Monday, October 29, 2007

Saskatchewn election Chapter 2

The Saskatchewan election, 2007, got more interesting when an actual candidate rang my doorbell on Saturday. It was Ron Blocka, running for the NDP, and he gave me his card and asked if I had any questions. I said, “Not really, I’ll check your platform on your website,” and speeded him on his way, assuring him that he had my vote, and, of course, that was really all he wanted to know. In provincial elections, the NDP is my default position, unless strategic voting makes sense, which it seldom does. I live in a rural riding, and rural Saskatchewan tends to be Conservative on election day. I counted ballots in the rural poll in the last federal election and the proportion of the votes was roughly 20 to 7 to 4 (Conservative, NDP, Liberal). Voting Liberal or Green or NDP here reminds one of that old saw: It appears to be the right time for a futile gesture!

Agnes and I will do the hospital poll, which means we’ll sit in the nurses’ room for five hours and accommodate maybe 5 people who would be unable to exercise their franchises without us. Fortunately, I have a few good books on the go right now, one being Where War Lives by photojournalist, Paul Watson. I’ll review that on the other blog ( in a few days.

Last time we did the hospital poll, I came to the conclusion that democracy is a very clumsy, costly and time-wasting affair, what with enumeration school, enumeration, deputy returning officers’ and poll clerks’ school, and then, of course, the election day itself, when numerous people have to be hired again to man the many polls in the province. There are reasons for all the paper work, obviously, most of which have to do with protecting the integrity of the electors’ choice. I can’t argue with that, but I mean to come up with a new system that doesn’t require so much bureaucracy, and if you have any ideas, I’d like to hear them.

A Colombian-Canadian Rosthernite told me the other day that in Colombia, every voter has a card that entitles him/her to vote, and that the card is punched when voting, an act that is mandatory. If you are later asked to show your card and it’s not punched, you are subject to penalty: a fine, I think.

It’s interesting that Ontario’s electorate turned down the idea of a proportional representation electoral process. I doubt that they understood it. It’s not easy to explain in a few minutes, but I believe its time has already come and gone, and still we cling to the archaic old British system as if it were the very definition of democracy.

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, the parties seemed to have shelved the notion that the actual legislation and governance of the country’s affairs is what they’re there for, and the jockeying to determine the most propitious date for another election seems to be uppermost on everyone’s mind. Don’t they ever feel just a little bit silly when they ponder what they’re doing?

I can hardly wait for the leaders’ debate tomorrow at 6:30 on CBC Saskatchewan. Brad Wall against Lorne Calvert with David Karwacki trying really hard to be more than a fifth wheel (third wheel?). Mostly these debates turn out to be almost too embarrassing to watch, with three men spouting platitudes and hurling asinine accusations at each other simultaneously. I hope they regulate the spectacle better than they have in the past.

I have to watch them, though. I think it’s akin to picking at a scab, or running to see a fire. I can’t help myself.

Here’s my prediction of the outcome: Saskatchewan Party 35, NDP 22, Liberal 1.

(P.S. Let me revise that slightly since the Saskatchewan Party has had to fire one of its candidates after the nomination deadline for uttering slurs against certain races, women and others: SP 34, NDP 23, Lib. 1)

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