Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Up in the air

Good christ but I still don't know who I'm going to vote for in the federal election. Which is pure weirdness. I normally have a clue pretty early on in the process who I'm going to vote for. If I lived in St. John's East, I would have voted for Craig Westcott, even though he was a Conservative. I heard that a lot from people when I was back in St. John's, actually. "I'd vote for Craig, but I just can't support Harper."

And in a weird twist, I actually could have voted for him. Just before heading home I popped into Elections Canada to get my voter registration straightened out. I didn't receive a card in the mail, but figured it was just a mix up. We were in Nunavut, but we'd changed mailing addresses since the 2006 election. This is roughly the conversation I had with an Elections Canada official.

Me: Yeah, I just want to get my voter registration fixed. I voted here in 2006, but have since moved, so I guess my registration got sent to the wrong address.

Elections Canada Official: Well, give me your name and I'll check for you.

Me: (gives name)

ECO: Well, it seems you're not registered to vote in Nunavut.

Me: Well, I voted here in 2006 so that's weird. Where am I registered to vote?

ECO: (clicks a few more keys) St. John's East.

Me: (A string of profanity that lasts several seconds.) I have a friend running in that district and I'm heading there in a few days for a visit.

ECO: Huh. If you hadn't told us that, you could have went home, voted in the advance poll then come back up here and voted again.

Me: Are you serious?

ECO: Oh yes. I'm not saying you should have or that it was right, but I doubt we would have caught you.

Me: (More profanity).

Oh, and just to rub salt into the wounds, when I arrived at Dad's house, my voter registration card was there waiting for me. So yup, could have voted for Westcott. Fuck.

Anyway, as for voting up here, still trying to decide. Leona Aglukkaq is pretty much out. I could have held my nose and voted for Harper knowing Westcott would be in a caucus meeting making his life difficult. But I don't know Aglukkaq well enough to trust her to overcome my many concerns regarding Harper.

And for those wondering what some of those concerns are, they include a staggering disconnect with the Canadian public (yes, now is a good time to go and find some good stock deals. Dear God....), his refusal to deal with the national media in any kind of mature manner (you may not like them, but they play an important role and ignoring them is beyond foolish) and my concerns about what kind of evil, draconian copyright policy he would ram through with a majority government.

So no to the Conservatives if I have to vote up here.

That leaves Liberal Kirt Ejesiak and Paul Irngaut of the NDP. Yes, I know Green party candidate Peter Ittinuar is out there, but he feels entirely too much like a warm body the Green's threw at the riding to avoid embarrassment rather than a serious attempt to win the seat or a serious attempt to address Nunavut issues.

Of the two who are left, I don't know yet. I'm voting after work today. Anyone want to try and sway me in the last few hours of the campaign?

Last Five
1. Down to the river to pray (live) - Allison Kruass and Union Station*
2. It's different for girls - Joe Jackson
3. 1972 - John Rouse
4. Window - Fiona Apple
5. Clap your hands - They Might be Giants


Mireille Sampson said...

It is a good time to shop for bargains on the stock markets, but that's something for a financial planner or stockbroker to say. A politician should be looking at the people he represents and realizing that many are losing jobs, all are facing down a recession and a severe financial crisis which has - and will continue to - change the financial industry dramatically. Anyone who is retired or about to has seen their RRSP take a major hit and they don't have employment income to take advantage of cheap stocks. While Canadian banks are considered to be better off than others, they've still been getting money from the gov't, so robust is not a word to use and I'm sure people are concerned about what may happen with them.

Considering Harper's remarks on the economy and how bad a hit Ontario's taking with lay-offs, I was surprised to see them make gains there. It's too boring to read about, but I'm guessing they voted that way because they're pissed with liberals on a provincial level.

Mireille Sampson said...

Are you going to start a betting pool on how long it takes the liberals to toss Dion?

towniebastard said...

I'm sure it's not original, but my father gave me my favourite quote on the whole "now's a good time to buy stocks!" advice that so many people, including my financial advisor, were giving during the recent chaos.

"Trying to buy stocks at their lowest point is a like trying to catch a falling sword. You have a better chance of grabbing the blade than the hilt."

We're down about 5%, which I consider nothing short of miraculous, so I'm happy enough with that. I'm also happy to wait until things stop dropping 900 points one day and going up 800 the next. A little stability first, if you please, before you get more of my money.

As for Dion, I say he jumps in a few weeks, rather than wait for the knives.

Mireille Sampson said...

I'm probably going to sound like a broken record and like I'm going against all good sense and feel free to ignore, *but*...

I appreciate your father's sentiment, and I've heard it before. But that's what dollar-cost averaging (buying regularly throughout the year) is for. Instead of making one yearly contribution. This whole year in front of us is likely going to see a whole lot of lows, regardless of whether something's at -35% from it's high or -45% from it's high it's still a discount, and a pretty deep one at that.

To buy at 12 (or 26 if you contribute per paycheque) times a year, you're unlikely to always being buying on those odd bouncebacks that happen and far more likely to hit a lot of good discounts. And having the same amount of money alloted every time you contribute means you automatically buy more mutual fund units when stock prices are cheaper (aka lower risk with strongest likelihood of future growth returns) and you buy few units when they are more expensive (aka higher risk, less likley to show good returns). This is almost autopilot stuff and removes the need to avoid the volatility, but it does take guts to do it now because everyone is so frightened.

The only place I'd be scared to buy stocks now, if I lived there, is Iceland. There's talk of the whole country going bankrupt - and with the (now nationalised) banks' foreign liabilities more than 7 times GDP, it's hard to think of how they can avoid that.

The most dangerous times to buy stocks isn't now, it was 2006 when everything was high and had almost nowhere to go but down. The thing was, unless you were psychic, you couldn't have known that.