Election Day

The polls in Canada are open, but there is a ban on the media reporting any results until they close in the Yukon and British Columbia: eight time zones away. By the time that happens, at 3:00am tonight, I should already be asleep, with a superb essay for Dr. Hurrell printed and consigned to a neatly labeled envelope.

In short, I am looking for any interesting information from people back home: electoral predictions, observations, celebrations, lamentations – whatever you care to share.

The only personal message that I want to send to people in Canada is to take the trouble to get out and vote. This applies especially to friends of mine. While I know that most of you are going to vote anyhow, it’s worth remembering that the turnout among young voters is just abysmal. Regardless of the outcome, this election is going to change the course of Canadian politics. As such, it seems like a basic democratic responsibility to contribute.

[Update: 6:37pm GMT] As a Canadian citizen running a blog from outside Canada that isn’t hosted inside Canada, I am pretty sure I can report whatever I want – regardless of media blackout laws. While I don’t have any early polling results on hand, here is my personal electoral prediction:

Liberal: 94-96
Conservative: 125-128
New Democrat: 28-33
Bloc: 53-57
Independent: 1

The total number of seats in the House of Commons is 308, so a majority would be 154.

[Update 11:36pm GMT] As I understand the closing of polls and the time zones:

Polls in Newfoundland close in fifteen minutes.
Polls in Atlantic Canada close in just under an hour.
Polls in Ontario and Quebec close in three hours.
Polls in British Columbia close in three and a half hours.
Exciting stuff, but no results yet.

[Update 12:23am GMT] Regardless of your political stance, this is an exciting night. The Liberals have been in power since I was ten years old: more than half of my life. All signs indicate that Canada will have a new Prime Minister tomorrow. What’s this going to mean? It’s a question that feels much more pressing than that of whether world war one confirmed or refuted liberal theory: the topic of tomorrow morning’s seminar.

[Update 12:47am GMT] For the moment, at least, it seems that both ProAlberta and Captain’s Quarters (blogs that had declared an intention to publish polling results as they come in) have been overwhelmed by the number of people attempting to access them.

This probably marks the high point in worldwide interest in Newfoundland for at least the last couple of years.

[Update: 2:06am GMT] People have been posting numbers in the comments which, as I understand it, is fine as long as you’re outside Canada. I haven’t seen any numbers myself that I have any reason to believe are credible. In less than an hour, the real numbers will be released by the CBC. Personally, I will be waiting for definitive coverage.

It also seems that Radio Canada International is, intentionally or not, already streaming polling information. It’s only available in RealPlayer or Windows Media format, so I cannot listen. Since the real results will be coming up soon, there really isn’t much point.

[Final Update: 2:21am] The best numbers I can see are up at The Surly Beaver, which is running from London. If you don’t want to wait 39 more minutes for CBC results, scoot that way.

[Super Final Update: 3:02am GMT] The CBC numbers are up. Here are the preliminary figures: Elected, (Leading), Vote share

Conservatives: 12, (75), 34.99%
Liberals: 18, (52), 38.31%
Bloc: 1, (28), 1.55%
NDP: 3, (20), 22.00%

It felt really good to be part of the media for a while, but I am happy to let the pros take over now.

45 thoughts on “Election Day”

  1. Is it even possible to violate the Canada Elections Act from outside Canada? As I am not presently under the jurisdiction of Canadian law, it’s difficult to believe that a Canadian statute applies to me.

    At the same time, it would be illegal for me to use a huge catapult to fling drugs across the Canadian border from the United States – I think – even though I wouldn’t be under the jurisdiction of Canadian law.

    I really don’t know very much about how these sorts of international laws work. Does anyone have any insights?

  2. The UBC Election Stock Market, as of 08:06 PST, predicts the following outcome:

    Liberal: 96
    Conservative: 125
    New Democrat: 33
    Bloc: 53
    Independent: 1

  3. For people at UBC, there is an event happening tonight that may interest you:

    Monday, January 23
    Multipurpose Room, Liu Institute
    6476 N.W. Marine Drive, Main Floor

    Pizza and soft drinks will be provided.

    Come have a look and a slice of pizza.

  4. Apparently, if you weren’t a Canadian citizen, you wouldn’t be allowed to write anything that would influence voters:

    Few things could be more tedious at this point than embarking on a jurisdictional debate about the Act, but I will point to Section 331, patriotically titled “Non-interference by Foreigners”:

    No person who does not reside in Canada shall, during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate unless the person is

    (a) a Canadian citizen; or

    (b) a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

    Take that, Osama!


