My Secret's out!

It has come to my attention that some people think that they may be getting super-secret strategy from this blog.

Well, I guess the jig is up. People managed to break my secret code of marginally funny observations about Saskatchewan, figuring out that the occasional nerdy science fiction reference was actually elaborate local campaign secrets. I don't want to spoil the fun for everyone else, so I won't break the code online. I'll leave the rest to tilt at windmills to figure out the elaborate algorithim: but be warned, it'll take more than just a basic understanding of Text Twist and easy access to a Crackerjack decoder ring. To be fair, since not everyone has several networked supercomputers like the local Conservative campaign seems to, I'll give a hint: when I write in palindrome, it is important. A toyota.

You see, up to now, I have written about how I was helping my candidate make contact with voters through a variety of means: pamphlets, newspaper ads, telepresence, you know, the usual. We've also tried to “identify” our vote through a combination of telephoning and door to door canvassing. These are remarkably innovative local strategies, and I probably should have guessed that I had been caught when I heard about other campaigns in entirely different regions using them. And here is an extra special tip: We are going to try to make sure that those identified voters get out to the polls and vote.

Anyway, to my mystery Conservative friend, thanks for the drink. I'm glad that I was able to provide you such useful information.

The Thrill of Victory! The Agony of Defeat!

Well, maybe just the agony of defeat.

It is now technically election day, and I am barred from campaigning, which is more than fine by me.

Today offers an interesting mix of emotions: I am going to coordinate the efforts of about two dozen people to keep track of who has voted in more than 70 polls across the city of Regina. That is problematic, but doable. I think. It will probably be stressful, I will probably get some premature grey hairs, but it will soon enough be over.

But today is also when I find out how well our campaign has done. To be sure, the national campaign left a lot to be desired, so any increase in our vote will be a victory of sorts. To actually win would be even more fantastic, a first for me, and at present does not seem outside the realm of the possible. Campaigning for a Liberal in Western Canada is notoriously tough, and with the various gaffes, scandals, and newly-proposed gun bans, this one is even more difficult. Even though this is Saskatchewan, which does not have an Alberta-esque visceral hatred for all thing Liberal, it takes extra effort to get every single vote that we do.

I have probably worked harder over the past 8 weeks than I ever have in my life, just as I don't think that I've ever felt time go by as fast as it has. I really like my candidate, and hope that he gets elected not just because I have invested so much time, but because I genuinely think that he would bring a lot to Parliament. I've probably got candidate fever, it happens when you do nothing but talk about how great a guy is for 2 months, but I don't remember being quite as certain with previous candidates.

So all this is to say, that there is probably a good chance that I'll be dissapointed tomorrow night. If not locally, than almost certainly nationally. It'll suck, and my bottle of victory scotch will quickly become my defeat scotch, but I'll get over it. The great thing about electoral politics is that every few years you get to try to convince people that you are right. The awful thing about electoral politics is that too often people just don't seem to agree. But that's okay: the fun isn't just in winning, its trying to get there.

As a side note: It'll be nice to get back to a regular diet. 16 hour days produce a lot of fast food, and our options are mostly limited to Pita Pit and McDonalds. While the choice would initially seem obvious, Pita Pit actually gets kind of gross after 18 days, and McDonalds is pretty consistent in its mediocrity.

Adventures in AM radio

We sent Gary on to one of the local AM radio stations today for an open-line forum with the other candidates. Once again, and I this in as non-blindingly partisan a way as possible, Gary more than out did himself.

But what is interesting about openline AM radio, regardless of the city you are in, is that it seems that the amount of bluster the host has is directly related to their timeslot. Case in point: in Ottawa, Lowell Green hosts from 8-noon; in Saskatoon you have John Gormley for a similar period. While I doubt that Gormley can ascend to the levels of idiocy that Lowell can reach, I suspect it has something to do with being in a smaller market, he is nonetheless filled with way more outrage than is allowed under Health Canada guidelines.

In contrast, the afternoon is hosted by a guy named Murray Wood who, much like CFRA's Michael Haris, is pretty dyed in the wool blue, but doesn't reach the same level of crazy.

Tonight: Gambling and Drinking with Ryan, not in that order. Apparently Regina turned its elegant old train station into a casino; its nice to see that some cities manage to do something with theirs other than let it sit mostly vacant.

We've all been thinking it…

Scott Feschuk writes:

We've since moved on to Guelph, where the PM will soon tape a CBC Town Hall thingy with Peter Mansbridge, renowned newsman, the only man in Canada powerful enough to make Rex Murphy sit in front of a computer all night and read emails on national television for some reason.

Tonight was the televised debate on the local community cable station. Gary did absolutely fantastic, speaking as best as I have ever seen him speak, and handling himself well during a question and answer session, more than holding his own against a very slick Conservative incumbent.

The best thing about hanging around the studio of a community is the sense that Wayne's World was less SNL comedy and more documentary. There are the cheesy sets that would barely pass muster at a high school play, the snappy but low-tech graphics work in the riding info (I swear, the visuals were actually a camera zooming in on different parts of a riding map), amd a score card of where the parties stood at dissolution that makes the election feel like a bantam football game.

But most importantly, there is the music, which seems to have been aquired from some forom of disused late 1970s training video which may have been entitled “Discovering the art of Cabinet design”.

Vote out Vellacott

I know that I've been bad about blogging, but I offer two mostly lame excuses:

1) I've been pretty busy.
2) Given the choice between blogging and sleep, I'll usually choose watching Battlestar Galactica.

But while I have some really funny stories to tell, including me spending a day with a former Toronto Maple Leaf that has actually won the Stanley Cup and a reasonably clever story about me pretending to be Godzilla over the prairies, I give you the unauthorized biography of Maurice Vellacott.

Hat tip: Calgarygrit

You Can Never Go Home Again

Another aphorism comes true.

(Big Update, including my totally unexciting flight to the flat and a reasonably exciting day with Frank "The Big M" Mahovlich coming soon. Possibly while I suffer from english-debate related ennui.)


Good friends of mine have just been told that they are (at least) the 29th best debaters in the world.

For the uninititated: this is hardly faint praise, and I couldn't be happier for them; but mostly I wish I was there to see them be told that they are of the top 16 in the world.