Monday, January 23, 2006

Briefly (well, it started that way)

I wanted to post a short note to keep Jakob Nielsen happy (see #7, and ignore the rest with respect to this post).

I've been working on characters for "72 Virgins" most of the weekend. Most of the inspiration came at a Havdalah performance that Child Two and her classmates put on Saturday night. Remember, monkeys: never travel anywhere without pen and paper.

Right now, I'm going to hop in the shower, do carpool, and go vote. I find this particular election exciting, because the Liberals always pull more votes than polls predict. The margins in Canada's parliamentary system are fine. A swing of a few percentage points can tip ridings. How big will the swing be today?

I predict a Conservative minority government. The Tories (the Conservatives) won't pull in as many Quebec votes as predicted and won't have enough MPs to control Parliament outright.

The Liberals will clean house and get rid of all visible remnants of the Chretien/Martin power struggle/structure. Once the Liberals have a new face/facade in six months or a year, they will topple the Conservatives and waltz back into power.

This prognostication assumes that:

a) Stephen Harper is the Stephen Harper we knew and avoided before the campaign, and is not the new improved version we saw during the campaign.

b) Harper and his party avoid the tendency of all elected parties to slide toward the centre. If the Conservatives stick to their guns, they will alienate the other parties enough to lose confidence.

My vote? I live in the western half of Montreal. My riding will vote Liberal. I like the Conservative platform and I would like to see the Liberals clean house. But I can't help recalling that Harper has said he'd have sent Canadians into Iraq. I'm not a big believer in pre-emptive war, so that gives me pause. Afghanistan? Sure. Iraq? No.

Gosh. Politics is something I actively try to avoid on this blog. Dang.

Powerful Western democracies - and Canada - can kick ass militarily. To maintain favour in the global eye, however, they must wield that big stick with caution. The US can't be a bully and expect weaker countries to fall in line.

Nobody faults the US - and Canadian - invasion of Afghanistan, because that was retaliation. Even if Iraq had planned an attack on the US, the US has to stand and take it. Once hit, any country would have global support to hit back. Look at Gulf War I.

It's braver to face the threat than it is to push first.

Even though I know no one in the Canadian military, even though I would have no personal investment in Canadian forces in Iraq, I'm glad my country isn't involved there.

It's gonna have to be a quick shower....


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