Melanee Thomas's blog

The Special Ballot: Why Young People Don't Vote?

By Melanee Thomas on Oct 8, 2008

I live in Montreal at least 10 months out of the year. However, my permant residence remains my parents' farm in south-western Alberta. Based on electoral law in Canada, I could vote in my riding back home, or I could vote in the riding I live in while at school.

In Montreal, I live in Gilles Duceppe's riding. He's going to easily take the seat, and I don't want to give the Bloc the $2 that goes along with my vote (thanks to Bill C-24, passed in 2003). In Alberta, my riding (Macleod) contains five reservations, and there's a First Nation's candidate on the ballot for a party I'm happy to see my $2 go to. As a result, I needed to get a special ballot to vote in Alberta. 

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More Interesting Campaign Signs in Montreal

By Melanee Thomas on Oct 7, 2008

I've noted earlier in the campaign how different and interesting campaign signs are in Quebec. A few more have gone up in the neighborhood that warrant mention.

My local Green candidate *finally* got signs up for the last week of the campaign. They are very pretty, featuring the Green candidate in a nice park (probably Parc LaFontaine, being in the riding and all). What makes it interesting is that there's a tag line on the sign referring to personal environmental sovereignty. The Green candidate ties support for Quebec sovereignty with environmental support. 

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Could the NDP elect a member in Alberta?

By Melanee Thomas on Oct 6, 2008

I'm sure all political observers in Alberta would agree that Edmonton Strathcona is the Conservative's weakest seat in Alberta. Harold Jansen figures the Conservatives will take it, but this just might make it more interesting.

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The Bloc has Margaret Atwood's vote (but not mine)

By Melanee Thomas on Oct 5, 2008

I love Margaret Atwood. I remember nearly losing it for laughing during an oral book report in high school relaying the funeral scene in Life Before Man, being stunned when I finished the Handmaiden's Tale as a young undergraduate, and adoring the uniqueness of the Penelopiad last year. Imagine my surprise when this woman, who I'd characterise as a large influence on my development as a feminist, said she'd vote Bloc if given the chance as there's no real alternative in Quebec.

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Plagarism is Always Wrong, Mr. Harper.

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 30, 2008

At least that's what every decent undergraduate student knows.

Thanks to the sands of time, I find this kind of bald-faced policy mistake hilarious. It's illuminating as I've suspected Harper has been coordinated with a variety of interests for quite some time. Much of the anti-Bloc campaign in Quebec seemed too slick to be coincidental. Harper strikes me as the kind of leader who micro-manages every detail of any action plan to the "T", ensuring each operative knows their role in executing the plan. I just assumed he was too savvy to be so blatant, or smart enough to realise a number of people would think, "hmm. That sounds awfully similar. Let's compare the text." 

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Platform Report Cards: Grading the Parties on Education

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 30, 2008

Now that all the party platforms have been released, we can expect a plethora of report cards on the details of the platforms to be released by a number of advocacy groups. I received my first today from the Canadian Federation of Students. The CFS, representing over half a million post-secondary students from coast to coast, evaluated the party platforms on tuition fees, student aid, Aboriginal education, Graduate Students & Research, Copyright reform, and funding for universities and colleges in both English and French.

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Electoral Political Remains a Man's Game. For Shame.

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 29, 2008

In the midst of running what seems to be an endless sequence of statistics demonstrating persistent gender differences in political engagement in Europe (read: what dissertation research will do to you), I must admit to deliberately avoiding local Canadian stats on women's involvement in the current federal election.

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Media Leading Polls by the Nose?

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 24, 2008

Today, I went to a talk given by Dr. Stuart Soroka entitled, "I know what's going to happen five days from now." Soroka, one of the founding members of the Media Observatory at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and his research team investigate how news media affects poll results. He argues that there's about a four to six day lag between when a story breaks in the news and when it shows up in public opinion polls. Based on data from the current election campaign, Soroka's willing to bet that both the Liberals' and Conservatives' polling numbers go up over the weekend.

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Liberal Party Releases Platform - The Response is Deafening

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 23, 2008

Has anyone else noticed that the Liberals released their full platform yesterday, and hardly anyone has said a word about it? It's as though the collective response has been *crickets chirping*. 

I did see on CBC Newsworld this morning that the English and French political bureau chiefs indicated that Dion's performance "wasn't bad" ... specifically, it wasn't as bad as John Turner's in 1988. 

I don't remember the 1988 Liberal platform announcement, but based on what was relayed about it, particularly the child care portion, the fact that the media is comparing Dion's announcement yesterday to Turner in 1988 is not good. 

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If this is what Jed Bartlett would say to Barak Obama, imagine what he'd say to Canadians

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 22, 2008

Admittedly, this is a pretty good way to start a Monday at the office.

What I appreciate most about the West Wing in general and Jed Bartlett's character in particular is the no-nonsense way in which things are called for what they are. I think this assessment of recent events in the US election cycle is spot on. 

After reading this, I thought (not for the first time) that what I really wanted to see south of the border was Barlett for America. 

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Vengence is not a victim's right.

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 22, 2008

If elected, Stephen Harper announced today that protections within the Youth Criminal Justice Act are history.

I'll make no bones about this one: this proposed policy change isn't about making anyone more safe. It is very unclear to me how naming a child who's done something terrible increases public safety or provides deterrence. It seems more likely to me that this feeds society's darker penchants for voyeurism and vengence. 

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What do Farmers Want this Election?

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 18, 2008

How about a Minister who isn't incompetent?

Admittedly, when I relayed the "death by a thousand cold cuts" idiocy to my roommate this morning, he almost spat out his coffee for laughing. What really irks me as a farm kid is that farmers get stuck with moronic Ministers of Agriculture who, among other things, don't know when to tell, or not tell, gross jokes. It seems to me that avoiding such quips on a conference call with non-political, non-partisan staff would be a no brainer.

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Collective Action at Work: the Anti-Harper Vote Swap

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 16, 2008

I heard about this on The Current this morning and thought two things:

1) Fantastic example of collective action!

2) How is this NOT political?!

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Crisis Within the Bloc

By Melanee Thomas on Sep 16, 2008

Even with new media reports nearly every day in Quebec of separatist politicians taking a swipe at the Bloc, I was reluctant to believe there was a real problem within the party. Rather, I thought some separatists might be more inclined to sway voters to a different party (odd as that might sound).

I'm beginning to realise, however, that it's both: colleagues of mine much closer to the Bloc suggest there is a "genuine crisis" and it centres around the idea that right-wing viewpoints and ideas are no longer welcome within the party.

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