Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Election Update

I was up waaaay too late watching the election returns.  (It's so tempting to call in sick...)  I always get more than a little nervous how the media calls elections, or really individual races with fewer than half of the polling stations in.  Nonetheless, the called results seemed to be accurate, and the Liberals pulled off an incredible victory.  I don't think anyone, even the Liberals, truly thought they would win a majority.  I actually think it would have been better had the Liberals won 160 seats and needed some help from the NDP.  I think getting electoral reform would have been easier in that scenario.  But hopefully Trudeau will live up to his promises to do some kind of electoral reform.  I also hope he will be gracious in victory to Elizabeth May (they seem to get along pretty well) and the NDP.  (However, I am not sure how long Mulcair will stick around as party leader.)

There is a short story in Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Small Town that seems quite relevant.  In the story, pretty much all the voters in the small town wait until it is clear who is going to win an election and then they all rush in to vote, so as to be on the winning side.  I think there was definitely some of that here.  There were a significant number of undecided voters who were ABC (Anybody But Conservatives) and they were petrified on the vote splitting issue.  When the last two or three respectable polls showed that the Liberals were consistently outperforming the NDP, they went Liberal en masse.  So Trudeau definitely picked up a lot of voters who would normally be NDP.  And yet, even with this push and the huge win (gaining over 100 seats for 184!) the Liberals still collectively got just under 40% of the vote.  This is a pretty shameful outcome of FPTP elections in a multi-party system.  I could write a lot more about the difficulty of getting truly fair electoral system (look up Kenneth Arrow and his impossibility theorem for details), but this is definitely an electoral system that needs to be improved.  Whether Trudeau will follow through with this, or any number of other promises remains to be seen.  I'll be thinking positive for the time being.

While I don't really have a lot of time, I had the strangest dream last night.  I had been elected as a representative (perhaps even as a MPP), which I thought was odd, given that I didn't remember taking the Canadian citizenship oath!  Anyway, all the MPPs stayed in this large house in Ottawa, a lot like a frat.  After a reshuffling (or another election, it wasn't clear which), I was going to be moved up into the room with the more important leaders.  Unfortunately, this was a particularly crowded room, mostly filled with bunk beds whereas I had been in a slightly more open room before.  (Looking over the huge number of folks Harper had stuffed in his cabinet, I guess this is relatively true to life!)  What made this particularly challenging was that I had the kids with me, so I was going to have to negotiate to get an entire bunk bed to myself.  I agreed to take on some tedious task, like typing up all the bylaws, to get enough "credit" to make a play for enough space for the family.  This actually has some comic potential, so I'll have to decide if I want to actually write a sketch along these lines.  And with that, I really do have to get going.

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