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Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

9 Articles Tagged with “elections”

  1. How I'll get through this government

    I have discovered how I will get through the next six months. Or year. Or two years. However long it is until Stephen Harper tries to get a majority again. I will watch CBC comedy news shows.

    What would I ever do without The Rick Mercer Report or This Hour Has 22 Minutes?!

    For my American friends, The Rick Mercer Report is similar to The Colbert Report. Mercer does a lot less in-studio, however, and has more clips where he goes out and meets people, politicians((Yes, I am implying what you think I'm implying)), goes to schools, and gets naked.((Really. But I won't tell you any more than this, because now you'll waste half an hour searching the Internet to find out. Muwahahahaha!)) He has a regular photo challenge on his site where anyone can edit a photo he posts, and he'll put them up in his gallery.

    I don't know what the American equivalent of This Hour Has 22 Minutes is. You've got a cast of news anchors who know no boundaries in "reporting" current events. When I was younger, I grew up on Royal Canadian Air Farce; I didn't watch This Hour Has 22 Minutes much. However,…

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  2. The afterglow of my first election

    The polls are closed, and the votes are mostly tallied. Last month, Stephen Harper called an election; this month, he was re-elected with yet anohter minority government--a stronger minority, but still a minority. In the ensuing chaotic coverage, some interesting trends have emerged. The new hot issues are Liberal leadership, government functionality, voting reform, and voter turnout.

    The Liberals lost eighteen seats (at the time of this writing), which is a blow for them. Still the official opposition, yet weakened. Additionally, Dion declared in his concession speech that he would be willing to work with the Conservatives on the economic "crisis" that we're facing. While I commend Dion for extending the olive branch, two questions come to mind: does this mean the Conservatives will have a de facto majority? And will this matter at all in a week or two when the Liberals get a new leader? For indeed, if there was anything the majority of pundits agreed that Dion is done. My opinion of Dion improved during this campaign; however, that still doesn't mean he's a strong leader.

    The next question is: will this government be functional? Harper's cited reason for calling the last election was that government no…

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  3. This New Fangled Voting Thing

    OpenOffice.org 3.0 is out today, so while I was downloading the torrent, I remembered I had yet to watch Michael Moore's free film Slacker Uprising chronicling his campaign to get slackers to vote in the 2004 American presidential election.

    The film was interesting. Whatever you think of Michael Moore's position or techniques, he's certainly passionate about what he's doing. And democracy may not be the most perfect system of government, but it seems to be the best one we've tried so far. Democracy is all about getting the people to vote, and Michael Moore was encouraging people to vote. As Martha Stewart might say, "That's a good thing."

    Tomorrow is Election Day here in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older, you can vote. If you aren't sure how to do this, go to the Elections Canada website. If you can vote, you should vote. Even if you're going to vote Conservative (I'm not), I want you to go and vote. We live in a democracy; it is your duty as a citizen to participate in the democratic process by voting for your representative in the next government.

    You don't need…

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  4. My experience at a local debate

    This morning I went to a debate for the candidates of Thunder Bay-Superior North (my riding). The debate was hosted by LUSU, so naturally most of it was focused on how the candidates can help students. There were plenty of questions about student loans and debts, jobs after graduation, taxes, etc. I used the debate as an opportunity to actually familiarize myself with the candidates, one of whom will represent me in Ottawa by the end of this election.

    The four candidates were Brendan Hughes (Green), Bruce Hyer (NDP), Don McArthur (Liberals), and Bev Sarafin (Conservatives). Naturally I'm biased toward the left, and this presents me with the question: if I think the Green Party or the NDP would do a better job than the Liberals, should I vote for one of those candidates instead of voting for the Liberal candidate, thus splitting the Liberal votes and enabling the Conservative to get elected?

    Watching the candidates speak, I was able to get a sense of how they'd do in the House of Commons, as well as their stance on the issues. All were articulate; all tried to emphasize their personal connection to the region and their commitment…

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  5. Ack, I'm an elitist anglophone snob

    So I was going to write this entry in French, but I discovered along the way that I've forgotten my simple past tense. This disturbs me.

    I took French from grade 1 until grade 11 in school (this was before the provincial government postponed mandatory French until grade 4). It's only compulsory until grade 9, but I liked my teachers, and the courses were interesting and academic. Plus, being able to speak another language is a plus. Except I can't really speak it now, can I?

