Saturday, April 16, 2011

Something's Happenin' Here....



Not-so-hopeful Update that helps further the Stephen Harper voter suppression strategy can be found at the bottom of the post

C. and littler e. were off doing something fun with our friend M. last night that included the Whack-A-Doodle.

And Bigger E. was out rabble-rousing with, get this, her out of control 'Reach For The Top' team.

Which meant that I got to stay at the lab late on a Farrelly Brothers Friday night working on a paper which we think is pretty important because it will add another brick in the growing wall that we helped start that is this.


The upshot of all this is that when I finally left the building I couldn't help but notice that the atrium of the building was filled with kids really, really working.


Because it is final exam time and these kids take this stuff seriously.

Way more seriously than I ever did back in the days when Gradual School and Fed Gov - sponsored post-doctoral fellowships to go to crazy-ass biotech meccas like the Bay Area were little more than a gleam in my tiny post punk-addled mind.


However, even back in the old days when I was an undergraduate I did manage to grasp the truism that right-sided pols hated being forced to run elections when school was in session.

Because if they did it could turn the results of safe, well-heeled neighbourhoods upside down.

Kind of like what happened in West Pointiest Grey when our friend Mr. Reid's horse, Darlene Marzari, made it safe for the socialist hordes, not to mention the socially aware campus Lutherans, to storm the gates at the corner of Wesbrook and University Blvds way back in 1991.

Or some such thing.


So, I think we can be pretty certain that Mr. Stephen Harper and his minions likely heaved a heavy sigh of relief when they realized that the upcoming Federal Election would land in early May after most kids have left their college campuses and gone home for the summer.


The kids, aided by all their pyramid power-driven social media tools, got smart sometime in April, and started doing stuff like this:

About 300 University of Guelph students took part in a non-partisan rally during Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the city Monday.Sporting face paint and wearing red and white clothing to symbolize Canada, the students gathered on Branion Plaza around 3 p.m.

They then made the trek as a group across campus to the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre.They waited in the rain on the edge of the hotel’s property for Harper’s buses to arrive.

The students carried a banner reading: “Surprise. We Are Voting” and chanted, "We will vote!" as others banged drums and played the bagpipes.

And they did.

Vote that is.

Which of course drove Mr. Harpers minions crazy and has likely given them another reason to try and make Elections Canada go the way of the longform census:

OTTAWA (Apr 15, 2011) — Elections Canada says ballots cast at the University of Guelph are valid.

The elections watchdog has issued a statement slapping down a Conservative party effort to have the votes annulled.

Elections Canada agrees the special balloting at the university was not pre-authorized before the election campaign, as it should have been.

Nevertheless, the agency says the votes were "cast in a manner that respects the Canada Elections Act and are valid."

The Conservatives had complained about the process, alleging that its local campaign scrutineer had not been allowed into the room and that Liberal campaign material had been seen in the voting area.

However, Elections Canada says all information at its disposal indicates the proceedings were above board.

About 700 ballots were cast Wednesday as part of a "vote mob" organized by students to encourage young people to participate in the election.

But here's the real thing.

Student-organized 'Vote Mobs' are not just for Guelph anymore.

Because there are now 18 of them scheduled all across the country.

And I just realized that, despite my age, I can go take part in one that is happening next week that is only a two minute bike ride from the lab.


The kids really are alright.

Update: Because I was working late in the lab last night I missed this. It would appear that the voter suppression strategy that was breech-birthed last time round, is back, assisted once again by a newly scared-straight and narrowest of narrow E-Canada.



Grant G said...

Thank You Ross K....Did you hear, a Conservative party member attempted to run out will ballot boxes in hand, fortunately he was cut off and his stolen loot returned.

This youth vote thing, fantastic, the whole political landscape changes if young people vote...Also, most young people aren`t subject to any of the polling companies.

Expect some surprising results, as for voter suppression, why would advance voting days be on Good Friday and Easter Monday?

Good Day

Anonymous said...

Michael Sona the conservative that tried to disrupt the election and grab a ballot box is a former student and the former president of campus conservatives at U of G and a potential candidate in future federal elections.

Special polling stations have been organized at Univ campuses for the past three elections without an incident or disruptions during voting hours. Cons had full three weeks to file a complaint as the University had advertised it since late march. When EC authorized a special polling station they did nothing. Then they tried to disrupt the vote while it was underway.

