Election Day thoughts
Boy, it's been a while since I posted anything of substance here (and maybe the streak continues; judge for yourself).
Let me start by patting myself on the back: not because I was influential, but because I was right. Here's what I wrote last February at budget time:
If only there was some nice motherhood issue that the CPC could take ownership of, and use it to beat the Liberals senseless... hmmmm... I've got it! How about motherhood! It should be obvious that if the CPC came out with one specific reason why they can't support the budget (despite being otherwise "pleased"), that reason would get a lot of attention. That's why this should be what Stephen Harper is saying this morning:
"...the Conservative Party cannot support any budget which provides for the establishment of the Liberals' lunatic plan for a federal daycare system. There are a bevy of reasons to oppose this terrible, terrible plan, and they generally fall under two broad objections.
First, it's a massive government program, and the Liberals have proven themselves totally incompetent at making sure such programs achieve their intended objective.
Second and more importantly, if the Liberals wish to spend five billion dollars to help parents and children, what they should be doing is giving them the money. For some families, the money would help cover the costs of ongoing daycare for their children. For some parents, it would allow them to use daycare less, and spend more time with their own children. And for some families who already have a stay-at-home parent, it will allow them to provide more opportunites for their children.
Even if there were a magical guarantee that the federal daycare system would be the most efficient and effective program in the history of Canadian government, it is still a less appealing alternative than empowering parents to make their own decisions as to what is best for their children.
[...] We are not keen on an immediate election, but if there needs to be one to let Canadians decide who knows best for their children - the Liberals or themselves - then so be it."
I also had this, in March:
...the CPC can become loud and proud promoters of family values, without getting caught up in crap like boobs on TV. Loudly oppose the daycare "system", offering parents the choice (and increased resources through lower taxes etc.) to do what's best for their own family. The Liberals can demagogue this issue however they like, but if it's on the front page, it's a winner for the CPC...
The Conservative win today will be attributed, correctly and incorrectly, to all sorts of things, but it seems to be fairly unanimous that among issues of policy, child care has been the CPC's biggest vote-mover.
Personally, I won't be voting today. Jay Jardine has convinced me, and this graf pretty much sums up my reasoning:
...no matter what shenanigans the next horse thief gets up to while occupying 24 Sussex, I can rest assured that he did so without my consent or assistance.
That said, I can't say I'm totally indifferent to the outcome. I like Stephen Harper, and I still have an irrational hope that he is, in fact, harbouring a secret agenda to dismantle the welfare state. (And it is irrational--I think Andrew Coyne's conclusion in his NYT piece is wishful thinking):
Previous Conservative prime ministers aspired only to run the Liberal machine for themselves, leaving the motor running for the Liberals when they returned. Mr. Harper wants to dismantle it, piece by piece.
Maybe Coyne and Harper had a private conversation; it's hard to account for where else he would have gotten this impression.
Also, I supported Harper before you did. Yes, you, I'm talking to you, unless you happened to vote Reform in a Calgary West advance poll in 1988.
My Social 10 class did a straw poll the week before the '88 election (Sir Winston Churchill High School, in NW Calgary). Our Fred Henry-type teacher (Mr. Thunberg) put up the choices on the board: PC, Liberal, and NDP. I actually put up my hand: "Are we allowed to vote for the Reform Party?" He was taken slightly aback, then said, "oh, of course!" and marked Reform on the board.
We marked our "secret" ballots, and Thunberg counted them up. I don't remember who won, but I certainly remember him marking a '1' next to Reform, and every kid in the class turning to stare at me. Talk about busted.
Anyway, a chubby young economist named Stephen Harper was the Reform candidate in Calgary West that election. Since then I've voted Reform/CA/CPC in every election, and I voted for Harper as the leader of both the CA and the CPC. I like him less now than I ever have, but I certainly wish him well personally. (Last election day, I posted a list of 10 things he should try to accomplish as a minority PM, and I still hope he takes a crack at them. I'm not holding my breath.)
Lastly: prediction time! I have no idea on the seat breakdown. Darrell Bricker says projections for the CPC seat total are centred in the 140s, and that anyone who thinks the Liberals might win is "paranoid". I'll defer to his analysis there.
My sole prediction is that Anne McLellan will retain her Edmonton Centre seat by about 600 or so votes. It says here that "irrelevant" factors are: (A) wanting to vote for the winning party, and (B) wanting someone local in Cabinet. It says here that "relevant" factors are: (A) an unwillingness to see the Conservatives win the seat, expressed 4 times previously; (B) personal affection for Ms. McLellan; and (C) the "votes are sticky" concept noted by Colby Cosh.
Two days ago, I would have added a caveat to this prediction: that it assumes Landslide Annie won't take a dive if the writing ("Liberals defeated!") is on the wall. The local accounts are that she is not. Congrats in advance on your 5th consecutive victory, Anne.