Oct. 16, 2008

Signs and Portents

What does a dying pigeon on your doorstep "mean"? I know a bird in the house is supposed to be bad luck, so maybe I dodged some? The poor thing must have flown into a window and dropped down onto my porch. I thought it just might be stunned when I saw it last night, but it was dead this morning. Sad.

So: a bit of politics. Tuesday was a federal election in Canada, called by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This was in conflict with his own new fixed election date law, intended to eliminate "tactical" election calls. It seems that Harper thought he spotted a chance at getting a majority and discarded his electoral reform principles to make a grab. In the end the Conservatives did increase their seats, but not enough for a majority. Their popular vote didn't actually budge, the increase came from an erosion of the Liberal party's support as voters moved to other left-of-centre parties. The result is exactly the same minority government as we had six weeks ago. This was also the lowest voter turnout ever for a federal election.

The Liberals never earned the electorate's confidence this time. Their leader Stephane Dion, who I respect as an honest and intelligent politician, was unable to overcome either his lack of eloquence in English or a long-running Conservative initiative to belittle him. Stephane has been, and would be, a great Minister but I always thought he lacked political presence. The Liberals seem to have put past scandals behind them, but they need fresh leadership to regain voter support.

The New Democratic Party had a decent gain in seats, primarily due to Liberal voters moving further left, the Green Party also gained votes but didn't manage to turn any of those votes into seats. Ten years ago voters on the right complained that the Liberals were unfairly dominant due to right wing votes being spread between the Progressive Conservative and the Reform parties, now the shoe seems to be on the other foot.

Boo!Turning to myself, I'm tapering for this weekend's Toronto Marathon even though I'm also battling a pretty nasty head cold. On Tuesday I went out for an "easy run" with some friends and ended up covering 12K in a 4:28/K pace! Easy, boy. Last night I joined my triathlon club's new swimming workout and ended up pushing myself pretty hard there too. It's so much more fun to swim with athletes rather than recreational swimmers like I've been doing up to now! I'll have to take it easy though as my swimmer's shoulder is acting up again...

This photo is a funny out-take from my recent photo-shoot at Langdon Hall.

Listening to: She Comes In the Fall by Inspiral Carpets from Life.

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