- The Liberals win three out of four elections, losing the only one where expectations were already low. They also add the considerable talents of Bob Rae and Martha Hall Findlay to their front benches. So, Dion’s not going to go away anytime soon. However, the results from Vancouver Quadra were a lot closer than they should have been, so the questions about his leadership aren’t going away either.
- While the Conservatives can crow about their victory in northern Saskatchewan and the close call in Vancouver Quadra, it’s a little hollow. Except for Ralph Goodale’s own riding (which admittedly would be quite a plum), these guys have nowhere else to grow in Saskatchewan. They finished fourth in Toronto Centre, weren’t close in Willowdale and, despite the close contest in Vancouver Quadra, made very few gains on their popular support. Don’t forget that, when the Liberals had the disastrous night in Outremont, it wasn’t the Conservatives who benefitted, it was the NDP. The Conservatives are not making much traction in big-city Canada where they were effectively shut out.
- Jack Layton barely escaped a tough night. For the longest while, Green Party candidate Chris Tindal was in second place in Toronto Centre. The Greens also led the NDP on occasion in Vancouver Quadra, and actually beat the NDP in Willowdale. Had the Greens maintained those leads, winning three out of the four runners-up contests against the NDP that night, it would have been something for the media to talk about, as the NDP had no low expectations to exceed. It’s conceivable, even now, that the media may start talking about the Greens as a challenger for the NDP’s third party status. Layton certainly was unable to capitalize on the general voter malaise over the equally unpalatable Conservative and Liberal choices.
So, the Greens had a good night. Not as good as it would have been if they’d placed second or third in three out of the four ridings, but they still took over 8,700 votes in the four by-elections, or a remarkable 10.2% of the total vote — higher even than their record 8% take in the Ontario provincial election. They also almost played spoiler in Vancouver Quadra, since it was the fact that they appeared to bleed off Liberal support that put the riding in contention for a Conservative upset.
This combined with the fact that the turnout was abysmal (no more than a lousy 34%, even in a race as competitive as northern Saskatchewan) again points to the fact that the voters find the Liberal and Conservative choices equally unpalatable, and are shopping around for alternatives. The Greens have managed to capture some of that interest, but the vast majority appear to have stayed home.
Aurora Gets a Little Bit Evil
Here’s a little snippet of The Dream King’s Daughter from later in the story. Here, Aurora and Polk are being stalked by Salvadore, a henchman, who has decided to up the ante. What he doesn’t know is that Aurora has learned how to use some of her powers, and she decides to put them to good use…
For some reason, I see the role of Salvadore being played by Simon Pegg. Is that just me?
Polk reared back, crying out. His body shook and jerked. Aurora yelled, horrified, as he collapsed. Behind him, Salvadore blew across the nozzle of his taser.
Aurora glared at him. “You!” she snarled.
He smiled at her and began fishing through is pockets.
“What is this, the third time you’ve tried to catch me?” she said. “I’m surprised your employer keeps you that long.”
“Actually,” said Salvadore cheerily, “He terminated my employment.” He beamed at her. “I was lucky to escape with my life.” He found what he was looking for and pulled out a new nozzle for the taser. He reloaded. “So, he’s thrown your capture onto the open market. I intend to charge a high price.”
Aurora’s eyes narrowed. She looked past him, down the store. A flurry of cans rose up two aisles over, like a metal dust storm. She looked back at Salvadore. “If you hurt me, he’ll kill you.”
“True,” said Salvadore. “But I suspect that if I threaten to kill you, I might gain considerable leverage. So, will you come quietly? Oh, of course not. Silly me.” He slid the new pins into place.
There was a sound of clanking feet. It was a strangely hollow, metallic sound, with the hint of sloshing liquid.
Clomp! Clomp! Clomp!
Curled up on the floor, Polk looked up. He scrambled back in horror.
Two aisles down, a scarecrow figure of canned vegetables marched into view. A smile crept across Aurora’s face as it turned and clanked up to Salvadore, stopping a pace behind him, can of bean hands on baby carrot hips.
Salvadore stopped working on his taser. He looked at Aurora, her thin smile. He moved his eyes to try and look behind him without turning his head. He looked back at Aurora.
Aurora’s smile widened. She raised one eyebrow.
Salvadore swallowed. Then he turned. And looked up.
The monster looked down at him with its extra large can of tomato soup for its head. Salvadore’s arms dropped to his sides in despair. “Aw, fu—”
Salvadore cleared the shelves two aisles away and landed in the pineapple display. Tin Can Man clanked slowly after him.
Polk staggered to his feet, clutching his side. Aurora helped him up. “That…” he gasped, “…was evil,” gasped Polk.
“No,” said Aurora. “This is evil.” She cackled, and pointed at the ceiling. Immediately her voice echoed off the store’s PA system. “Cleanup in aisle three!”
Behind them, they heard another clonk!
I have to admit, this image was inspired by this remarkable short film, Terminus: