Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Signs of the times

With just one week to go before the Canadian general election, Vancouver lawns are bearing fresh crops of political signs. My ride to work is flanked with splashes of red, blue*, orange, and occasionally green. One house down our street even has Liberal, NDP and Conservative signs, side by side on the front lawn, which I don't understand. Not even one little bit, unless it's intended as a joke.

But then again I've never really seen the point of having even one sign on your property. Are people really influenced by indicators of how their neighbours are voting? Might it sway them into voting tactically, say if they get scared by the number of Conservative party signs?



Every time I see one of these things, I think about how easy it would be to turn the text into "Salmon RAPER". One good brush full each of white and of blue paint... Just sayin'. (I absolutely do not condone acts of rebellion against the fascists vandalism. Besides, I'm too scared to break the law before I get citizenship).

Looks like someone else had no such qualms...

But aren't the parties who are doing the worst in the polls going to be the most aggressive about putting signs in their supporters' gardens? That certainly seems to be the case in my riding, where those nasty blue signs are everywhere but the Conservatives are apparently a distant third in the polls behind the NDP and Liberals, and might even finish behind the Greens.

What really doesn't make sense is the house I pass every day that has an Obama-Biden sign in the window. Dude, this is Canada, FFS.

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*Note to American readers: in Canada, the UK, and every other country that I can think of except for the US, the left wing party uses red and the right wing party uses blue. If anyone knows the history behind the decision to use the opposite colour scheme in the US, please let me know! It's something that bugs me and no-one seems to know the answer...

13 comments:

  1. Well, interestingly my wife and I noticed a few days ago, driving back home, that in our neighborhood, where in 2006 plenty of NDP signs could be seen, there is hardly any this time around... who knows, maybe people are finally beginning to get how the electoral system works...

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  2. It looks like the whole red/blue thing in the US was a very recent accident or sorts. Read here.

    It really doesn't make sense since even in the US, red has also historically stood for communism, but whatevs. Actually it's a good thing that the Dems managed to get blue by this accident. If we were red, the Repubs would probably use the red/communist association to their advantage, and refer to Democratic health care schemes as our communist agenda.

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  3. Cath: Don't you think that just ecause there is a third place for Conservatists they are more aggressvily promoting. Like saying "come on you people, we are so many that it is good to vote for us so we get the elctoral vote".

    I've always thought that was the worst thing with the "winner takes it all". The kind of "tactic" voting that people can do "there is no point to vote for number three (NDP) so I'll vote for the second one since I really don't liike the first one". But if all voted for "# 3" maybe they'd be number one?!

    (sorry for the somewhat tangled argument. only one cup of coffee and a trip back into poli sci 101 at UBC.... )

    and I wouldn't even dream of doing anyything that can be thought as illeagal here on a visa in the US ;) I'm sure they'd kick me out with no qualms at all...

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  4. and all the spelling errors make me blush. I am sorry.

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  5. he kind of "tactic" voting that people can do "there is no point to vote for number three (NDP) so I'll vote for the second one since I really don't liike the first one". But if all voted for "# 3" maybe they'd be number one?!

    Yeah sure.... that's how you wake up one day with GWB for president. It's gonna be the eight years from hell, but, hey, at least you did not compromise your ideals and proudly gave your vote to Nader... I mean, dreaming is great and everything, but life is too short, and the damage that an administration can do is ... well, big.

    The Liberals and the NDP can compromise and work together. They were doing it two years ago, and things were going well (I thought). The thing to do would be to establish an electoral alliance and avoid fielding two candidates, thereby cannibalizing each other's votes in ridings like mine, where the conservative candidate gets elected with 35% of the vote.
    The ensuing coalition could govern the country with the crucial support of all the members only, which would give all of them some decisional weight (as opposed to having some thirty odds elected delegates who are ignored through the entire term...)

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  6. The liberals and NDP COULD team up, but they do have different policies, and that's why there's two different parties. I mean,they could combine with the conservatives too and have one big party that we wouldn't even have to bother voting for. I don't believe in a lot of the liberals ideals, so I'm glad that there's a party that represents me more fully.

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  7. Ruchi, thanks for that! I was looking at pages of the parties' histories but didn't think to search for red state-blue state. You're right, red might be an unfortunate correlation in the current race!

    Chall, that's what I'm hoping... and don't worry about the spelling errors, they can't kick you out of the country for that! I am soooo nervous of being caught doing ANYTHING wrong, like the time my friends had a bonfire on a city beach and I made them all promise that if the police came they'd all say that I told them not to light the fire!!

    Okham, are you gonna throw something at your TV if the Conservatives win in your riding?! I think a formal pre-election coalition of the kind you're talking about is unlikely, but it does seem that more people are talking about tactical voting this time around. And once the votes are counted then I'm sure the libs and NDP will work together if a coalition would beat the Tories.

    Corey, expect rebuttal from Okham in 3..2..1..

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  8. Corey, expect rebuttal from Okham in 3..2..1..

    Yeah yeah, Cath, I know, I know, I am soooo predictable... but I am not going to throw anything at my big screen TV -- I gotta watch those games, you see ?

    Corey, I appreciate your point but, just to clarify: I never said that any two parties should merge -- to me, the more, the better a democracy.
    I simply suggested that, in a winner-take-all system, because no party in Canada currently represents 51% of the population, it would be preferable to have a coalition between parties which share at least some of the basic ideals, rather than hand to one party a majority (especially the conservatives).

    Sure, in the ideal world the NDP would get 51% of the votes, but, is it likely to happen ? And, how much influence can ten more NDP representatives have on a House in which the Tories have an absolute majority ? I think in this situation the "lesser of the two evils" is unfortunately the name of the game... of course, if a legislative coalition implemented some serious electoral reform, things would change.

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  9. Never mind that, did you get the email about the Rogers fantasy hockey games? I think the last one looks the best ("Pick'em style"). I'm in if you're in!

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  10. I did not get that... but I am boycotting Rogers anyway... you know, the iPhone fiasco and all...

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  11. Did you see This Hour Has 22 Minutes last night? If not, you NEED to see this!

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  12. well, the left vs. right medoes not mean liberal vs conservative in all countries either. In some it means conservative vs liberal. So the confusion continues.

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  13. Yes,and while the federal Liberals are (slightly) left of centre, the BC Provincial Liberal party is right wing!

    Cue me going "is this going to be on the test?"

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