January 23rd, 2006

[URBAN NOTE] Consumerism's Perils

Sitting across from me in the Dufferin bus, a beautiful woman with high cheekbones was exomplaining to her young daughter why they wouldn't be eating any McDonald's food.

-- If you eat a lot of it, you'll get fat and sick, and you'll have to spend time in the hospital. Only once every three months.

- I know, Mommy. Then we will go to TOYS"Я"US for a hundred days!

[BRIEF NOTE] Principled protest in academia or sheer stupidity?

I was surprised to find on the front page of today's Charlottetown's The Guardian, Caitlin McIntyre's "UPEI professor offers a pass for students to drop his course", describing David Weale's run-in with UPEI authorities.

A UPEI professor is the focus of some local and national scrutiny after his controversial decision challenged the university’s ethical and regulatory standards.

About two weeks ago, religious studies professor Dr. David Weale made a deal with the students in his history of Christianity course.

He offered the students a guaranteed 70 per cent grade on the condition that they stop attending his class.

As a result, about 20 students dropped the course in the hope that Weale’s promise would come to fruition.

Weale says the negotiation was necessary because, with about 100 students signed up, he felt the course was overbooked.

"There were people sitting on benches in the back taking notes on their knees," he said Sunday.

"I didn’t want my class to be like that, so I made a decision that within the conventional regulations of the university is quite a drastic and outrageous thing."


David Weale, for those of you reading this who aren't Islanders, is probably the highest-profile academic on Prince Edward Island, something of a celebrity thanks to his savvy connection to and support of traditional Island culture. Those of my readers who are academics can say, better than me, whether his form of protest was at all justifiable. Thoughts?

[BRIEF NOTE] This looks interesting.

Apologies for the lack of columns and rows, or at least tabs. Does anyone have some HTML recommendations?


CON 71 40 36.16%  
LIB 45 49 33.16%  
BQ 29 21 6.89%  
NDP 10 15 19.21%  
IND 0 1 .38%  
OTH 0 0 4.19%  



If this general pattern holds true, the Conservatives are going to have a very thin lead. It'll be interesting to see them try to govern.

[BRIEF NOTE] Election Update

As of ~10:40 PM, it looks like the Tories will have 110 seats versus the Liberals' 90. Compare this to the Liberals' 135-to-99 seat lead over the Tories in the 2004 election. This Conservative minority government won't last the year.

In other news, the CBC website keeps reporting the Greens to be in the lead in one riding. Here's hoping that they get a foothold in Parliament.

[BRIEF NOTE] Thoughts about the Tory minority government of 2006

http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/electionnight/

Brief summary: the Conservatives have won 95 seats and are leading in 29 for a total of 124; the Liberals have won 73 seats and are leading in 29 for a total of 102; the Bloc Québécois have won 46 seats and are leading in four for a total of 50; the NDP has won 14 seats and is leading in 16 for a total of 30; and, there's an independent seat. Nothing for the Green Party, unfortunately.

What does this mean? The Conservatives under Stephen Harper will form a minority government, true, but they will be weak. They will emerge from this, the 2006 Canadian federal election, with 124 or so seats to the Liberals' approxiamtely 102. Compare this to the results from the 2004 Canadian federal election, where the Liberals led the Conservative 135 seats to 99. The Tories have a much weaker hand than the Liberals under Paul Martin, and collaboration will be key?

Who can they collaborate with, though? The Liberals are out of the question, as is the social-democratic NDP (up 11 seats to a total of 30). The Bloc Québécois is a logical partner, given the strong roots of both parties in regionalism, but BQ leader Gilles Duceppe has warned of the imposition of made-in-Calgary policies and rejected any talk so far of a coalition government. It isn't as if this coalition government would necessarily work, what with the Conservatives being right-wing federalists and the Bloc being left-wing separatists, in this a mockery of Brian Mulroney's 1985-1991 coalition of Western regionalists and Québécois soft separatists.

Will we have another election this year? Hell yes. Unless the Tories and the Bloc can hammer out some sort of viable system of cooperation, Prime Minister Harper is going to have a shorter reign than Martin.

What will things look like in the meantime? Think Battle Royale. Canadian politics are getting vicious. Am I so wrong to be amused?

UPDATE (11:17 PM) : james_nicoll comments.

"Harper can't cut a deal with the Liberals. There aren't enough NDP to matter, quite, and adding in the IND only gets them to 154 seats, one short of a majority (plus, dealing-cutting with Socialists? That should last a long time). That leaves the Bloc, who Harper has refered to as "not really Canadian." I'm a-popping the popcorn now, for the election in March."
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