Progressive Conservatives win a landslide in Alberta

Despite all the talk of change, election day in Alberta turned out to be more of the same. Ed Stelmach and the Progressive Conservatives have won a landslide victory. I was once again greeted with the “oh my god you’re under 40” look by the old people at the polling station. The one change this time around is that it appears voter turnout was up for the first time in many years (but not sure yet).

Apparently there were 2,252,104 Albertans eligible to vote this year. I’m sure not all of them were attempting to visit the Elections Alberta website at the same time, but it was down this morning nonetheless. Here’s what it looked like at 10:30 this morning:

And an hour later, they decided to change it up, just for kicks:

The websites for the Alberta Liberals and Alberta Alliance were also down today.

Ah well, it was wishful thinking that we’d have a party other than the PC’s in charge. And let’s be honest, the election was pretty damn boring. Like Sharon, I have to laugh every time someone says it was “a long, hard-fought election”.

I’m much more excited for tomorrow’s primaries in Ohio and Texas. The big controversy of the day, of course, is Barack Obama’s denial of back-channel assurances to Canada regarding his position on NAFTA. Not sure if it’ll be enough to give Hillary any momentum though.

UPDATE: Turns out this was the worst voter turnout in Alberta history.

Super Tuesday 2008

imageToday is the big day! Twenty-four states are holding their caucuses and/or primaries today in the United States – it’s known as Super Tuesday. The results have already started to come in, and if you’d like to follow along, here are some handy online resources:

Be sure to check out my post on using Twitter for Breaking News too.

Of course, you could do it the old fashioned way and turn on CNN, but where’s the fun in that?!

If you’re trying to figure out which candidate is the most tech-friendly, here are a few resources:

Happy Super Tuesday!

Make elections greener – Internet voting!

Today is election day here in Edmonton. Today is also Blog Action Day. Better together? Let’s find out! It should be pretty clear that election day means we’re voting for our city mayor, councillors, and school board trustees, but what is Blog Action Day all about? From the website:

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

This is my entry for Blog Action Day, and as you may have guessed by now, I am going to talk about the election in relation to the environment. I just heard on the news that the turnout for this election is expected to be an abysmal 20%. Are people really not interested, or is it just too difficult to vote? Maybe a bit of both, but the process can certainly be made simpler. Not to mention more environmentally friendly or green.

There are two major problems with the way we vote now:

  1. So much paper is wasted. There are forms to organize the volunteers. There are forms to register you. The ballot you fill out. The second ballot you fill out because you screwed up on the first one. The documents with results. You get the idea. Voting today is really not an environmentally friendly thing to do. And don’t forget the campaigns either – thousands and thousands of flyers, posters, signs, etc.
  2. It’s too difficult. I worked from 9 to 5 today, and it took me until 6 PM to get back to the area of the city I live in to vote. So I didn’t have much time at all considering the polls close at 8 PM. Not only that, but once you get to the voting station you have to deal with three dinosaurs before you even get a ballot. Seriously, why do three individuals have to look at my drivers license in order to let me vote? Isn’t one person good enough? I’m not kidding about the dinosaurs part either. I was easily the youngest person in the room by about 35 years. It’s great that they are helping out, but they move slowly, have to squint at the fine print on the drivers license, and worst of all they look at me like they’ve never seen someone under 40 going to vote (and of course they must comment on that too). Just let me get in and get out!

It doesn’t have to be this way! We could make elections more environmentally friendly and efficient by getting rid of the archaic system we use now and adopting Internet voting. There are of course examples of successes with Internet voting and concern over potential problems that may arise. I won’t get into any of that here, but you can read the very complete Wikipedia entry if you’re interested. I simply look at it this way:

  • Is the Internet good enough for Revenue Canada and the banks? Yes.
  • Would voting over the Internet have a positive impact on the environment? Yes.
  • Would voting over the Internet be faster and easier for voters than the current process? Yes.

Good enough for me. I think it’s time we moved one of our society’s most important institutions into the 21st century. I think it’s time we started voting over the Internet!

