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January 24, 2006

Cream of ballot soup

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSince I'm a gay, lefty, Jewish Canadian, I suppose I'm obligated to mention yesterday's Canadian election. Here goes. This is my comment on the yesterday's Canadian election. I did not eat my ballot.

It had never occurred to me before that eating my ballot was a possible course of action once behind the voting piece of cardboard. According to Elections Canada's Frequently Asked Questions, a question voters frequently ask is, "Is someone allowed to eat a ballot?" I had no idea Canadian voters would think to ask this - and frequently even - although it does go a long way towards explaining why the Conservatives won. Many Canadians are kind of stupid.

The answer by the way is, "No. It is an act of fraud to eat your ballot." Phew! Good thing I didn't eat it then! I would have been in some trouble!

Normally I have to restrain myself from scribbling, "They're all fucking crooks who should be forced to watch their own campaign speeches over and over and over again!" Either that or I feel the urge to madly draw little happy faces in the circles where we're supposed to mark our "X". However, I believe that voting is a privilege and one not to be squandered, so even though every single politician in the world remind me of that guy from high school who tried very, very hard to be popular, was treasurer of the student council, but went alone to the graduation dance - even the female politicians - I still plug my nose, avert my eyes from what I'm about to do, and vote strategically so that the worst of the bunch can't get elected.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usUntil this election, that is. This time, I voted with my brain instead of with my fear. I voted for a candidate I didn't think had a hope in hell of winning and for a party I would like to see in official opposition one day. Official opposition standing is a wish I used to wish for the lefty NDPs until they formed a bizarre alliance with the Conservatives to force this election in a cynical power grab. Good thing it paid off for them, eh.

In any case, I don't agree with everything on the Green's platform, but I do agree with most of it. Besides the perfect Blample Sog party - which would make it illegal not to offer me publishing contracts, by the way - does not exist. If I hadn't voted this party, I would have been sorely tempted to eat my ballot. By voting and not voting strategically, I voted for an idealistic party not corrupted by political cynicism (bye-bye NDP!), I didn't have to go home and wash off the slime immediately after voting, and I wasn't arrested after committing an apparent act of fraud.

The Liberals have been chastised, Paul Martin has stepped down as Liberal leader, and the Conservatives have a much smaller minority than expected (translation for those American lefties who pronounce doom and gloom without having the slightest inkling how Canadian politics work: they won the most seats in our House of Commons but they don't have to most seats overall meaning that they are powerless to get anything done without the help of the other parties, which isn't too likely. Therefore, fix your own gutless Democrats and then we'll chat about the downfall of the North American left). Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThey may try to take away same-sex marriage rights, for example, and they may actually be able to shove it through the House, but it'll never get through the Senate and the courts will knock it down. They won't be able to get anything done without the other parties and the Government will fall the second one of the crazies brings up Intelligent Design. I give them twelve months max.

So it may be the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine. I'm quite happy about it all, in fact. But I can't help wondering if ballot goes better with white wine or with red?