- Stephen Woodworth (CON)
- Strong educational background (practicing lawyer).
- Liberal candidate (1988), but hasn't otherwise run recently.
- Passable communication from website with press releases, though often focused on the party level. Local commentators have observed very little communication.
- Website has very little useful 'static' information. Focused almost exclusively as being a Conservative mouthpiece.
- Involvement in right-to-life groups.
- Karen Redman (LIB)
- Weak educational background (BA, a 'writer').
- Veteran of riding for 11 years, party whip, caucus member, leader of several private member's bills, and often involved in question period.
- Lack of online communication via her website or Facebook group. I got more info on her campaign from Woodworth's website!
- Passable static website information talking about her varied activities while holding her seat.
- Environmental issues, womans' issues, disability issues.
- Hefty religious involvement, but does not appear to play out in her political life.
- Oscar Cole-Arnal (NDP)
- Doctorate in European History! (my previous comments mocked his Masters in the New Testament, but when you add a pair of post-grad degrees on top of that, you've got my respect).
- Newcomer, replacing a better-known NDP candidate. Only been in Canada since 1975, and a citizen since 1986.
- Top communication by far. A blog, active Facebook group. Also lots of static information - I know exactly what his personal key issues are.
- Lots of support for 'redistribution of wealth'.
- Woman's issues, social justice. Meh.
- Regulation. Yay. Proportional representation. VERY yay! More transparency in Government, but in particular not negotiating trade deals in secret - with ACTA coming, this is absolutely essential.
- Extremely high level of religious involvement. Doesn't play out negatively like in the US, but one stil has to worry.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
- Inner envelope. Votes need to be private, after all, so they give you a small unmarked envelope that actually goes in the ballot box on election day.
- Outer envelope. Your vote needs to be private, but also unique. Name, riding, and various uniquely identifying marks clearly on the envelope, and a dotted line to sign saying that this is your one and only vote for the election. I might have spilled some Photoshop on it.
- Mailing envelope. Since your name and signature need to be private, right? Plus nice and addressed. But sorry, you have to pay your own postage.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
But it's not that easy. No sooner than I declare a grudging respect for one of the candidates in Kitchener Centre, that it's announced that every party except for the Liberal incumbant Karen Redman, has been swapped out!
Lets see who we have for candidates now.
- Stephen Woodworth (CON). Laurier grad, and a lawyer. Former Liberal candidate. Admittedly, not bad, except for being heavily involved in right-to-life and Christian advocacy groups.
- Karen Redman (LIB). BA English. Involved with disability and children's issues.
- Oscar Cole-Arnal (NDP). Masters in 'New Testament' (I can't make stuff like that up!). Issues mostly centre around civil rights.
- John Bithell (GRN). Not much mentioned. 'Studied' macroeconomics.
Except for the Green Party candidate, every single candidate has heavy religious involvement to the point where I can't expect them to really be advocates for... you know... actual important issues instead of faith-based initiatives or random useless hippie propaganda. Great. Way to ramp up the suck in my riding.
I'm getting a lot of people telling me "you should vote for the party, not the candidate." While I disagree with the assertion (your MP is meant to be your representative first and foremost), I already explained that it was just a backup plan because of the equal amount of suck thrown out by all the parties.
But just to satisfy people, lets see what we can find about the parties. We already know that there's no way we could ever trust the Conservatives. Apparently it's an opinion shared even by some provinces. So, vote Liberal or NDP? Well, unfortunately, not wanting to prove Harper's claims of ridiculous spending wrong, both parties are fighting to waste as much money as possible to give free rides to old people and parents to buy votes. Of course, they're also looking to offer some money to potentially useful things like city infrastructure and schools, but still, there's only so much money to go around, and it's pretty clear that the sort of spending they want to make is going to be off the charts!
The Greens and the Bloc seem to just be staying out of the way, and allowing the mutually-assured-epic-fail between the big boys to play out to their advantage. Great.
This is ridiculous. How am I supposed to vote when I'm being given these sort of choices?
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Yep, I can vote by mail, likely for the last time. After five years out of the country, Elections Canada will probably start questioning my extended absence from Canada, so by 2012, I may only be able to contribute through what meager influence I can make on other voters.
I'll probably vote in Kitchener Centre, as my last 'permanent' address. Unfortunately, it's an unfamiliar riding to me, since my last (counted) vote was Kitchener-Waterloo (I was eligible in 2006 in KC by mail, but the ballot didn't reach me). KW was easy, especially with the on-campus debates. The charismatic Liberal veteran versus the asshat Conservative, the NDP nooblet, and ridiculous Greeny. It was a pretty easy call.