Bush accepts responsibility for Iraq

Post ImageOn the eve of historic parliamentary elections in Iraq, US President George W. Bush has finally accepted responsibility for the debacle otherwise known as the war in Iraq. More specifically, he acknowledged that intelligence failed, but remained confident in his decision to go to war in Iraq.

“It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong,” Bush said. “As president, I’m responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.”

The president’s mea culpa was accompanied by a robust defense of the divisive war.

“Saddam was a threat — and the American people and the world is better off because he is no longer in power,” Bush declared, as he has before.

Too little, too late? The speech was no doubt designed to try and improve Bush’s approval rating, nothing more. As a purely political play, I’d guess it will probably go over quite well with the American public.

As far as I am concerned, Bush getting rid of Saddam was a good thing. At least we know that Bush himself will be out of power in a few years. Who knows when the tragedies Saddam carried out would have ended?

Read: Yahoo News

The Economist on Canada

Post ImageOne of the most interesting effects of a Canadian election is that in the weeks leading up to the big vote, there is an abundance of American commentary on our country. Most of the time it feels like we’re ignored by the American media, at least as far as politics are concerned, and The Economist admits as much in it’s latest print issue cover story (reg req’d):

Enormous though it is, Canada is all too easily overlooked. It may be the world’s second-biggest country by area, one of its dozen largest economies and a founding member of the G7 club of rich countries. But much of its vast land is frozen waste. Nearly all of its 32.2m people cling to a narrow belt along its border with the United States. Since it is a peaceful, prosperous-dare one say provincial?-sort of place, it rarely makes much of a splash in the world.

Doesn’t that sound like a place you’d want to live? I suppose it’s true however, much of our land really is frozen – not so sure about it being a waste though. The article goes on to outline two reasons that the United States and the rest of the world should pay more attention to Canada:

  1. “Canada, and especially its west, is one of the great storehouses of the commodities that the world needs in ever greater quantities-something China has recently noticed. New techniques mean that the tar sands of Alberta can be turned into oil at an ever-falling cost. That in turn means that Canada now claims the world’s second-largest oil reserves (behind only Saudi Arabia), in addition to a cornucopia of minerals and ten times more fresh water per head than the United States.”
  2. “The second reason to watch Canada, as The Economist has argued before, is that it is a healthy rival to the American way. To the “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of the American Declaration of Independence, Canada replied with “peace, order and good government” in its founding charter.”

I don’t think I could have come up with a reason any more American than those. The threat of oil, and another country with something comparable to “the American dream.” Sounds like something straight out of the Whitehouse. The article then spends a few paragraphs discussing adscam and our political parties, before concluding:

For all of Canada’s abiding strengths, more of the same politics may not be good enough. The booming west—Alberta especially—feels ignored in Ottawa. Another independence vote in Quebec may be no more than a couple of years away. Keeping Canada cool, calm and collected is starting to look a lot harder than it did only a couple of years ago.

I can’t really argue with that, things are indeed starting to get interesting. The latest issue of the Economist, entitled “Canada’s wintry election,” includes at least five other articles on Canada and our upcoming election, so if you’re into reading all of the analysis (I’m starting to…) you might want to pick it up. You can also buy a PDF of the Survey of Canada.

Read: The Economist

The Liberals Are Gone

Post ImageI am listening to 630 CHED and just heard the vote reach 171 in favor of the motion, which means the Liberal government in Canada has fallen. Actually, I have been listening for a couple of hours now, and there seems to be a few common refrains:

  • The coming election will be the dirtiest ever.
  • Southern Ontario will be the main battleground.
  • Canadians have lost faith in the political process in general.
  • All parties were hurt by Adscam.

You might recall that I voted for the Liberals in the last election. It’s pretty safe to say that I won’t be voting for them again this time around. That being said however, I don’t know who I will vote for. I don’t feel as though there is a political party that really represents me. I don’t feel as though any of the party leaders are really intriguing.

And perhaps worst of all, I don’t feel as though the coming election campaigns will be able to change that.