Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Merci Paul, and now the work begins

Back to blogging after a long but satisfyingly non-partisan day yesterday as a poll clerk for Elections Canada. Turnout was fairly steady all day, although a bit low after a strong advance turnout. Still, it was great to see lots of young people and new Canadians voting for the first time, and it felt good to be part of the democratic process.

After we finished our count and assorted paperwork it was home to see the results. Overall, I'm happy. The Conservatives were held to a minority, and a smaller one than the Liberals had before, so this can't be interpreted as a mandate for major change. All the parties are going to have to work together to find common ground, and that can only be good for Canada.

I think Canadians have put PM-designate Stephen Harper on a short leash; they're giving him a chance to show he's not as scary as Liberal commercials would have you believe. For myself, I wish him well and congratulate him on a hard-fought, well-run campaign.

I was a little surprised at the strong Liberal showing. I think it sends the message "we're pissed at you but we don't hate you, so get your act together." When I saw that we had cleared 100 seats I was concerned The Board would convince Paul Martin to stay on. As I watched his speech, praying for a resignation, I began to sense it was coming by his comments and the look on Sheila's face, and I let out a cheer when he made it official that I usually reserve for Canuck goals.

I lost my patience with the Martinites long ago, and Paul himself more recently, but I was pleased to see he is ending his political career in a classy way. I'll write more on his legacy and the civil war later, but I think this was the right way to cap to put on a political career that, while more recently has had its downs, had quite a few ups as well.

Now the leadership race begins, but that's a discussion that can begin tomorrow.

Ridings of interest to me, mainly BC

I was happy to see my old MP, Conservative John Duncan, go down in Vancouver Island North in a squeaker at the hands of the NDP's Catherine Bell. John was a do-nothing MP and will not be missed, and while I'd rather see a Liberal in there the odds of that happening any time soon are, to say the least, slim, so I wish Catherine well.

The Liberals actually did very well in BC, although I still hope the LPCBC crowd is swept-out along with the rest of the arrogant Martinites. With nine MPs though (up one) it's a very good showing for Team BC, coming a close second in a number of other races.

I predicted Victoria as a loss long ago, but I was really happy to see Keith Martin hold in Esquimalt. I had the pleasure of meeting Keith awhile back and he's a hard worker and a class act. Blair Wilson has been working like a dog since he almost knocked-off John Reynolds in 2004, so it was great to see him take West Vancouver-yada yada, as it was to see Don Bell hold North Vancouver.

Hedy Fry was running against Svend Robinson and had a strong victory. It's nice to see Gurmant Grewal's riding fall into the Liberal column and I was hopeful that Brenda Locke could knock off Nina, but it seems she ran a strong campaign that fell just short.

Outside of BC quick hits

Thumbs up

Michael Ignatieff wins (he's not a future leader, but it pisses-off the player haters)

Belinda Stronach wins (proved the pundits wrong)

Scott Brison wins (just because the Connies hate him so)

Pierre Pettigrew lost (he won't be missed)

Andy Scott wins (another classy guy that always manages to pull out a win)

Thumbs down

Jean Lapierre wins (take Paul's hint and leave, and be quiet in the mean time)

Olivia Chow wins (not that I like Tony Ianno, but I don't care for her either for some reason)

Garth Turner wins (the guy just seems like a dick)

So-con Liberals win (if we had to loose seats, I wish it could have been theirs)

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