Wednesday, May 23, 2007

One Seat (or, the 2007 Manitoba Provincial Election is Finally Over)

That's what all this was about?

At the conclusion of the 2003 Manitoba Provincial Election, the NDP held thirty-five seats; the Progressive Conservatives held twenty, and the professional sadsacks Liberals held but two.

Now, with Election Night 2007 over and the seat tally finalized... the NDP holds thirty-six seats, the Progressive Conservatives hold nineteen and the Liberals again hold but two.

Four years since the last election, one year since the leadership of a major party changed hands, and a full month of the most vicious vitriol in Manitoba politics since people started arguing about pig farms -- all of that was building to a one seat difference from the 2003 election?


Ahem. 'Scuse. One moment.

Okay. Moving along.

I watched the entire CBC coverage of the election; I wasn't writing while I watched it, because -- to put it mildly -- my archaic computer is not very mobile. (I also watched the remainder of the hockey game afterwards; if the sudden flood of mysterious penalties had let the Red Wings win that game, and you were to put forward the notion that Bettman had put the fix in for Detroit, I would have been completely unable to refute your argument. Anyway! Politics!) But from what I remember, here were some of my initial reactions:

-- What the hell was Janet Stewart wearing? Was that a white upside-down Odal rune being used as a shirt collar?
-- When the first ballot counts of the night roll in and one of the candidates in a riding only has a single vote, don't you always feel a little sorry for that guy? Especially since he was probably the guy that cast that vote?
-- I swear, I don't think I recognized even half the interviewers they put out and about into the field today. Then again, I suspect the dude they sent to hold down the Liberal coverage must be really new; he seemed a little unpolished, a little rushed. Not to say that he did a bad job, mind you; he did pretty well. It's just that it's not exactly a ringing endorsement of your qualifications when they send you to the headquarters of the distant third-place party so that you can appear on television a grand total of twice in a two-hour show.
-- Come to think of it... there only were two male reporters in the whole lot. And one was a visible minority. Huh. So much for my chances at ever landing a job like that.
-- They declared an NDP majority within fourty minutes? Geez, that was quick. Thanks for tuning in, folks! Goodnight, everybody!
-- Weren't some of these ridings supposed to be... you know... close? At all? And is Hugh McFadyen even going to be leader at the end of the month?
-- You know, theoretically, a party could win complete control over the entire province without even once leaving Winnipeg city limits. Chew on that one for a minute.
-- Hugh McFadyen opening his concession speech with 'ouch' -- okay, you've got me there, that's pretty funny. I can't argue with that.
-- Did... did Gary Doer just give a shout-out to Tommy Douglas? Why do I feel unsettled just typing that?
-- Oh, man, the panel's relentless ragging on the PC strategist ("So! What went wrong?" "Well, I... it's not that things went wrong, it's just--" "Is Hugh McFadyen out as leader?" "What? No!") just got more and more entertaining as the night went on -- and then, when even Janet Stewart got into the act of subtly mocking him, I nearly shot a piece of pizza through my nose. Bad night to be a Conservative on television!

So, yes. A big night for the NDP, by which is meant a terrible night for the Conservatives and Liberals because neither party accomplished anything and the NDP won a majority basically by default. Manitoba politics! Whee!

I can't wait to see what the final number is for the voter turnout; as previously mentioned my suspicion is that it was low, and it was probably lower than my original lowball prediction because everybody was busy being rained on today.

(Oh -- and yes, I did go check the Value Village today right after I voted; I'm sad to say that I was absolutely, one-hundred-per-cent correct about my previous cynicism.)

My favourite election-related item of interest, however, took place far before any of the ballots were counted; it was the most unlikely of promotional tactics, and to me it was the most impressive.

My job allows for two fifteen-minute breaks and one thirty-minute lunch; I usually eat lunch during the first fifteen-minute break, because that means I can use the thirty minutes of lunch time to head out and play arcade games in a dedicated section of Bourbon Street Billiards.

And in the far corner of that room, behind the X-Man vs. Street Fighter machine that collects most of my change, sits Strikers 1945 II.

Strikers 1945 II, the 1997 sequel to Strikers 1945 (don't ask; video games just work that way sometimes), is a top-down shooter -- commonly referred to as a 'shmup', short for shoot-'em-up. Loosely set in World War II, you can choose one of six different WWII-themed planes and take to the air for a battle against seemingly endless hordes of enemy fighters.

Normally this machine elicits little more than the raise of an eyebrow from me; I'm a longstanding fan of the genre, don't get me wrong, but fighting games always take precedence as far as my spending habits are concerned. (And I only have half an hour, after all.) Today, however, I caught a glimpse of the Strikers 1945 II high-score board -- and guess what I saw?

Well, I'll be damned. That is what I thought to myself. Now that's dedication!

No wonder the NDP ended up winning this election so handily; if their volunteers were willing to go to these lengths, imagine what the candidates must have been up to!

But, I guess that's all over and done with anyway; that's that. The NDP picks up one seat, the PCs lose one seat, and the more things change the more they stay the same. Manitoba politics. Whee.

Bring on the summer!

1 comment:

Keith said...

The arcade high score was priceless. Sadly you might be mistaken and the score may really belong too Norman Donald Peterson the best damn Strikers 1945 player in the city.

It was funny seeing Gary Doer on CBC blurt out "I like to thank our election strata....umm" and then save himself from looking like a dick by changing the topic ever so slightly.

Ah politics.

Watching provincial debates on Shaw is funny stuff. Lets you know where your money is going and you get to hear politicians have shouting matches.

To this day I wish I was Mr.Speaker.