Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shifting Numbers before the Debate

It is twenty days until Canadians go to the polls. Actually you can early vote on April 22 and 24, but let’s move on from that. Tonight is the night of the leaders debate – English. Though I unhappily, not all the leaders. Despite considerable public support for the Greens to be in the debate Elizabeth May was denied the right to appear by an unaccountable, closed-door process.

I wanted to blog before the debate took place because I did not want to get hampered by the inside baseball of debate analysis. Not to mention that such analysis matters only to the junkies, pundits and media and very little to “real” Canadians. The debate is an opportunity for Canadians to meet their federal leaders. If they are successful it will draw voters, if it fails then they will bleed voters to the point of anaemia.

The projection and poll analysis websites I follow have been projecting some interesting numbers. It appears that the Harper Conservatives are on the verge of majority government territory. Right now DemocraticSpace is projecting them at about 150, with a high of 172 and a low of 126. 308 Blog is projecting them at 152. You need 155 to win a majority. The Conservatives must be going nuts trying to figure out how to squeeze those extra few seats out.

At the moment it looks like overall the Liberals will hold steady, as will the Bloc and the NDP will lose a few seats. That is not to say that the same exact seats will return the same MPs, a number look prepared to switch. It will be unclear which direction the map will swing until May 2nd. Canada is a highly regional country, and often while the Conservatives gain ground in places like British Columbia and the rest of the West it will lose ground in Atlantic Canada, and therefore seats.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this election to me is the growth of the NDP in Quebec. The NDP have not done well in Quebec historically, so this turnaround is quite impressive. The NDP currently hold Outremont, and it looks possible for them to gain Gatineau, a suburb of Ottawa, from the weakening Bloc. The New Democrats are also running a prominent Aboriginal leader in Quebec’s north, Roméo Saganash, which may turn up Aboriginal turnout and lead to a win there. But no one is holding out too much hope for that one.

Now to update you on my voting situation. Today I filled out the paperwork to become a registered voter in my riding. I’m mailing it today and hope to be on the rolls sometime next week. Exciting! I also decided the issue that will sway me in this election. I e-mailed the three main contenders in my riding for their position on electoral reform. I have only heard back from one so far.

One final thing, as part of the Liberal platform they are advocating for online voting. I don’t know what I think about this process. Voting right now is quite easy. Polls are open on different days for many hours and you can always mail in your vote. I don’t see what online voting would do besides open up the system for potential shenanigans.

With that I would like to encourage all my readers to watch the leaders debate tonight and participate in our democratic process! Try not to throw too much at the T.V.

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