In my latest riding; well we'll see who the candidates are. If voting by party, the Liberals get a massive 'meh', and I'm still waiting to see if the NDP can pull some excitement out of their ass. So really, it'll probably come down to candidates.
In terms of candidates, I'd probably support the NDP guy, Richard Walsh-Bowers. I appreciate his hefty professional and university academic backgrounds in clinical psychology - I believe higher education, especially in the sciences, can lead to a candidate better predisposed to critical thinking and objective analysis. Still, I haven't seen or read much on him, so we'll have to wait and see if he's persuasive, or if he supports any crackpot policies.
Karen Redman, the Liberal candidate... meh. She's the Liberal whip, and apparently fairly competent. But she lacks the powerhouse academics of Walsh-Bowers (BA English... fries with that?). The groups she's involved in seem like the polar opposite of anything I'd remotely care about - heavy church involvement, disabilities, dependent children, blah blah blah. She campaigns a lot for her riding's interests, which is great for her riding, but meaningless to me here in Seattle.
Even if I hadn't already summarily dismissed the Conservatives for their disregard of their own accountability platform, Steven Cage sounds like a pretty big asshat. Big MBA education and money job is his background (as a techie, I naturally distrust MBAs). Standard anti-Liberal rhetoric instead of an actual platform of his own... except for an aggressive opposition to gay marriage of course.
Oh, and a Communist Party candidate. Yarly! If that wasn't hilarious enough, he's a former truck driver on disability for stress and depression. What a winner!
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Still, this is a great opportunity to send the Tories packing.
"Why, Lownewulf? Why, if the Conservatives have done so well, would you send them home? They even gave us a 2% GST cut!" Sure, but in the end, for a Government whose campaign was centered around government ethics and accountability, they have shown a brazen disregard for their own accountability rules that make the Liberals look like saints in comparison (and given that the Liberals were largely booted out due to the sponsorship scandal, that says a lot!). They are so incredibly dishonest, and have shown such a callous disregard for accountability, that one cannot possibly trust them to lead for a second longer.
- The call for an election contradicts C-16, the law the Conservatives passed to mandate fixed election dates. They passed it specifically to prevent parties from calling elections for political advantage, which is exactly what Harper has just done.
- Despite campaigning around and ultimately passing enhanced accountability laws around election finacing, are trying to slot in an election before the issue of their in-and-out campaign financing is decided in the courts.
- After rolling out a policy of tabling any treaty before ratification legislation is introduced, has brought out bill C-61 without tabling the WIPO Internet treaties.
(As many of you probably remember, I think the new copyright bill is one of the biggest threats to Canadians in the 21st century!)
- Attempts to limit accountability and visibility by trying to control access to government activities by the press.
- Killing the CAIRS system, a key system used for access and mining of Access to Information Requests.
- Firing the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission over a disagreement on safety with the government.
The Liberals? Sure, they're the standard middle ground for Canadians - the Liberals are always a safe bet! But Dion is perhaps the least inspiring leader that Canadian politics has ever seen! I may have despised Paul Martin, but at least he was worth paying attention to. And seriously, a green focus? Why not copy a party that's actually successful rather than copying the Greens, who have never even held a seat! Seriously, it's like this party lost it's will after 2006, and is still floundering to find its purpose again.
The NDP? They were exciting during the 38th Parliament, but what have they done for us since then except whine in the background? Anyways, I'm not quite ready for a 80% tax rate to support every sad story on the planet.
Ironically, the Bloc is the sanest of the parties right now (assuming you ignore the whole soverignty thing :p). A socially liberal stance but with the sort of financial and political discipline that even the Conservatives should admire. Problem is, you can't vote for them since they only exist in Quebec - and even if you did, it's a mathematical impossibility for them to govern *.
[ * 308 seats, 75 of them in Quebec. Split the remainder evenly between Liberal, Conservative and NDP; each remaining party must have at least 77 seats, meaning Bloc can't govern without a formal coalition. ]
The Greens? Seriously? Come on. No.
Of course, there's always the local independent candidate. After all, they made all the difference during the 38th Parliament. But, is there a good one in YOUR riding, who will fight hard enough to make your vote count?
Some folks down here admired the fact that we could call an election now, and still have our results decided before the Americans chose their president. On the other hand, at least they have some decent candidates to choose from this time around.