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Here's my story of my brief fling as a Liberal.

So, never having joined a political party in the past, I joined the Liberal party a couple of months ago because they opened the leadership vote up to the general public. Backstory to this is that the Liberal MP from here, Ted Hsu endorsed a candidate that wanted to do a one-time deal with the Greens and the NDP where ridings that would go with a minority vote to liberals because the bulk of the votes would be split among the L/N/G parties, that they would withdraw their candidate. There's pros and cons to this approach, but Kingston, for example, is a town where the Mayor is almost always elected on a minority, and it is sometimes accused (I'm not saying names) that friends or other "interested" parties offer themselves as candidates simply to split the opposition vote. Which works in a town where nearly all votes are, to some degree, protest votes....

But what was interesting this time is that the social networking political action groups were signing people up to the Liberal Party in droves in order to get this candidate (Joyce Murray) into the leadership, rather than the swingin', sexy, re-incarnation of Trudeau in the form of his son Justin (for you Americans, it was like John Kennedy Jr. to the Democrats).

The problem I have with Justin is that he's a small-c conservative, pretty much like Obama and Clinton. But with daddy's coattails to ride on instead of years of campaigning, grassroots, and heavy political experience.

The main issues right now are that the Conservatives in this country are not like the conservatives in the States. They're not stupid and ignorant. They are crafty, well-educated, and have the killing instinct. Right now, they are gutting all of Canada's ecological protection acts, immigration policies, civil service competence, and labour protections in order to ram American-style coprporate hegemony into place.

In other words, bring the Reagan/Thatcher corporate coup to Canada. There is little in the world I still fear, but this is one of them. It's like having Lothlórien turned into a Renfair.

For me, I had hoped this was a test case for an idea I had. I had thought, OK, if the NRA is a membership organization, then what would happen if a million liberal scum signed up and insisted that the NRA defend the rights of citizens to bear arms responsibly. The hidden rider in this agenda is to end corporate sponsorship, so that Colt, General Dynamics, Glock, et al can stop using it as a astroturf-generator for support for assault rifle sales to civilians and blocking U.S. Government support for small arms controls (to get the Chinese AK-47s out of the hands of chaat-chewing adolescents and serial rapists from the Lake Country).

Well, it was a total widdle if you look at the figures. 80% for the sexy sax-playing prince of Canada, and only 10% for Joyce Murray.

Except...

When it came to voting, they used a ranking system. You had to give votes in the order that they were preferred candidates, and there were six candidates. Which means that the number two slot was worth 5 points to the number one's 6.

And I'll just bet that most of the activists who joined up to vote in the Liberal leadership caucus just looked at the four crusty gimme-some-validation career Liberals who had been hoping for a return to the good old days of power and prestige for their party and said, "who the f---- are they?" and put TV spokesman and all-around-charming-guy into number two slot.

So, jury still out on that one. I wonder if the NRA voting system is similar.