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July 2004

Getting the vote out

Looks like that in spite of the money Elections Canada spent to get us all out to vote, the continual coverage by all the media, and the closeness of the race, turnout was again only about 60%, down slightly since last time. Be interesting to see if the youth vote declined even more than before.
I checked my riding, Ottawa-Orleans - we had 74% turnout, which is pretty good. But it was a closely contested race - a strong Liberal area with a new candidate, and a Conservative candidate that seemed just too perfect and smug. I suspect a lot saw that their vote could make a difference here, and that the issues did affect them. Plus I'm sure the well oiled Conservative machine and their maxed out budget pulled in the vote all they could. And the Liberals too, although they didn't seem as strong a force.
I checked 4 other Ottawa ridings, all were around 70% turnout, all were fairly close races, except one, Otttawa-Vanier, where only 61% cast a ballot. That riding had a very strong Liberal presence, the final vote was twice the Conservative count.
Maybe if voters think their vote will have an effect, they get out and do something. Or maybe in a close area, "pulling" the vote is what causes the increase. A recent book, "Get Out the Vote! How to increase voter turnout" suggest that meaningful interaction, as in door-to-door canvassing, or pesonal phone calls, can increase turnout by 7 to 12 percent. Leaflets, email, and automated calls have virtually no effect.
For Elections Canada, mandatory registration would help, and would help clean up their records, but I don't think we would accept mandatory voting easily.
At the election, I think clear issues, well communicated, are a must have. In between, I hope the peak of political awareness we saw over the past few weeks doesn't slump back into apathy. Parliament is off for the summer, everyone is lazing around and taking in some holidays. in the fall we come back, kids into school, our reps all wander back into the House. Hopefully we will notice, and will care - I suspect a minority government will keep issues alive.
And in the political world of blogs, Jim Elve's e-group on Blogs Canada will morph into Multi-partisan Political Punditry. Stay tuned.

Wandering ferns

IMG_0120aOK - Plan A was to carefully dig up and separate the day-lilies, dig up all the ferns in the corner formerly known as shady, plant some of the day-lilies there, send the rest of the lilies out in the mail to the hords of eager readers, and then re-plant the ferns in the shade.
The lilies had been there quite a while and were a solid mat of roots. Plus I have plenty to spare already, and don't really like them that well anyways. Does this sound like excuses in advance for Plan B?
You're right. My daughter was over to chat and show me her new(er) tattoo, but that was the extent of her help. Not that I didn't enjoy the visit.
So last Sunday I girded my loins, rolled up my sleeves, and attacked. I just ripped off the leaves, dug up the roots with a sharp spade, chucked it all in a recycling bag, and left it by the curb for garbage day. Yes, I know that's shocking behaviour to some, who know's what might be next? My mother can't understand how I could throw anything away, but what's done is done.
The ferns were easier to move one by one then, and are happier now that they don't have to put on sun screen every day - it was clogging their spores. Next is to add some moss and ground cover, and then fungi from the woods.


I was part of the NDP campaign team, but I am pleased to see a Liberal victory because it meant a Conservative defeat here - a defeat for someone that was too well-polished, and just gave me a bad feeling in his manner as a person - never mind his policies as a Conservative. Job now as an NDP member is to do my little bit to keep the Liberals honest, and build the NDP presence in our riding.
Voter turnout nationally was said to be not much higher than last time, in spite of tons of media coverage and all the efforts to increase the vote. One comment I heard was that it's not enough to panic and agonize at election time on how to get people out. What is needed is a way between elections to get Canadians more involved in the political process.

Here's our local results. We did pretty good considering our budget was probably less than 5% of the Conservative juggernaut. Doubled our share from last election. Way to go Crystal!

DISTRICT: Ottawa-Orléans
Candidate..........Party....Vote Count...Vote Share...Elected
Marc Godbout.....LIB.........26383 .........44.99%........X
Walter Robinson.CON........23655 .........40.34%
Crystal Leblanc..NDP...........5905..........10.07%
Dan Biocchi.......GRN...........2699............4.6%
Last Update: June 29, 1:25:34 AM EDT 231 of 231 polls reporting