from 3% to 5%, mostly as a result of two high-profile candidates who did well, but didn't come close to winning.

In Edmonton, though, the Tories soared from 31% to 43%, while the Liberals dropped from 41% to 33%. The NDP lost three points to land at 18%, which was enough to cost the two of their four seats, sadly including that of former leader Ray Martin. I wonder if Edmonton Liberal popularity in the Klein years was driven to some degree by Ralph Klein himself. The former Premier was a high-profile and
not uncontroversial Calgarian, something that might not have entirely endeared him to voters in rival city Edmonton. Remove the Klein and see the Liberal balloon deflate, despite what most pundits agree was a better-run campaign by the party.

A big disappointment is that the
voter turnout has dropped yet again, this time to a mere 41%. It's no coincidence that the lowest voter turnout in Canada happens to be in the province that's our closest thing to one-party state. There's not much point in voting when the outcome's pre-determined, so why bother? The Tories now have won a mandate based on 53% of 41% or about 22% of the electorate. How low does it have to get -- in Alberta or in any voting jurisdiction --before people start to question the government's very legitimacy? What then?


Ed Schreyer, Manitoba's resident loose cannon ex-Premier, sure had
something to say recently. Can you blame him? Did the boosters of Waverley West not do any research on the technical requirements associated with installing geothermal energy before announcing the project? Sounds to me like "geothermal" was a nice-sounding term some folks decided to slap in their PowerPoint presentations when it came time to do the dirty job of selling sprawl. It's more than a little disappointing.

The Rise and Sprawl has a some good comments on the topic.

Photo: Downtown Edmonton. The city shifted quite dramatically toward the Alberta Conservatives this week.

No comments: