Sunday, November 25, 2012

2012 Victoria Byelection

There's something very pleasing about a byelection in our Canadian system. No matter who we elect in Victoria on November 26 (tomorrow! get out and vote!), it won't affect the balance of power in that distant, magical land of Parliament. I say this not because I'm pleased about the current balance of power there, because unpleased barely scratches the surface of how I feel about the execrable policy direction of the Harper-Kenney-Baird Conservatives, but because it's nice not to have any reason whatsoever to vote strategically.

I'm voting for Don Galloway and the Greens, so let's get that out of the way. I don't think my thoughts about the election are biassed as a result, but you're free to assume they are, and I'm going to write this anyway.

First of all, we should be pleased with the variety of choices available. As an outsider, I still fail to grasp how the recent American election was anything but an Obama landslide, given the assorted idiocies uttered by so very many Republican candidates and their supporters, but even more startling was the idea that someone could be undecided. Such a stark choice, no? Whatever the issues, it's always only a two-horse race, and it should be easy to choose between a donkey and an elephant.

Admittedly, race in the US is a more complicated matter than I can appreciate clearly: nearly 60% of white voters supported Romney, much to my horror, and fully 88% of Romney's voters were white; 93% of black voters supported Obama, on the other hand, along with 71% of Latino voters and 73% of Asian voters. Baffling, all of it, so let's get back on track an remember that Victoria has six candidates, and only two are from the fringes. There are four legitimate choices, and that's something to enjoy.

Stephen Harper's underwear
Now, the presence of four legitimate candidates doesn't mean that it'll be close, because it won't. Around here, the Conservatives are less popular than the Natural Law Party, but somehow they're still in charge of the country. The punditocracy suggests a probable NDP win for Murray Rankin, with Don Galloway of the Green Party pushing fairly hard. The gap may be wider if Liberal voters vote Liberal rather than bending Green, the way they did in Saanich in the last federal election, but there's nothing safe in that assumption.

But you know what? I say we should all vote Green anyway. Even the Conservatives, since your candidate has been claiming he wouldn't necessarily follow the party line: utterly impossible under Stephen Harper, for one thing, and why would you vote for a Conservative who says he won't be entirely Conservative?

So forget for a minute your closely argued affiliations, your Jack Layton tattoo, and your Pierre Trudeau underwear.

No matter who Victoria elects, the Conservative majority will continue to behave as bombastically, boorishly, and amateurishly as they have since the last election, behaviour which was, you must admit, far worse even than the appalling level they'd plumbed in the years since their first minority government in 2006.

Sure, we could send another NDPer along to stand firmly with Tom Mulcair, or another Liberal to work with ... well, whoever the heck will turn out to be running that outfit after the dust settles.

But Is there any possible argument against screwing up the system a little bit? I mean, come on, it's the West Coast: it'd be a shame to miss such a great opportunity to tweak the Calgary Sun and the National Post. You know it's impossible to argue against; admit it, and take the only responsible action.

I'd be voting for Don Galloway and the Green Party anyway, but if I'd been planning to vote for anyone else, in this byelection I'd be going green anyway. Join me, won't you? You won't regret it, and Rick Mercer might even come to interview you personally.

In closing, watch this promotional video from the late, lamented Natural Law Party, and get set to vote on Monday, November 26. You're welcome.

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