EC has now ruled that the votes were valid and that the returning officer was present and overseeing the vote. No party scruitineers are needed for special votes as the ballots are not counted on the same day. Unfortuantely, Elections Canada in order to avoid further controversies allowed itself to be intimidated by the Cons and has now decided to shut down special voting at all campuses. At the end of the day Harper cons win another battle for their style of "democracy" that thrives on voter supression, intimidation and low turn out producing smear campaigns.

Some cons are even suggesting that international students might have voted(UofG has very few). As if EC returining officers were there just handing out ballots to anyone who walked in. The rules for valid voter registration and ID still apply in special voting but then nothing rallies up the base more than some party loyalists blaming those foreigners(Mcleans anyone!!) at the universities. I guess the cons would like to see special voting limited to military bases and nursing homes for seniors i.e for favourable demographics.

BC Mary said...

The kids really are all right. RossK, I heard about the anti-Harper web-site, too, and your famous words came back to me. Here's what I posted yesterday:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Anti-Harper web-site goes viral!
Vancouver-based anti-Harper website attracts 2 million hits in first 4 days.

As our good friend, RossK at Pacific Gazette says so often, "The kids are all right."

Visit the whole wonderful story and see the 4 kids who created the website.

They get it. Go here (Margaret Atwood did) and be refreshed:


RossK said...

Thanks Grant and Mary--

I agree.

If kids really do start voting in non-polled, non land line-tethered droves it would be a fantastic thing indeed.



Thanks a million for the on-the-ground insight.

Can you point me towards something that confirms the foreign student allegations?

You can post a link here or send me a message at:

pacificgazette at yahoo dot ca

Thanks again - and thanks even more for helping re-inspire this old codger.


Anonymous said...

Thank you RossK for providing an insider link to "this".... medical library.

I heard, once upon a time, that Howe Sound was the largest breeding ground for tick aka lyme disease, and now all these new homes are going up via the Sea to Sky Highway developments.

ref: How Big Is the Lyme Problem? Using Novel Methods to Estimate the True Number of Lyme Disease Cases in British Columbia Residents from 1997 to 2008.

Henry B, Roth D, Reilly R, Macdougall L, Mak S, Li M, Muhamad M.

1 British Columbia Centre for Disease Control , Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract Lyme disease (LD) is rare in British Columbia (BC) and, despite being a reportable condition since 1994, may be underreported. Here we review all provincial laboratory and clinical databases to determine the number of LD cases reported in BC from 1997 to 2008. We analyzed demographic characteristics of LD cases and used capture-recapture methodology to estimate the true number of cases in BC for this period. From 1997 to 2008, 93 confirmed cases of LD were reported in BC. Conservative capture-recapture estimates place the true number of LD cases in BC during this period at 142 (95% confidence interval: 111-224), indicating up to 40% underreporting of this rare disease. Despite this underreporting, BC continues to have low endemic risk of LD. Strategies are needed to increase both physician awareness and the use of preventive measures in the BC population, including for those traveling to other endemic areas.

Grant G said...

Pass it on.

Grant G said...

I thought this would be appropriate.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

If young voters were similarly organized in places like Surrey they could take over the political machine lock, stock and barrel. In other places all the youth organizing in the world would not raise enough dust to raise a sneeze.

Anonymous said...

@RossK: The info came from someone who is currently attending UofG. He says the reformcon rumour mill had taken over the town and the sorrounding rural areas. These rumours included the one mentioned above and that the students voted without ID or the usual "they voted twice" allegation. Off course they were proven to be false and elections Canada said the votes are valid and that the returning officers followed all the rules.

This thing had been very well advertised and the president of the university even promised to paint his face Avataar blue if more than a certain number of students voted. The attempted disruption was just a show of force by con musclemen to intimidate these young voters who were most likely to vote ABC in a closely contested riding. Also, to make it look controversial so that all other special polls on campuses across the country would be shut down by EC, which they succeeded in doing.

Check out the ugly faces of ballot box grabbing reformcons in the link below.

RossK said...

Thanks Grant.

I dunno. There are a whole lotta votes in those there dens of post-secondary iniquity.

Very helpful - thanks. Follow-up post coming...


RossK said...

Anon-Way-Above Re: Lyme's Disease.

Sorry, I am cell biologist who does post-genomic functional analyses in very specialized cell types. In other words I'm a cell/gene wonk who knows nothing of epidemiology. For me to give advice on the regional incidences of insect-borne diseases would be like a face-off specialist telling someone how to run the NHL.

Again, sorry about that.