Friday, October 03, 2008

For realz, ol' buddy, ol' Palliser?

The Leader-Post says the Conservative Party has the Regina riding of Palliser (where I grew up) all but locked. The poll results seem less of a feat for the Tories, with 43.3% of decided voters, when you look at a few things.

First of all, both the NDP and Liberals have very strong candidates running against the Tories' Ray Boughen. The NDP, with the support of 35.7% of decided voters are running Don Mitchell, who, like Boughen, is a former mayor of Moose Jaw. Mitchell's got a long history of political and social activism in the Em-Jay of Ess-Kay (he's also the brother of Ken Mitchell, who once wrote a rock opera with Humphrey and the Dumptrucks) going back to when political and social activism meant something. The Liberals, with the support of a disappointing 17.3%, have a star candidate in former Regina police chief Cal Johnston. I had hopes in the early days of this election of Johnston as Justice Minister, but it's sadly obvious that won't happening soon. Johnston surely has better ideas for improving the justice system than Harper's Fresh Meat approach.

At first it seems strange that a riding that includes my sentimental favourite part of Regina is being dominated by Moose Javians. But then, Regina has never really been much of a breeding ground for politicians who "matter". Provincially, most of our best pols have traditionally been either rural, or from Saskatoon. And federally, well, what can we say about Ralph Goodale anyway? Municipally, well, fuck, that's depressing.

What makes Boughen's not-quite-insurmountable lead--along with the likelihood of another near-sweep for the Tories in Saskatchewan--all the more depressing, though, is how shitty the Conservative Party presence has been in Saskatchewan lately. Mostly, the Saskatchewan Tory Candidates are doing their best to stay out of public view, as Murray Mandryk tells us. From Gerry Ritz to Tom Lukiwski to Michelle Hunter, Saskatchewan Conservative candidates have decided that their best strategy for election or re-election is to make themselves scarce.

Sadly, it seems like a winning strategy. It seems like only Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is the only person on the federal scene willing to call the Harper government on their broken deals with Saskatchewan.

Maybe the drubbing Potash Corp. has taken on the markets this week will give my dear Saskatchewan second thoughts about the blank cheque they're about to write Harper.

mp3: "Summertime" by Feuermusik


Wade said...

I'm just going to say "weird" because well, this is my riding and if you look at the signs on the lawns, they are overwhelmingly for Don Mitchell or Cal Johnson. It is possible that Don is losing ground here because the photo used on his signs makes him look like a handicapped child and I don't mean that in a rude way or just an offhanded way. I mean that that is seriously what the photo looks like. I am not the only one to think that. It is the focus of a post this weekend so you'll be able to see what I'm talking about. As for the Conservatives, I can honestly say that I have not seen a single conservative lawn sign in my area. Maybe they are opposed to lawn signs and I'm unaware of that fact but yeah, no, no signs at all for Tories and I mean, I drive around the 'hood.

Emmet Matheson said...

In my experience, lawn signs are skewed indicators since NDP supporters--especially in Saskatchewan--are generally prouder of their beliefs than other voters. And who can deny the rush that comes from the sense of being on moral high ground merely because you're the underdog? The Tories (traditionally--like, back when they were actually Tories and not the Reform/Alliance + Peter McKay, ho ho) and the Grits, meanwhile, tend toward fairweather fans, those fickle middlegrounders who like to know which way the wind is blowing before they make up their minds. Which is, of course, why the Liberals and Conservatives have been able to form governments and the NDP has not.

Emmet Matheson said...

Oh and another thing:
I don't really know how reliable traditional polling is anymore either. I don't know if it's reached such levels in the land of Sasktel, but out here, I don't think I could name 5 people under 35 who have landlines. I know I never get telemarketers or pollsters calling my cellphone, but my landline gets 'em nonstop.
So there's a good chance that the demographic most likely to not vote for Harper & Co. isn't being included in the barrage of polls.

Pat said...

Good call on the polling; i'd say that's likely very accurate.

I too was disappointed to see the results behind Cal Johnston. While he's had some issues with the media in Regina, I've always found him to be open enough during our interviews and I think his record speaks for himself. I'd love to see him get a seat.

Sadly, that won't happen this year. there's some talk of the "anyone but harper" crowd and the undecideds ditching Cal and rallying behind Mitchell just to stop a Tory from getting the seat.

And while I'm not sure he'd be a very effective MP, I like Ray Boughen a lot. One time when I locked my keys in my car in Moose Jaw after a City Council meeting he let me sit in his van and wait for a locksmith to arrive. Very nice chap.