  5. Here in Vancouver it’s not even 11am yet, so polls have been open for 4 hours, but I suspect not many people have voted yet. On the other hand, I have already seen bunches of volunteers from all of the major walking down Commercial Drive, knocking on doors, etc. I have already been contacted by my local candidate’s office 3 times to remind me to vote and ask if I need transportation to the polling station 1/2 a block away. Seems everyone is keen to mobilize as many voters as possible.

  6. Sasha,

    I am glad to hear that turnout should be high. Even when the outcome isn’t what you might like personally, it seems more legitimate when more of your fellow citizens have selected it.

    Also, I am pretty sure parties like the Greens get somewhere in the vicinity of $1.75 in federal funding for every vote they receive.

  7. The question now is: “What will the coalition be?”

    The Bloc Quebecois has already cast its lot with the Conservatives and is widely expected to form a government with the Tories if Harper can’t win a majority in the new Commons. That has actually been the expectation all along; only in the final days of the election has the possibility of a majority win appeared within reach.

  8. It is simply absurd that the Bloc will get about twice as many seats as the NDP, based on a smaller share of the popular vote.

    First, that keeps the ridiculous edifice of seperatism alive at a time when most of Quebec has moved on.

    Second, this effectively means that we will never be able to break into a proportional represenation system. In Canada, if Quebec won’t go along with such a change, there’s just no chance of it happening.

  9. One thing I notice: whenever an election starts to go the wrong way for a group of people, they start talking about electoral reform.

    Canada choosing the Conservatives this time isn’t the consequence of problems in the electoral system: it’s the consequence of problems in the outgoing Liberal government.

  10. The thing that saddens me most about first past the post is the utter marginalization of the Green Party that results.

    The Greens get about 5% support in Canada, even when people know that a Green vote is hopeless. Having even a few Green MPs in Parliament would liven debate and help Canadian democracy.

    Indeed, in a country like Canada – rich in natural resources – it only seems natural that the Greens should have at least a position from which to effectively critique the government.

  11. About the sites that are speaking in code to circumvent the media blackout:

    Does “The early pages of Anne of Green Gables indicate that three quarters of the roads in PEI are red” mean that the time has come to launch our socialist invasion of the United States?

    I got the quote from here.

  12. Mentioned above, though not in detail, the UBC Election Stock Market is quite an interesting idea.

    They claim: “Based on the results from markets for several federal and provincial elections in Canada, the markets deliver predictions of popular vote shares that are often more accurate than public opinion polls.”

    I shall be interested to see just how good the invisibile hand of the market is at predicting the hidden hand of the ballot box.

  13. musings from the front lines…

    I just got home from voting, and my polling station was a bit of a tomb – few signs of life. The ratio of elections officials to voters was about 3 or 4:1. I live in one of those ridings where it doesn’t really even matter if I vote, since the NDP incumbent, Libby Davies, is pretty much guarenteed to keep her seat. She won around 60% of the popular vote last time around, and I can’t see much changing this time. I haven’t seen a single sign for the LIB candidate, Dave Haggard, anywhere in my neighbourhood that hasn’t been defaced.

    My sister, on the other hand, lives in one of BCs ridings to watch, where LIB incumbent Ujal Dosanj is hoping to keep his seat in the face of rising conservative support. Backlash againts the Liberals is strong enough that any candidate could quite easily be toppled as a result. My sister has already called twice today, trying to decide who she should vote for, the candidate she likes best, or the one who might help at least slow down a conservative victory.

    My general perception is that Canadians who don’t support the conservatives have had to really become more informed about their own ridings rather than just choosing a party, so maybe this is at least one good outcome from this whole mess.

    My biggest concern locally, however, is with the Vancouver Centre riding, where a misguided attempt to prevent a Harper government might result in one of BCs greatest MPs ever being kept out of parliament. It would be sad to see Hedy Fry win, even though very few in her riding actually support her any more, just to secure one more Liberal seat.

    I thought this http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/01/20/BCtoMcMartin/
    was quite an interesting analysis of the 36 ridings in BC.

    Other than my own musings, real data will still be scarce – at least for me – until 7pm local time, when coverage finally begins.

    – Canadian correspondent signing off

  14. Thanks again Sasha for the information.

    I certainly hope Ujjal Dosanjh keeps his seat. Both as provincial premier and a federal cabinet member, he has struck me as an unusually decent fellow.

    That’s a whole other area of contention, isn’t it: which cabinet members, if any, will lose their seats.

    Who, aside from Hedy Fry, is running in Vancouver Centre?

