This is my own, totally unscientific projection. It’s based on trends that I’m not sure will bear out, but I’m applying them. I’m calling for an NDP Minority Government, with 110 to 140 seats in Parliament.
If You Aren’t Sure, Why Make The Call?
Why not? I might be right. On September 26, 2010 I wrote Stephen Harper And Michael Ignatief – The Men With The Most To Lose In The Next Election, in which I covered my reasoning for why there would be an election this year. I also covered my reasons for thinking it would disappoint both of them.
Tomorrow the polls open, and since September, things have happened in Ottawa. A partial list includes the Afghan detainee fiasco, the attempt to hand RCMP Chief Supt. Alphonse McNeil the Governor General’s Officer of the Order of Merit award for his work on the G20, not firing Bev Oda for modifying a signed document, and then lying about it before Parliament, arguing that the State has no responsibility to protect a class of citizens, because the State doesn’t approve of their life style, becoming the only government in the history of Parliamentary Democracy to be found in contempt of Parliament…
Why is My Information Different?
I monitor a lot of sources that the traditional media tends to ignore. These non-traditional sources have been delivering conflicting information for the last ten years. The conflict between what the traditional media reports, and what is happening online is a generational split.
The traditional media tends to be really good at following the opinions of people in my, and my father’s generations. They are still reporting from a 20th Century perspective. But this is the 21st Century, and we have two generations of voters now voting who are used to an always on, always connected, lifestyle. They tend to be slightly better informed in some ways, and slightly less informed in others.
And they think differently. A lot differently. Take the Facebook Poll PM Harper dismissed the contempt of Parliament finding against him, saying voters don’t care and it’s “not the substance” of an election. Is the contempt charge an issue? The Media hasn’t picked this up as an issue, and according to their audience, it isn’t. But Facebook users aren’t their audience. Facebook users are a different demographic. Typically they are younger (most are under fifty, more are under forty, even more are under thirty). As of this writing, 25,488 people think that the contempt ruling is of substance to the election, as compared to 3,529 who think it isn’t.
Historically younger voters (those under 30) haven’t voted in huge numbers. But the rumblings I’m hearing this time around is that more and more of them are planning on turning up at the polls. I have three children under thirty, and hear from them that their friends have been talking about voting.
So what if a wave of under thirty voters decide to show up at the polls?
It changes the demographics of the election. Totally. My parents generation is dying off. Both my parents are dead now, and my wife’s father is gone. These people tended to vote either Liberal or Conservative. Many people in my generation have also gone. Cancer is an equal opportunity killer. It nearly took my best man. It did take the cute girl I meet in Grade Four. Most of us tended to vote like our parents, either Liberal or Conservative.
The next generation down, well, things are different for them. Interactive communications have changed the way that younger people think.
Me, well, I’m a geek. I’ve been online since 1985, and on the internet since 1992. It makes me unusual for my generation. It also gives me a bit of insight into the way that the always on generation sees things, because I’m there too. I don’t always adopt the newest tech as soon as they do. But I usually know about it, and can see how they can use it, and how it can shape their thinking.
And right now the totality of the internet is pushing young people to get out and vote. As some of them are putting it, voting is ‘sexy’.
But Will They Show?
That’s the question. Our family voted on Easter Friday in the Advance Poll. I saw a number of young (estimated at under thirty) people voting. My kids know a lot of people who say they will be, or have voted.
In past elections when I’ve talked to people under the age of thirty, the usual response has been, ‘Why bother? Nothing I do will make a difference.’ That appears to have changed this election. I think that a lot of them will show, and that it will make a difference. Yes, I think that they will show. And that they will change Canadian Democracy.
Sunday May 1, 2011