Exciting times. The Conservatives pulled a candidate because he’s under investigation for attempted smuggling of a Benz & a large quantity of booze from the US, and the Liberals pulled one after the NDP candidate in the riding accused him of trying to bribe him into not running. The NDP’s doing quite well in several areas, including BC and Toronto. Layton spoke at a huge Toronto rally today and will be on Much on Monday. And the Liberals have this photo of a Montréal rally on their web site — do those people look confident or happy to you? They must have better photos, so I can only assume the Liberal’s communications staff are feeling as tired and defeated as their candidates. Maybe it’s all those late nights spent polishing their CV’s.
Meanwhile, the Think Twice Coalition, which includes people like Maude Barlow (of the Council of Canadians) and Buzz Hargrove (of the Canadian Auto Workers), is going around trying to scare NDP supporters into strategic voting for the Liberals in ridings where the NDP are a distant third. The biggest problem with this is that most people who want to vote strategically, do so based on national polling numbers, and end up doing exactly the opposite of what they intended. This drives me nuts! To quote Pfloide’s recent post: “You give them democracy, and look what they do with it.” If only we had proportional representation here, so that people wouldn’t feel compelled to act like complete idiots…
Also yesterday, David Suzuki told a reporter that he was disappointed that we weren’t committing to spending more money on the environment in our platform. Actually, we are — it’s the single largest line item of new funding commitments, and none of the other parties have anything similar at all. Hopefully he’ll issue a retraction, but some damage has already been done. This is typical of the experience of the NDP. Some advocacy group or other says something damaging, and often unfounded, and we lose votes from our core supporters. I think this is because most of the Left comes from a social justice background, with lots of experience in criticizing others, and much of the Right comes from a capitalist business background, with lots of experience in accomplishing goals even when it means ignoring your principals, at least in the short term. This means the Conservative’s supporters are much better at staying On Message™, and not undermining their party’s support. I noticed a similar trend in the last US election, when the Right got behind the Republicans despite not agreeing with them about everything, and the Left didn’t all vote for the Democrats because of all their shortcomings. (I’m not faulting anyone who did so, or saying I would have done differently. I’m just pointing it out.) It’s hard for the NDP to run a tight campaign on a strategic level, and unfortunately, that makes a huge difference. I mean, I see it as surmountable, but it’s definitely an issue.
Just nine more days of this. It’s illegal to “campaign” on election day (or serve booze while polling stations are open — did you know that?), and this is interpreted to mean that our web server can stay up, but we can’t post any new content. So we won’t be here, unless we have server problems. Our hardware is already pretty heavily loaded — we had almost two million hits the day we launched the platform, for example — and we’re trying to get ready for the expected deluge on the 23rd. Wish us luck! And don’t forget to vote.
Update: the image I mentioned above was deleted from the Liberal site. I kept a copy just in case, however, and the link above goes there now.