Strategic Voting Versus Jumping Ship

So, not once but twice this week, CAW prez Buzz Hargrove, a card-carrying NDP member, has been seen overtly supporting the Liberals in order to stem the tide of Conservative support. Late this week, he was alongside Martin in Windsor, Ontario, a region that currently has two NDP Members of Parliament.

The distancing of the union base of support from the NDP (and vice versa) is not new. In fact, just prior to the federal election call, the provincial NDP in British Columbia overwhelmingly supported a resolution to distance itself from organized labour. Personally I don’t see that as an inherently bad thing. If we want the other two mainstream parties to put some distance between themselves and corporations, then it’s only fair to expect the NDP to do the same with labour groups.

However, doing so shouldn’t mean a total repudiation. I would agree with Hargrove that in places where the NDP is doomed to (at best) a third-place finish, it only makes sense to vote strategically to prevent vote-splitting that would give the seat to the Conservatives. But in places like Windsor or even urban parts of Nova Scotia, the NDP holds and has a good chance of continuing holding seats. In other places, the NDP came a strong second in the 2004 round, leading many to believe that a concerted effort could lead to seizing those seats. So Hargrove seems to be minimizing ignoring that voting NDP in same places could have the effect he desires.

If indeed we’re heading towards another Liberal minority government after January 23, we need to have the NDP hold the true balance of power. Let’s not forget that, overall, the Liberals have drifted considerably to the right of centre in the last decades. Therefore, a strong NDP presence can ensure they won’t drift any further, which I believe is what Canadians want. I believe that’s what they want, because look at how they’re still not warming to the Conservatives.

Of course, this post doesn’t address in any way the situation in Québec, where the BQ hopes to win an absolute majority of the popular vote as well as most of the seats. There are two election campaigns going on right now: the one in Québec and the one in the rest of Canada. But then, Canadian federal politics are slated to be a dog’s breakfast for many more years to come.

A Winter Wonderland Indeed!

The view outside my dining room window this afternoon

A winter wonderland

Click below to enlarge…
Winter Wonderland 2005 1/3 Winter Wonderland 2005 2/3 Winter Wonderland 2005 3/3

From left to right: View from my office; At alt.home.office looking out (notice that living/dining room area is a wall of windows, which is delightful); Path in front of building from alt.home.office.

Indeed, Halifax had its first significant snowfall of the season last night (about 20 cm or 8 in), although I hear that Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, some 80 km (50 mi) to the north received as much as 60 cm (2 feet). We were pretty well the last place in North America that normally receives snow to not have had any yet, so we can’t really complain. But the kick in the rubber parts will come tomorrow, since the area is under a heavy rainfall warning for tomorrow (20–30 mm or 1–1.5 inch). That’s going to make one slushy mess! It’s -4C (24F) right now, but tomorrow’s high is expected to be 8C (46F). How whacky is that?!

Unrelated to the snow: In my “unhacked” version of WordPress, I must go in a separate area to upload images, away from the text I’m writing. While WP uploads very nicely, when it’s done, it merely spews out the HTML code that I need to paste into my text, plus WP doesn’t keep a library of images. What’s more, I prefer having enlargeable thumbnail images, which WP doesn’t do — at least not easily. So for the above images, I edited a page on my professional website, uploaded the images into TextStyleM, got it to spew out what I call the TCode for each enlargeable popup, and pasted each on the page in my website. After that, all I had to do is view the page in Firefox’s “View Page Source,” copy the XHTML TextStyleM produced, edit the references so that they’re absolute rather the relative, and voilà! While the last part — editing the references — might seem like a pain in the ass, it’s actually very easy and I got the exact results I wanted. Plus, the truth of the matter is that it’s still useful to know a bit of HTML with WP, whereas TextStyleM removes that need except for certain occasional things like table data, which very few people bother with. But the possibility is there for those who do.

Which makes me think about how, one day, I should create TextStyleM Lite for bloggers…