Monday, April 18, 2011

Rick Mercer, The Non-Partisan Democracy Crusader

Rick Mercer's crusade to get students to vote at University instead of back home is being heralded by the Canadian comedian as a completely non partisan effort. He's in this for the kids, not the Liberal Party. Normally I would not object to a campaign to encourage voter participation, but Rick is taking it a step further saying that there should be early voting stations in every University campus in the country so we may herd them up in "flash mobs" and send them to vote en masse. I would be interested to know just how much partisan involvement there was in or near these flash mobs. All those people wearing red were just showing their support for Canada, right? I'm sure that thought never crossed the mind of Lester B Pearson when he decided to make the Canadian flag the same colours as the Liberal Party...

The convenient truth is that students have more voting flexibility than the majority of Canadians, as they can choose to vote either at home or at school. Even if they don't have a local address on their drivers license, all they need is two pieces of mail with their University address to be allowed to vote there. If you are a parent with a child in University coming home soon, perhaps you should call your local Elections Canada office and ask them where your children are supposed to vote. When an election happens in the middle of a school semester, students are encouraged to vote at school because they live there and can't necessarily make it home. This time it is different, because most students will be home on election day. Parents should be encouraging their children to vote.

I doubt the sincerity of Rick Mercer when he says that these flash mobs and his encouragement of them does not have any partisan objectives.


  1. It makes me sick that my taxes are used to pay for Rick Mercer. There is no way he could make it anywhere else, except on the CBC. I pray for a Conservative majority and then I pray they privatize the CBC and make it compete with other stations. They wouldn't last a year. Mercer is just looking for publicity for himself, he doesn't give a rats a$$ about democracy or the students.


  2. Can't wait for SNN.

    On Question Period yesterday Giggles left me wondering about the U of G election when she and Rick Mercer feigned surprise and merriment because a Conservative rep tried to grab the vote box. They didn't say why he had done so.
    Did he just walk in off the street and decide to run off with the voting box? Or did he see something that reeked of partisanship and got his blood boiling? Giggles didn't report on anything other than the Conservative trying to take the vote box and they stressed how that was illegal.
    If there were Liberal posters all over the place like I had heard from one news source then he did indeed have reason to be concerned.

    I'm working the election in my hometown and the Elections Canada rules expressly forbid ANY party signs not only inside the polling station but also anywhere in the building and even on the grounds. I don't know where the signs were that the Conservative candidate was concerned about but if they were in the hallway leading to the polling station then that was a violation of Elections Canada rules governing elections.

  3. Elections Canada is behaving like a partisan agency of the Liberal Party. The question is whether this is coming from the top management of EC???

  4. It seems to be the NDP gaining from Mercer's votemob campaign and the Liberals attack ads...

    Oh, about that Lib attack ad

    Libs caught lying:

  5. Question-- since they are voting in the riding of the university they attend, I'm guessing they're electing the local candidate there, yes? So a riding is swamped by the votes of outsiders who then go home. The local community is represented by a member elected by the votes of a bunch of people who have no vested long-term interest the area? Seriously?

  6. Rick Mercer working for the CBC Liberal war room.

  7. Check out this article from 2006 where the Liberals had capus polls shut down.

    Found this link through a commenter at the London Free Press.

  8. Rick Mercer for senate? Has a nice ring to it? Maybe the young Trudeau promised him something? (real conservative)

  9. Just which riding(s) will the students be allowed to vote for? The one in which the ballot box is physically located (i.e., where the university sits), the one where they reside while at university, or the one where their parents reside? Also, someone needs to tell Mr Mercer that school is OUT well before election day, and most students will have returned 'home'. I wonder how many of the Guelph voters will vote again on election day.

  10. Being a student myself, I can attest that many of my friends who are interested in voting will not be at home because of exams, summer classes, or internships. Unless the students do not have a drivers license with their home address, they will be voting for their own riding (the address is on our drivers license). If they are instead voting in the riding that their school is in, I think it is mostly fair. I have payed at least $20,000 per year for the past 4 years (usually one term for the government) in tuition, food, rent etc. and have been living in the city where my school is for 8-10 months out of the year.
    If you watch these "mobs" their a bunch of students who are smiling, dancing, waving and running around. It encouraged me to do some of my own investigation into politics which I had never really done before. Ultimately, I think that despite it seeming more "right" sided it will still have a really good effect on voter turnout in the future which is ultimately very good for democracy. Maybe it will inspire some more left sided competition for making students aware.

  11. Elections Canada is supposed to encourage people to vote at their permanent address, but the inconvenient truth is that students can vote in either riding. You don't have to vote at the address on your driver's license if you have 1-2 pieces of mail at your school address. EC can't tell the difference between temporary residents and recently moved at the time of the election, and it would cost a lot of money to do an investigation on each multi-riding resident after the fact.

    There is no reason to set up a special voting station at a University Center ahead of advance polls when you are not extending that same right to the rest of the voting public. Just go into your Elections Canada office and vote if you want to vote early.