    Part of me thinks I don't have an ear for languages. I excelled at reading and writing French. However, even at the height of my proficiency, I was never too hot at pronunciation or comprehension of spoken French. Nevertheless, I feel bad that I live in a bilingual country yet I only speak English. There's this whole other culture that's an integral part of my country's history and current events, yet I ignore it. I feel like an elitist anglophone snob!

    This week's episode of Spark includes a segment about the French-English digital divide. That's what got me thinking about this, although it was also tonight's French-language debate amongst the federal party leaders.…

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  6. My Digital Wish List

    CBC radio show Spark wants to know what Canada needs to do today to become a major innovator tomorrow. This is an important issue with the election looming. In addition to interviewing technology experts, the Spark blog has asked listeners to submit their own "Digital Wish Lists". Here's mine:

    • Establishment of a Minister of Technology. I agree with Mitch Kapoor. We have a Minister of Health, a Minister of Industry--why not someone in charge of the country's technological infrastructure?
    • Better copyright reform. Bill C-61 has demonstrated that many Canadians care about copyright reform. Even if one is in favour of the copyright protection measures outlined in Bill C-61 (I am not), critics have pointed out numerous flaws that make Bill C-61 a poor piece of legislation. I want our government to have open consultation with the public to craft viable, enforceable copyright legislation that balances intellectual property ownership with the need for access to information.
    • More competition in the telecommunications sector. I am not a capitalist, but a lack of competition does mean that consumers have less choice. Here in Thunder Bay, we have one choice for cable TV service: Shaw. Until recently, only local TBayTel provided home phone

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  7. Our pointy-haired economy

    Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, recently released the results of a survey of economists that he commissioned. You can read the results yourself; those of you who are economically-inclined may want to view the available slideshow (lots of tasty graphs and percentages). Adams has also posted his opinion on the results of the survey.

    I've been reading Scott Adams' blog since its inception on TypePad. I enjoy his wit and his unique perspective on both mainstream and esoteric issues. Much of what he says is designed to get a rise out of people and provoke them into calling him a stupid lemon-eater. Some of his favourite subjects include intelligent design, the workplace, environmentalism, and of course, politics and the economy. I was not surprised to hear that he had commissioned a survey; it's just the sort of thing he would do.

    So how about those results? Lots of Democrat econimists--it must be biased? Well, I love math, but statistics are not my favourite type of math. I'm in the camp of people who thinks the survey is an inconclusive indicator of which candidate would be best. I doubt that either of the candidates truly has a…

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  8. Election-bound

    It's official. Prime Minister Harper met with Governor General Michaëlle Jean today, and she dissolved Parliament, triggering an election. Canadians will vote on October 14.

    The American election machine has been rumbling away for the better part of a year now, and we have called and will be finished our federal election before the Americans even get to vote. :D I love Canada's electoral system.

    What I don't love is the lack of any charismatic leaders and the lack of any compelling candidates in my riding. The Conservatives have already begun airing these obnoxious ads that consist of Harper sitting in a chair, wearing a vest--very "casual" indeed--and talking about how he enjoys being a father, how he is proud of Canada as a country, and how he wants Canada to have a greater role on the world stage. The tagline of the commercials is: "We're better off with Harper." I, for one, find this tagline hilarious.

    The CBC has spent most of the day focusing on voters' response to the election call: are we ready for the election? The response has been mixed. Many people have expressed disapproval, since Harper was a proponent of the fixed election date law…

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  9. I'll be voting for the first time, and I will not be voting for Stephen Harper

    An election looms in my own fine country even as the Americans battle it out for who gets to inherit the Bush legacy. Two and a half years ago, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives inherited the scandal-ridden legacy of over a decade of Liberal government. As usual, getting elected is easier than actually running the country and making effective decisions that improve the lives of its citizens--Harper hasn't been doing either of these things very well. He blames his inability to perform on his partners in Parliament, our three opposition leaders. They maintain that he refuses to compromise, doesn't put the toilet seat down, and until he decides to cooperate, they're moving out and going to live with their mothers.

    Er ... anyway, now that we have fixed four-year election dates, the next election would theoretically be in October 2009. However, the Prime Minister still has the right to go to the Governor General and ask her to dissolve Parliament if he believes the government can no longer function effectively. Harper has been rattling just that particular sabre lately, and an election looks increasingly likely. He has met with all three opposition leaders now, but I doubt that any of…

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