Bad News, Good News

The surprising news that the Conservatives are looking more competitive in Quebec is actually a bit of a mixed blessing for Harper.

Recent numbers, including one from Ekos, show Conservative fortunes rising in Quebec. They are in upper-teen territory, and the Ekos poll shows them within two points of overtaking the Liberals as the second choice of Quebeckers. However, a fair chunk of Conservative support appears to be bleeding from the Bloc Quebecois. While the BQ remains monsterously popular, two polls place the party significantly below 50%, which could mean that Conservative support is spread out through the province, rather than concentrated in a handful of Liberal ridings in the west end of Montreal and the Outaouais region.

This means that the increase in Conservative support won’t translate into many Quebec seats, yet. And it also means that the lead they’ve gained on the Liberals (with the latest Star poll suggesting the Conservatives are ahead, 35-31-17-11-4 — note the BQ are at their lowest level at 11%, here) isn’t coming primarily from battleground regions like Ontario or British Columbia. If the Conservatives were at 35% nationally and were placing badly in Quebec, they’d be in line for more seats in the rest of the country.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there’s still a lot of campaign time left, and the Conservatives have found momentum in a part of the country they didn’t expect. Keep this up, and the Conservatives could end up with Quebec seats. Maybe no more than three, but enough that Harper could look at his new caucus and call himself the leader of a national government. And that prospect has to have him grinning from ear to ear.

As for the rest of us, this news means that the Bloc’s support in Quebec is bolstered by federalist voters disgusted with the Liberals rather than being solely comprised of Quebeckers interested in sovereignty. Given access to a credible federalist alternative, some of those voters may switch. With the NDP sitting at a decent 10% in Quebec, a majority of voters in that province still believe in being a part of the Canadian federation.

And that should have Canadians grinning from ear to ear.

Weird Things About Me

I’ve been tagged to reveal five things about myself that I think others might consider wierd. The problem with this meme is that what I think others might find wierd, and what others find wierd about me may not be the same thing, and it is tempting fate to write about this on a place where others might comment. But I’m hard-up on things to write about, so here goes:

  1. I’m more superstitious than you might think. Although I have gradually weened myself from superstitious behaviour, there are two things that I still do, or refuse to do. One, whenever I knock over the salt, I will always toss some over my left shoulder. Two, I will not sign my name in red ink if I can help it. The first superstition is classic European, while the other one is Chinese, I’m told. I’ve also just weened myself of a superstition about always starting my day, literally, on the right foot. I have no real inclination to ween myself of the last two superstitions because I think they add an air of eccentricity to me.
  2. A weird superstition that I held (fortunately briefly) in high school was that I was never to touch my foot on the thirteenth step of a stairwell. I would count my steps as I went up (or down) the stairs and when I got to twelve, I’d skip the thirteenth step, planting my foot on step fourteen. This was a particularly cumbersome superstition because, on stairwells that I was familiar with, going up or down, I’d skip the thirteenth step going up or going down. For instance, if a flight of stairs had eighteen steps, I’d have to avoid the fifth step going up, because it was also the thirteenth step going down. It invited disaster, it did, though usually only when I nearly tripped myself on the thirteenth step, thus making this a surprisingly easy superstition to reinforce.
  3. I talk to myself. Pretty much constantly. I formulate arguments in my head, and I work on articles and blog posts. I’m talking to myself right now — at least in my head — as I write this material down.
  4. I tend to compare my stories not to other people’s stories, but to individual songs. For instance, when I want to think of the overall impact I’d like The Unwritten Girl to have, I listen to Tori Amos’ Cornflake Girl. It’s more than just having a soundtrack to go with your stories — I do that too. Consider it something like a theme song. The Night Girl’s is Tori Amos’ Sweet the Sting.
  5. I am into subways and streetcars more than is probably normal for a human being. But then, you already knew that, didn’t you?

And I tag… Greg Bester at Sinister Thoughts, Bob Tarantino at Let it Bleed, Greg Staples at Political Staples, Jay Currie and, of course, Dave at Blogography.

Edited to Add

Number 5 isn’t very weird, is it? On reflection, here are two candidates that are worth adding.

The first one comes from Erin. I’m weird because my wife has written a book of poetry on my sexual prowress.

Okay, maybe that’s just bragging.

The second one is this: four years ago, a mysterious force entered our house and turned our furniture upside down. I’m actually not kidding about this.

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