Tuesday, January 24, 2006

We Won

Our candidate, Dawn Black, was elected last night. I worked at the polling place all afternoon and evening, as an inside scrutineer for the NDP Party. We have had a Conservative or Alliance MP for the past 10 years, so it was great to get back to the NDP.

In the bigger picture, we have a Conservative Minority government for the country. At the best, this means that the parties will have to work together, listen to each other more, and cooperate to keep the government from falling. At worst it means that the government will work for a time, then grind to a halt, and fall to a non-confidence motion, then we're back where we started with another election.

In the meantime, we have more NDP Members of Parliament in Canada than before. Here at home we will be represented by a good one. Dawn was MP for New West Coquitlam in the early 90s. She has the experience, intelligence, courage and heart that we need in Ottawa. And now for some election day snapshots:

  • Our house is now represented by Black and Black. Ian Black is our (Liberal) MLA in Victoria. Dawn Black is our NDP MP in Ottawa. I think Black and Rockwell would have sounded better, but who asked me?
  • At the polling place, a neighbour who was working as a Poll Clerk told me about their training. "Everyone is afraid of the scrutineers, you know. We watched a video with this overbearing scrutineer who demanded to see ID from every voter and bellowed at the election workers. It was awful." The poll staff seemed relieved that we scrutineers were their neighbours, ordinary people, and polite. Our main job is to keep track of who has voted and communicate that to the phone bank, where they will call our supporters who have not come in yet. The impression among poll staff is that we are mainly there to catch them making mistakes and make them feel bad. Maybe it's the name. "Scrutineer" sounds a lot like "bucaneer." ARRRRR MATEY! YOU'LL NOT BE COUNTIN' THAT VOTE AS YOU SEE IT! YOU'LL BE COUNTIN' IT AS I SEE IT OR YE'LL WALK THE PLANK!
  • The scrutineers from the various parties were very friendly and helpful to each other. We shared numbers, sandwiches (the Conservatives got much nicer sandwiches than we did) and stories.
  • The Returning Officer at the polling place baked biscotti and brought tea and coffee for all of the workers and the party volunteers.
  • People brought their dogs into the polling place (a school gym). About 6pm we were all cheered up by a friendly galoot of a golden retriever who wandered around the gym, visiting everyone who looked like they wanted a cuddle.
  • Lots of young voters came in and registered. Very nice to see parents coming in for their son or daughter's first time voting.
  • A kid who I know from our daughter's school came in and asked if he could vote. But he didn't have ID and he's 12 years old, so they didn't let him.
  • More people I know from other places came in, working for the NDP - my neighbours from down the street and a lady from the church choir.
  • My husband came in on his way home from work. Thank you Andy for putting up with my absence while I've gone to volunteer, and for putting up with the lawn sign, which is so not your style. Thank you for understanding that I need to do this.
  • When the time came for the count, I tried to be a good scrutineer and "watch silently." But the poll workers were young and a bit nervous, and the count was so close it kept going back and forth between Dawn Black and Paul Forseth (the incumbent Conservative). It was like watching a hockey game. At one point we all burst out giggling. It is serious and important, but the tension was killing us!
  • I loved having the voting over at 7pm. I heard that the polls closed later back east and earlier in the west to make the results come out over a shorter span of time. As soon as the polls closed, we got some back east results over CBC radio. The die was cast by that time.
  • I skipped the victory party - not my scene. (It was at Il Mercante by the way - great choice!) When I got home, Andy was still out fetching Fi from rehearsal. Alex and I sat and watched the results come in and cheered our candidates, and speculated about the future. Like me, my son is optimistic that things will be good, in general and eventually.
So that's my personal reflection on this election. It felt good to be involved again. It was great that Alex got involved too. I'm over the moon about the outcome in our riding, but not so much about the country as a whole. Right now it's hard to imagine a federal government that would be all good. I guess it will be up to us citizens to make sure we participate more than just on election day.

question: how'd you like the election this time?

mompoet - yanking the sign out of my garden today

1 comment:

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

I'm just glad that we didn't have an election! :)