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Losers and winners

The election took all the wind out of my sails. Even though I was pleased with the NDP’s unprecedented surge forward into Official Oppositiondom, I was knocked flat by the Harper GovernmentTM securing its majority. Four years of unfettered power. Four years of tyranny. Four years of watching him dismantle the things that matter while spending like a drunken sailor on things that don’t. I literally felt ill. For two days I felt like I had a hangover, which I didn’t.

I was also saddened to see that Tony Martin, the NDP’s poverty critic and truly a class act as far as politicians go, was defeated in his riding of Sault Ste. Marie.

On the bright side, Elizabeth May captured a seat for the Green Party, so she will finally have a right to be heard.

What else?

I worked 13 hours on election day, without a break. I lived on pudding and fruit. I didn’t even have coffee. The time went by surprisingly fast, except for the last hour. It was actually kind of fun.

There were two registration officers – me and a young man. I found myself in the unusual position of being the bad cop. He was accepting anything as ID and proof of address, whereas I was (as per our training) sticking to the officially sanctioned proofs (which were fairly wide-ranging – a utility bill, for example, was acceptable). It felt strange for me to be the stickler for the rules.

The other weird thing was that the central poll supervisor – the boss – was confused about a lot of things. She was very nice, I’ll give her that. But at first she believed that anybody who was eligible to vote in Ottawa Centre was eligible to vote at our polls. (There are hundreds of polls in Ottawa Centre, and you have to vote in the one designated to you.) And then she didn’t want us to have the voters’ list, thinking it more rightly belonged with the information officers, even though it was key to what we were doing. So for the first two hours we limped along without it while it sat, unused, on the information officers’ desk. (I finally reclaimed it.)

The strangest thing was when she had a conversation with a voter and he told her he was leaving his ballot blank, in protest. She kept telling him not to do that, because his ballot would be rejected. He kept telling her that was the point. It turned out she’d never heard of the concept of deliberately spoiling one’s ballot. I explained it to her after he left, and she laughed and laughed. It was the craziest thing she’d ever heard.

Anyway. It was an interesting day, full of interesting people.

I’m very pleased to announce we have a winner in the Melting Snow Pile contest. It’s Valerie from Wandering Cat Studio, who correctly guessed May 2 – election day. (I didn’t actually visit the snow pile on May 2 because I was working those 13 hours – but I visited it at 10 pm the night before (when it was a very small pile) and again the morning of the third, when all that remained was this wet spot.

Congratulations Valerie! Please email me your address and I will put your prize in the mail.

9 comments to Losers and winners

  • OH Boy! I just pulled that date from the sky!

    I was surprised, and quite excited about the NDP surge, but not overly shocked at the conservative minority. I don’t think it’s so much that people like Harper – I think it was more of a matter of that many disliked Ignatieff or were disillusioned with the liberals more, and didn’t have enough confidence in Layton.

    My hope is that the liberals can learn some lessons from this and become the party that Canadians truly want and need.

    Thanks again for the prize! (Whatever it may be!) I’ll send you my address now.

  • Whoops – meant to say “conservative majority” not minority

  • I, too, now find myself feeling I’m out in some kinda political wilderness, ma’am. On the upside, the company out here on the Group W Bench is excellent

  • I too was very happy with the NDP and Green results, but they were completely overshadowed for me by the Conservative majority. I still can’t figure out who voted for them as almost no one seems to be owning up. It will be a long and destructive four years.

  • I’m really surprised at how nervous I’m feeling right now. I keep telling myself that it can’t possibly be *that* bad…can it? And yet, I have this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach about what the next few years will bring.

    Is it too late to move to Norway?

  • …interesting. After the election I Googled my father* to see what his reaction was. There was nothing new, so I’m sure he’s taking some time to figure out. Just after the election was called, however, he wrote a long piece for one of his local newspapers about how Jack Layton had abandoned the cause. He feels the NDP have already skewed too far to the right in a bid to pick up Liberal votes.

    The guy with the “spoiled ballot” wasted his time. Elections Canada doesn’t see a difference between a “spoiled ballot” and one that’s screwed up by accident. They get put into the same pile, and the number of ballots in the pile is not released.

    If you want to spoil your ballot, vote for one of the fringe party’s. Or stay home. They do count the people who don’t vote.

    *In addition to running a few times as a federal NDP candidate, organizing for the CPC-ML in the 70’s, he also abused my mother and abandoned his three sons.

  • **…sorry, I can’t write about him without the boilerplate.

  • redfraggle

    you can also officially refuse your ballot, That is counted by Elections Canada I believe.

  • redfraggle

    Oops nope, you can’t refuse a ballot on a federal election – only provincial. Lame.