  15. Regarding the riding where I voted by absentee ballot. The Tyee says the candidate I voted for (for the second time) is toast:

    “Don Bell, the veteran municipal pol who won election as MP for North Vancouver 18 months ago, looks like toast. Cindy Silver, a Tory newcomer, should replace him.”

    We’ve also heard the opposite:

    “This riding to me is what I call a “False Alarm”. In this case, voters are saying this will be a super close race. On election night, that will be proven wrong, and Don Bell will walk away with a large chunk of the Tory vote because of Silver’s flip-flopping views on many important issues.
    Prediction: Liberal”

    Time alone will tell.

  16. Well, at least someone can spell Ujjal’s name, I’m sure that’s a comfort to him…

    How silly of me to have omitted the name of the person who I’m hoping will unseat Ms. Fry – she is running against the illustrious Svend Robinson. C’mon, all politicians crack sometimes, right? And he really is good poeple.

  17. I remember Svend Robinson from my days with Leadership Initiative for Earth…

    I have a lot less fun now.

  18. Funny observation from CalgaryGrit:

    “11:15 am: Did you know that the Elections Act gives you three hours off work to vote? My plan for my three hours is to vote, then catch Brokeback Mountain, since I have a feeling it may be banned in Canada very soon, if you catch my drift.”

  19. ProAlberta just lost their feed.
    TOO many users I guess???
    What do You think?

  20. Proalberta back up….Captain still down.
    Too bad us Canadians have to go outside the country to get the news.

  21. Yes. It said that they were using too much of the server’s CPU power.

    If I find results being posted elsewhere, I will add a link.

    I encourage others to do likewise, though only those outside Canada.

  22. Re: ProAlberta

    * Your site has used more than 20% of the cpu.
    * Your account has too many processes running at the same time.

    * Your site was consuming too many resources. This happens on occassion to very busy sites that have inefficient scripts running.

  23. with a bit of persistence I’ve been able to get the results I shouldn’t have at proalberta, though I’m biting holes in my tongue trying not to comment on a lot of the stupid slurs being swapped on the site.

  24. Does anyone else find it ironic that anxious Canadian liberals are flocking to ProAlberta to see how big a gain the stereotypically Albertan federal party has made?

  25. it’s godawful. See what we’ve been reduced to CBC? See?? I can’t take the right wing Alberta BS anymore, so I’m to put my head in a tub of water for an hour or so and not emerging until I can get real numbers.

  26. I suppose it was always a sham to think I wouldn’t be staying up for the real numbers…

    babbling incoherence in seminar tomorrow, here I come

  27. This is weird! I’m looking at posts from … tomorrow! LOL

    Anyway, I saw your link in SDA and decided to take a gander. Show me some results!

    Good luck!

  28. Don’t know if these numbers are any good, but I heard ’em through the grapevine:

    NF 4 L / 3 C

    NS 6 L / 3 C / 2 NDP

    PE 4 L

    NB 6 L / 3 C / 1 NDP

  29. More:

    These must be NS results:

    LIB 18
    CPC 11
    NDP 2

    Still to hear from 1 riding

  30. The nicest looking numbers that are up are over at The Surly Beaver. If that’s what you’re looking for, I recommend lookin g over there.

    Feel free to carry on discussing matters here, if you like.

    I am off to bed.

    Bonsoir, Canada.

  31. Radio-Canada just announced their prediction of a minority for the Conservatives.

  32. Global did as well. Looks like the popular vote went Liberal. Maybe they’ll support prop. rep. in future?

  33. re: point #9 (yes, I know you’ve moved on, but I just found this blog, so go easy on me)

    The law applies to people who are Not Resident in Canada, but who are presently IN Canada. Canada, unlike the US, does not pretend that its domestic laws apply outside the country. 200-mile limit discussion coming right up.

    And the latest results are: TORY TORY TORY. I’m rather hoping we can trade Harper for Boris Johnson…can you work on it for me…maybe make it like a student exchange?

    CON 117 36.50%
    LIB 95 30.12%
    BQ 49 10.49%
    NDP 25 17.34%
    IND 1 .52%
    OTH 0 5.02%

    That’s from the CBC results page. I was shocked to see that the North voted solidly Conservative; don’t these people realize how much federal money they get? It musta been a conscience vote, because it sure as all-git-out wasn’t self-interested, or if it was, wasn’t terribly well informed.

  34. I didn’t know. Thanks for the link.

    The number of people coming through here in the last 24 hours has been somewhat staggering. It makes me look forward to returning to more comfortable numbers of readers.

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