When we last left our 'heroes' at the Ministry of Health, Bill 29 had been passed, Hospital Employees Union members in food services and caretaking had received their pink slips, and a nasty labour dispute which almost became a General Strike was put down thanks to the BC Liberal's threat of a snap election. The new help was kept in their places thanks to the syncophantic Industrial Woodworking and Allied (IWA) Workers Union, who blacklisted former HEU members and forced new staff to sign IWA cards without so much as a sniff of a collective agreement.
In today's episode, Colin Hansen, Gordon Campbell, and the Health Authourities learn that some enemies are a little too hard to kill... :)
Juice King Gregor Robertson wins the NDP nomination in Vancouver Fairview over former CUPE President Judy Darcy. Realpolitik says that New Democrats made the right choice for a challenger to Finance Minister/Rat B*st*rd Gary Collins. I live in the adjacent Mount Pleasant riding, and it's easy to tell where Fairview begins by the three solid blocks of adult toy stores, i.e. places like Mountain Equipment Co-op and Visions Electronics - the Adult Toy Stores you're thinking of are in Vancouver-Burrard.
Happy Planet products should soon be flying off the shelves, either by being snapped up by enthusiastic and thirsty New Democrats, or by Liberal suck up retailers (I'm talking to you, Save-On-Foods) pulling them from their shelves.
There are thousands of Democrats, liberals, progressives, and Americans who just hate Bush openly contemplating emigrating to Canada across the internet (Google 'moving to Canada' and 'Bush'). If any of you have come across this blog, I have this advice: unless you have other reasons you'd like to reside in this country besides the lack of Republican Presidents, stay where you are.
Canadians who have had the experience of living in the province of Alberta over the past decade know what it's like to be under the thumb of an alcoholic cowboy demagogue, one Ralph Klein. Klein's track record as a Premier amounts to demolishing public health care and education, and picking fights with other jurisdictions, and sucking up to corporations: seem familar? The Ralph Klein experience can be summed up by his visit to an Edmonton homeless shelter in the winter of 2003, when, after an evening of heavy drinking, threw tens and twenties on the floor and barked at the shelter residents to get a job.
In 2000, I decided to relocate to Vancouver, where British Columbia had a centre-left New Democratic (not as in the DLC 'new' Democrats) Party government which did things like provide affordable child care while balancing the provincial budget. Although the NDP had worn out its welcome, thanks largely due to some ill-conceived ferry building projects, the opposition B.C. "Liberal" Party ran against them on a moderate platform designed not to antagonize the public. Liberal leader (and former Vancouver mayor) Gordon Campbell, wanted to be "a uniter, not a divider" too.
This script seems familiar too? Of course it does! Campbell and the Liberals' first act when they were sworn into office in June of 2001 was the give the wealthiest British Columbians a 25% tax cut, which was paid for by the mass privatization of public services (including health care), gutting of B.C.'s environmental regulations, and a rewriting of the province's labour code which raised eyebrows at the International Labour Organization. Like Bush, Campbell flat out refuses to back down on anything, including his refusal to resign after a drunk conviction while on vacation in Hawaii, or the ongoing police investigation into money laundering out of the Legislature in Victoria.
The moral of the story is: why move to Canada to put up with Bush wannabes when you have the man himself to entertain you? Besides, at least Bush has a two-term limit.
Any analysis I can offer is flawed, woefully subjective, and gleaned from Amtrak stations, the bleachers at Safeco Field, and my brother in law's family in Minnesota. Although I once sat next to a company picnic from Fox News in Section 382, I don't know anyone who actually watches Fox News. However, like everyone else clicking away in disappointment at this moment, I'll throw out my wild guesses, which you've probably heard on CNN at least 45 times in the past five hours:
-Some people outside the U.S. think the zeitgeist about 9/11 has been overblown, but back in 1986, I had friends next in line to ride the Mindbender roller coaster at West Edmonton Mall just before it crashed and killed six people. I'm well aware of all the safety improvements that have been made to roller coasters, and I was nowhere near the thing when it crashed, but damn it, I'm still not getting on one. There are things that some people just can't get over, and while Bush might be evil incarnate, he's still the devil these people know.
-How many times did you hear "John Kerry may not be perfect, but he's the best hope the Democrats have?" If such was the case, why did Kerry begin the primaries way behind Howard Dean, and finish them barely fighting off John Edwards? Yes, Kerry handed Bush his ass and whatever was bulging from the back of his blazer during the debates, but voters never caught any real idea of how things would be different under his administration: send MORE troops to Iraq? Give everyone the same health plan as members of the House and Senate? These were a couple of proposals that upon careful review, were costable and made perfect sense. However, on the surface, they come off as nutty as Howard Dean did when he was screaming his concession speech after the New Hampshire primary. However, the "Dean Scream" can be attributed to being undermic'd in the hall and overmic'd on TV - does Kerry have a similar excuse for his failure to communicate?
-Contrary to what you may have heard a few months ago, Ronald Reagan is not dead. I hold up as evidence the millions of Americans who blame themselves rather than their government and corporate leaders for their unemployment and struggling economy, and move on to dividing up the country on moral and social issues. The best GOTV drives the Republicans had yesterday were the initiatives in 11 battleground states to ban gay marriage, which is odd, considering that the homophobes who flooded these suburban or rural precincts are more than likely situated miles away from the nearest gay or lesbian person. "They're coming for our children" pretty much equates to "Iraq had weapons of mass destruction". Karl Rove was able to reach further into the Republicans' fundamentalist base because the U.N. has yet to investigate the lack of bathhouses in suburban and rural Ohio.
I could go on, since everybody else is, but I'll take a moment to look ahead to the next four years: Americans have made a conscious decision to put their future on hold, and hang on to the post 9/11 era a little longer. When 2008 rolls around, the U.S. may find that the European Union, China, India, and perhaps even Brazil are catching up or passing them. Bush's unilateralism refuted Kerry's multilateralism this time around, in 2008 multilateralism might be the only choice.
While I'm at it, take a moment to think about what people had at stake in these results. There are a lot of people in America who view the Bush victory with despair and fear for their future, especially if they or their children are around the age where they could be shipped to Iraq in a uniform, then shipped home in bodybag. If you know any of these people, drop them a line to say hi, and remind them of their freedom as Americans to travel....for a long time....
Early exit polls in the swing states as of 12:51 PST show Kerry mostly ahead:
Florida: Kerry 50, Bush 49
Ohio: Kerry 50, Bush 49
Pennsylvania: Kerry 54, Bush 45
Wisconsin: Kerry 51, Bush 46
Michigan: Kerry 51, Bush 47
Minnesota: Kerry 58, Bush 40
Nevada: Kerry 48, Bush 50
New Mexico: Kerry 50 Bush 48
North Carolina: Kerry 49 Bush 51
Colorado: Kerry 46 Bush 53
As for sample size, margin of error, your mileage will vary. To recap: Bush is walking away with homophobes, high rollers, and NASCAR fans.
Republican party 'challengers' won't be allowed to confront voters at polling stations in one of the most volitile states going into tomorrow's election. Good idea - The last thing voters need before heading to the polls is to switch on CNN or Fox News and see people shoving and throwing punches.
Update (11.02.04): Republicans get a reprieve at the Supreme Court: Let the Buckeye State mayhem begin...