#elxn42: fear, frustration, disbelief, and hope

Although I haven't been blogging much (or at all) about the upcoming Canadian federal election, I've been thoroughly and utterly obsessed by it for months. These last weeks have brought an almost intolerable level of suspense and frustration. I've been expressing that on Facebook, rather than here on wmtc - small bursts of agony, links to share, commiseration. Seesawing emotions, trying to keep hope alive and despair at bay.

If seat projections are to be believed, only a month ago, the New Democratic Party was mopping the floor with blue and red. We would see Canada's first NDP government. It might even be a majority! The Harper Conservatives would limp in at dead last.

Fast-forward to last week, and - again, if polls are to be belived - the NDP has lost a huge chunk of seats, to the gain of both the Conservatives and Liberals.

The generally accepted explanation for this is Stephen Harper's disgusting anti-niqab campaign. Supposedly Harper waved Islamophobia, racism, and xenophobia in the face of Canadian voters, and they ran screaming away from the NDP into the arms of the tried-and-true blue team. Orange crush turned into orange crash.

I simply don't believe it.

I don't believe this niqab nonissue resonated so strongly with so many Canadians that they would actually change their voting preference. I believe that most Canadian voters understand that a woman covering her face during a citizenship ceremony, as she does daily, is not actually an election issue.

So: are the polls to be believed?

Many sources point out that polling is based on an antiquated model. Pollsters call landlines, which already selects a demographic. Caller ID narrows it down even further. So polling information is gleaned from people with landlines who are willing to answer their phones and willing to answer questions. Online polls are basically useless.

Making it even crazier, many voters are (supposedly) influenced by these polls. People are willing to vote NDP if it looks like the NDP can win. So-called strategic voters obsess on voting Liberal, as if they can predict what everyone else is going to do.

This excellent editorial in The Hill Times suspects the Canadian electorate is insane, and incapable of imagining what real change would look like.
A wise man once defined insanity as the act of “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Being that our political pendulum seems to be swinging back toward old faithful (the Libservatives) I’m going to go ahead and suggest the Canadian electorate start facing some cold, hard facts. Namely, that our country may very well be insane.

As much as we liken ourselves a wiser and broader-minded breed than our neighbours down south, Canada has been oscillating back and forth, back and forth, between two primary governing parties since 1867. Just two.

And though these two parties like to think of themselves as different as night and day, in many ways, they’re one in the same. Don’t believe me? Indulge me for a moment...
Are the polls and seat projections wrong? Are they wrong on purpose? If you noted the media meltdown after Jeremy Corbyn was elected Leader of the Labour Party in the UK, it's not out of the question. Tom Mulcair is no Jeremy Corbyn, but an NDP government would be a herald of change, of people pushing back the corporate hegemony. Why would the corporate media want that?

Was the NDP majority government in Alberta - can you believe I just typed that?! - predicted? Was the 2011 Conservative majority predicted? Was the first NDP Official Opposition predicted? I find a lot of conflicting answers to these questions.

I have some problems with Tom Mulcair. I don't agree with absolutely everything he says. But if he will deliver on promises, if he will take us in the direction of the NDP platform, we may just see "the Canada of our dreams".

Some good stuff:

Globe and Mail editorial: The niqab is a distraction. Voters should focus on real issues.

Chatelaine: I'm Muslim and I'm sick of hearing about the niqab

The Common Sense Canadian: Niqab defence might cost Trudeau and Mulcair, but they're right

Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal: Don't like the niqab? Don't wear one.

The Sun (The Sun!!): NDP popularity a sign of voters' optimism

The Beaverton (Canada's answer to The Onion): Unemployed Canadians so happy to see politicians addressing the niqab again

John Cruickshank, publisher of the Toronto Star (a must-read): The niqab crisis: by the numbers

Don't-Be-A-Fucking-Idiot.ca, Created By A Human Being Who Gives A Shit: A SWEARY

And finally, VOTE THAT FUCKER OUT!!, definitely NSFW.

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