I voted yesterday, taking advantage of advance polls, because the weather was tolerable and you just never know, around here (Montreal area).
One of my sons accompanied me and voted too. Both are a few years above voting age and have had the opportunity before, but I always get this little maternal swell of pride thing, kind of like I'm part of a process that's bigger than any one person, going down through generations, with echoes of my mother's lectures to me on the historical importance of democracy and using one's ballot.
Those lectures were necessary because at the time we lived in Trudeau's own riding and voting sometimes seemed a little irrelevant to me. Those who are born into any sort of advantage tend to take it for granted, I suppose.
Perhaps ironically, the advance poll for this election was located in a local community center, the same one that my sons attended for nursery school, and we arrived at afternoon pick-up time. I'm glad my kids are grown but it was a nice memory to visit for a few moments.
There was a steady trickle of voters but we didn't have to wait very long. I remembered the room as being the one that used to house a little cafe, staffed by special needs students as a bridge to jobs in the food service industry. I have no idea what became of that initiative but I do remember one time when my younger son was slapped there by the daughter of an acquaintance, for what transgression remains unknown because they were not even two years old at the time.
Maybe she just felt like it, in which case no harm was done since he has earned the slap many times over since then.
(I'm not advocating violence but girls will be girls...)
So, once in the voting booth I always take a moment to read through the names, even if my mind is made up. Last time, in 2004, it was a bit of a jolt to see the candidate for the Marijuana Party listed first. This time there was no such candidate in my riding but we did have a Marxist-Leninist.
I voted Conservative, not wholeheartedly, not without pause, but the X counts for the same, regardless. In my mind, for practical purposes it's a Federalist X which is the most important thing in Quebec.
I'm encouraged by the news report that came out today regarding Gilles Duceppe having to backpedal some on his goal for this election. Fifty percent of the popular vote seems unlikely now so he has altered that to the more vague improve. Improve in seat count he probably will, but popular vote is another matter. If there is a significant move of Bloc voters to the Tories (or ANY party other than the Bloc) then those votes are not coming from pur laine separatists and their numbers remain too low to win a referendum.
While the Bloc will likely win my riding, it will be with a minority of the vote and will contribute to the resulting Conservative government being a minority.
You can tell, my enthusiasm for Harper's party is not overwhelming, but it's more enthusiasm than I can muster for any other party in their present incarnations.
We will see what they will do and how much and how fast the Liberals can reorganize.
Cross posted to the CTV Election Weblog