Hard at work

There are a ridiculous number of people in this office right now, each of whom have a ridiculous amount of electronic equipment in front of them, and up until yesterday it was warm and sunny (or so I heard). So it was rather too warm in here, and the AC was cranked. Except that first thing in the morning and late at night, when there are fewer people, it was rather too cold. One of those problems was solved yesterday, however, when the AC stopped working entirely due to having been run at max for too long. The heat regulation and electricity bills should improve once the green roof gets planted – workers keep climbing through holes in the ceiling preparing the dirt or whatever, although apparently the “insurance policy” forbids us to go up and see it. The press secretaries had to be reminded not to spin the roof in interviews, though, until it’s actually in place, in case someone runs a photo showing the uninspiring brown dirt up there now.

Speaking of which, there are several people in this office whose job descriptions include talking to the press, often as part of panels debating people representing the other parties, and you would expect them to have the gift of gab, and be rather chatty in the office, and you’d be right.

Former CAW head Buzz Hargrove was just on TV, saying that like in 2006 he’s calling on his 265,000 members to vote for whoever is best situated to defeat the Conservatives in their ridings, despite his preference for the NDP. Last time polls showed that this cost the NDP votes even in ridings held by incumbents, because Canadians by and large do not understand how to vote strategically (which isn’t really their fault; we have a pretty stupid system). Please, people, tell your friends: don’t try to vote strategically without doing some basic research on your riding first!

This morning I was tasked with acting as filler in a cheering crowd listening to Jack Layton start his campaign, about an hour after Harper quit his job. Both Harper and Layton poll as much more popular than their party, so expect their TV ads to basically focus on them, unlike the Liberals. Here’s Layton’s ad, in which he says, “I’m Jack Layton, and I kick ass”. Compare this to Harper’s ad, an attempt to win over the people who still find him scary, in which you hear him say, in effect, “I’m Stephen Harper, and I don’t eat kittens”. Calgary Grit gave Harper a higher rating, on the grounds that, like diving at the Olympics, you have to take into account the greater difficulty of making Harper appear like a decent human being. I’m interested to see what the Liberals come up with – as the G&M put it, the Conservative-Liberal battle is basically one of the man vs. the brand, and so far the man is doing much better. If the discourse continues to focus on leaders as individuals, and the 65% or so of people who say they don’t like Harper find Dion equally unconvincing, the NDP could do quite well indeed.