It’s federal election day and promises to be a fairly tight race between the Liberals and new Conservatives (a.k.a. Reform/Alliance + Conservative rump), with the separatist Bloc Québecois making a strong showing in the province of Quebec. Many people are sick of the Liberals and intend to give the Conservatives a chance, forgetting that under their Conservative skin lurks the same old reactionary Alliance.
It’s a tough one, all right. The Liberals have their share of fat-cat scandals; but they’re not running on their record of several years of good fiscal management and balanced budgets after the Conservatives left them a huge financial mess last time. The former Prime Minister really overstayed his welcome and the new one is catching the flak. But the new leader, Paul Martin, has shown a distressingly mean spirit towards his own former opponents in the contest for succession within the party, and seems likely to reap the whirlwind.
Our riding has another choice: the leader of the New Democratic Party running against an incumbent Liberal. I’m not in favour of the root policies of the NDP about property but they are socially progressive and make a good protest vote. Many people vote for them as a bit of leavening. Last time around they got pasted as many people voted Liberal to make sure that the Alliance/Reform didn’t get in.
Note for Americans: The leader of the party with the most seats is automatically the Prime Minister. If the party changes leaders during its term in office, we have a new Prime Minister. We can never have a government with a leader opposed to the majority in Parliament.
I was going to vote in the morning and then go virtuously to my new contract, but the polls don’t open until 09:30 and they are open until 21:30, so I’ll go to the client’s now and join the extra-dense rush hour of people leaving work promptly to go home and vote.
On Sunday, I scoured my computer for pictures of my son’s late cat, Guinness, and sent them to him.